I Landed My First Corporate Instructional Designer Role! Now What?

 For months, I’ve been preparing to be a Corporate Instructional Designer. I signed up for the IDOL Academy so I would be able to fill in the gaps and to receive an inside scoop on what it truly takes to be an Instructional Designer.

After a few phone interviews with recruiters, I finally received an invitation to have an in-person interview. Immediately, I went from excitement to shock. Well, my thoughts were, “How am I going to convince the interview panel that my previous teaching experience is transferable? How do I NOT talk about my teaching experience? Will my instructional design experience in the school district even matter? I placed my fears aside and sent Dr. Robin Sargent an email, informing her that I had an upcoming interview. She reminded me to use the resources in the IDOL Academy and provided me with a few interview questions to ask.

During the interview, I was able to speak confidently about how my teaching experience, graduate and specialist degrees in Instructional Design, and previous Instructional Design experience in the school district, and as a freelancer can and will benefit the organization.

The next day, I was informed that I was one of their top candidates. I was asked to return two days later for a second interview. By the end of the week, I was provided with an offer letter. WOW! Everything happened so very quickly. 

Fast forward two weeks, and I was in my new role as an Instructional Designer. So many thoughts ran through my mind as I began my duties. Most days, I was excited and motivated to complete my work. Some days, I was defeated especially, when I had to work with an unfamiliar tool, such as some Adobe products.

Within my first month, I started thinking of an escape plan. I thought, “Maybe I should return to Education. Maybe I should just be a stay at home wife and mother. A few weeks later, my children became sick with colds and fevers. I began to wonder if that was a sign of bad timing. Maybe I wasn’t ready to start this new job.” I just knew that I would be fired for missing days of work to care for my sick children. Fortunately, my boss was understanding of the fact that my husband and I relocated to the city without any family and that my children are my top priorities. With the wonderful support of my husband, he agreed that he would be the one to stay home from work with the children if they become ill again.

 

Since I have a great boss who is empathetic, I created a plan to help me transition into my new role. These tips could help you.

  1.       CHANGE your mindset. Remember that you prepared for this moment. Don’t you dare give up so easily. 
  2.       ASK for professional development opportunities. AT WORK, I was able to use my extra time to watch tutorials. AT HOME, I watch tutorials on LinkedIn Learning. I recommend that you pay for the monthly subscription, which is $29 per month. You will have access to an unlimited amount of tutorials.
  3.       PUSH THROUGH. Sometimes, change can be uncomfortable. Once you get into a routine at work, you will see progress. I promise. Practice saying daily affirmations and post them on your desk. 
  4.       CONNECT with other professionals in the ID world. Read about their tips and try to apply them to your daily practices. I love connecting with other professionals on LinkedIn.
  5.       SIGNUP for webinars and virtual conferences. You will be amazed at how much you can learn for FREE! 
  6.       BE OPEN-MINDED. Being an Instructional Designer is different for every company. My duties and tasks are different from some of my friends. I know some professionals who do not use ADDIE or storyboards. Go with the flow and breathe, but do what makes you feel productive.
  7.       PACE YOURSELF. Do not feel the need to jump on every instructional design challenge or freelance opportunity. Become comfortable with your workload. It is not good for your reputation when you are behind deadlines. 
  8.       FIND A SUPPORT SYSTEM AT WORK. Try to link with colleagues who are warm, inviting, and positive. They are the ones who will encourage you to put your best foot forward. I am so very thankful to have made great connections with at least three of my colleagues. They are very knowledgeable and supportive. 

 

Continue to learn as much as you can and create samples to add to your portfolio. When you are ready to start marketing yourself, update your portfolio to showcase your work. If you are unhappy, you have every right to explore other job opportunities. There are several companies seeking new talent. 

Written By: Tandi Vaughn, Ed.S.

Connect with Tandi on LinkedIn.

Tandi Vaughn has over 15 years of experience in Education as an Elementary Teacher, Education Consultant, and Instructional Designer. On October 7, 2019, she transitioned to her role as a Corporate Instructional Designer. Recently, Tandi relocated to Texas with her wonderful husband and two beautiful daughters. In her spare time, she loves writing, dancing, exploring educational technology, mentoring new teachers, eating at new restaurants, traveling, and spending time with her family.

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