When I first came across the title “Instructional Designer” while looking for alternative career options, I was just as confused as anybody would be hearing about our job for the first time. I remember asking questions like: What does an Instructional Designer do? Why is it called Instructional Design? Wouldn’t a title such as Learning Experience Designer or Training Content Developer suit them better? How are their skill sets different from curriculum developers like teachers’? etc.
Then, the more I learnt about the different roles of Instructional Designers, and the more job interviews I had, ironically, the less clarity I had over the companies’ expectations of us.
The truth is that the role of an Instructional Designer varies from company to company. What a person hired with the title “Instructional Designer” ends up doing depends on a range of factors such as the company’s training portfolio, the profile...
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When IDOL courses Academy began this past January, I was very pregnant. In fact, my daughter was due during the second week of the course. Becoming an IDOL was something that I wanted badly, but I wasn’t sure that I would be able to meet my goals with a new baby and a two-year-old at home. I burn grilled cheese three of every five times I make it. How could I balance two children and the Academy?
Desperate to get a head start, I emailed Dr. Robin Sargent before the cohort began and asked her if there was anything that I could do. She replied with some great tips and reassured me that, “there is no behind in the Academy!” Because of her guidance, I was able to start IDOL courses Academy feeling confident and ahead. My daughter was born a little early (the second day of my IDOL cohort!) but I was ready for the challenge.
Here are a couple of Dr. Robin’s tips, and a few of my own, for setting yourself up for success.
When I started my job search, I felt confident. I was ready. I had a full portfolio with several assets, I optimised my LinkedIn and I ditched my teacher Resume for a fresh, Instructional Designer CV that I had engineered to specific jobs, following Jay Lash’s method.
It worked! I was contacted by a few companies who had liked my profile, thought I had potential and were impressed by my experience. I was excited.
As you can guess, I didn’t get any of those jobs. Not only that, I didn’t even make it past the first round of interviews.
I knew I had to change something and that’s when I came across IDOL Academy Member, Niya...
When I decided to leave teaching, I had a mix of emotions. What else could I really do? Teaching had been my life for seven years. I knew teaching like I knew how to take care of my children or like I knew how to drive. I could do it really well with minimal effort, and I loved it. I loved the excitement my students had for learning, and I loved creating lesson plans. Lesson plans gave me the opportunity to bring learning to life, whether I was teaching financial literacy or marketing concepts.
There came a time I became mentally exhausted. Professionals call it "teacher burnout," and it is real. Teacher burnout usually happens around year five, but I made it to year seven. So, wasn't that an accomplishment? I asked myself often to justify staying. But what I realized is once my heart wasn’t there anymore, I had to leave because I’d lost my passion. When you lose your passion, everyone suffers, from your family to your students, the community and the parents. I...
I left public education for the corporate world. Once I updated my LinkedIn page and toggled on the switch “open for opportunities,” I was inundated with messages from recruiters who thought I would be the “perfect fit” for their opportunity. I was so excited! They were already knocking down my door to offer me a job. I will land my coveted IDOL role in no time I thought. I quickly learned that was not the case. I had become part of the very competitive world of recruiting. The recruiting process is more about helping the hiring company and recruiting firm than it is about helping a candidate land her dream job.
Companies often hire external recruiters to find viable candidates to fill open positions. Recruiters search for those candidates in places such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job...
Are you a perfectionist?
Are you struggling to build your first portfolio?
Do you feel like you're spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere?
STOP! Right where you are. Save yourself wasted time and effort by learning from my mistakes.
Here are some revelations I had while working on my portfolio:
Set realistic expectations for what your portfolio should look like based on your current abilities and experience as an instructional designer. If you are new to the field, aim to demonstrate your proficiency and understanding, instead of skill and expertise.
While the portfolios of experts and leading industry practitioners are great sources of inspiration, your portfolio will likely not look like theirs. As a novice, you do not have the experience to create a portfolio equivalent to the portfolios that took others years and sometimes a decade-plus to work up to.
Here are some examples of what your first portfolio website might look like:
Anyone who has been in an active job search recently knows how frustrating it can be. As job seekers, we are playing a very serious game, against thousands of other seekers, and we don’t really know the rules the companies are playing by. We look for – we need – ways to ensure that every resume we send reaches the audience and makes an impact.
Long ago, at the beginning of my career, the job search process was straightforward: you found a job listing in a newspaper classified ads, typed a resume to give your qualifications and appeal to the hiring manager, sent it to the address in the ad, and waited.
The significant shift came with the rise of internet job sites . These sites made it so easy to apply for jobs that companies were overwhelmed with the response. The same technology that caused the overwhelm was harnessed to filter applications so that only the most relevant or most qualified applications reached the humans.