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I'm looking for direction to restart my career. What can I do to land myself a job in the field of instructional design/ training/ learning and development?

I have a master's in organizational behavior (M.sc. Applied Psychology) from India. I moved to the USA about two years ago and I recently got my work permit. I am also a certified ICF (ACC) Coach and have about 2+ years of experience (from my pervious job in India) in the field of training, leadership development and coaching. #psychology #career #job #instructionaldesign #organizationalbehavior #entryleveljob #Coaching #training #learninganddevelopment #networkingforjobs #TempeAZ

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Subject: Career question for you

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15 answers


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Gloria’s Answer

Learning and Development (L&D) is a broad field that can include job titles like Instructional Design, Curriculum Design, Instructor to roles like Graphic Designer and Videographer. From what I can see from your brief review of your skills, you have two challenges: 1) what role do you want to have in Learning and Development, and 2) how do you translate your current skills into those needed in whatever role you choose? I am an instructional designer. At my company, I take a project from initial request through to implementation or deployment of a training solution. That means that I have to know all steps of a process like ADDIE and act very much like a project manager for all elements needed to take a request from start to finish. I also have been skilled in various development tools like Captivate, Articulate, Premiere Pro, just to name a few, since I will need to build the right solution for my client. Some companies divide up the roles, someone who determines what needs to be built and someone else who builds the content (often called an instructional designer but is probably more accurately called a content developer.) I think that it goes back to what you want to do.

Gloria recommends the following next steps:

This article is a bit older but should give you a sense of how L&D really has three main areas: https://www.td.org/insights/getting-your-start-in-talent-development
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for taking the time to spell out what I would need to consider. This is very helpful to me. Are there any certifications you would recommend that could help me in this field? Also, I have a basic understanding of certain developmental tools like captivate, articulate studio, etc... would I need a certification when I am applying for roles that require these skills? Lakshmi
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Tiffany’s Answer

Hey Lakshmi! Your masters degree and experience can help when applying to jobs within these fields. I would try to dig deeper into what job titles specifically you want to aim for and create a resume for each one. When resumes are targeted toward a specific job, you have a higher probability of them finding you a good candidate. While you apply, try to check out sites like Udemy and Outschool that offer specific courses to expand your skills!
Thank you comment icon Thank you very much. This is helpful. Lakshmi
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Kevin’s Answer

As a hiring manager, I recently had an opening and interviewed many, many candidates before finding "the one." A lot of great advice from the previous answers, I agree 100% with them all, sop will not waste time repeating that solid advice. Instead, I will offer a few things in addition to the previous answers.

My top candidates had the following in common:
- Passion for what the did
- Passion for the organization (remember, companies are not just interviewing you, YOU are interviewing them as well to ensure its the right fit.
- Offered something different... a different instructional approach or a new perspective on learning,
- Understanding of our learners are of different generations and need to be addressed as such.
- Creativity
- Ability to think outside the box
- Flexibility in design approach
- Ability to deliver a hybrid approach to Instructional Design

Final thoughts:
Instructional Design, Learning Theory, and Change Management can be learned, thus ANYONE can have those skills. What do you bring that can't be taught? What do you have that other candidates do not have? Whats your passion, lead with Passion. The learned skills will get you through the vetting process and get you an interview, but getting the interview isn't your goal, is it? Passion and your natural-can't be learned-talent will get you the job!

Best of Luck!
-Kevin
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for sharing your experience and views. :-) Absolutely passion is the key. Lakshmi
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Skai’s Answer

Great question! Instructional design is based on the solid principles of adult learning theory. As a hiring manager, I look at candidate resumes to see what education and training they have that is specifically related to instructional design. Do they know the basics?

After that, I look for experience = where and how have they applied instructional design in their field? For example, it may not be in your job title, but have you ever had to conduct a needs analysis that informed what types of learning needed to be developed? What types of learning activities have you designed? Have you created assessments?

If you don't have direct work experience, I would encourage you to look for a volunteer project. For example, how about helping your favorite non-profit/charity create a training course (online or instructor-led)?

As a manager, I'm going to ask you for examples of your work - what the issue was, how you approached designing a learning solution, and what was the impact. Have something to say and show off!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for taking the time to guide me. This is really helpful for me to prepare. Lakshmi
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Bayley’s Answer

You are absolutely qualified to go into the ISD field with your degree. I have found in interviews I am asked a lot about my theories of Instructional Design and how I motivate adult learners. Start to think about what kind of designer you want to be. Do you want to use images and info graphics to supplement your learning? Will you use scenarios to bring in some experiential learning? What type of content would you like to design for: soft skills, technical skills?

All of these are questions to consider as you go out and look for jobs. It also might do you good to refresh the basics in ADDIE, Kirkpatrick, Knowles and other theorist in the industry. There are also a number of different people and organizations to follow on linked in to keep up to date.

Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you very much. This helps a lot. Are there any certifications you would recommend that could help me in this field? Lakshmi
Thank you comment icon An ISD certificate could be good...that would get you adult theories and models. Check out the Association of Talent Developers for their specific certifications in online learning and the different phases of ADDIE. Bayley Hochradel
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Phil’s Answer

Hi Lakshmi. In addition to the other great advice, you should check out this site on E-Learning 101 from Articulate (an elearning software company): https://community.articulate.com/hubs/e-learning-101

There are many people in that community who would be more than happy to provide guidance as well.
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Tristan’s Answer

Aside from traditional adult learning concepts, try to also consider upgrading your arsenal with modern techniques. For instance, I find Lego Serious Play Facilitation courses effective to my L&D specialists in running their own internal training.
Thank you comment icon Thanks a lot for this perspective. I will surely explore this. Lakshmi
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Doug’s Answer

I have found through personal experience the best way to find a job is through a reference (Intro from someone who can speak on your behalf) vs just applying. Reconnect with all your past career contact, use LinkedIn to see if any of your contact are connected to people in your field of interest. A friend of mine who was out of her field for more that 10 years did this to restart her career and she is wildly successful.
Thank you comment icon Thank you very much. I really appreciate you taking time to respond. Very helpful. Lakshmi
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melanie a.’s Answer

Definitely find and seek assistance from those already in your field and organizations.
Check out and reach out to http://iacp.in/ The Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists.
They should be able to front you a wealth of information and direction.

Good luck!!!
Thank you comment icon Thank you very much. This is helpful. Lakshmi
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Deepak’s Answer

Hi Lakshmi, How about being a Coach and launch your own programs?

Let me know in case you have an interest in this field. During the COVID situation, people would prefer to learn online.

Regards
Deepak

Deepak recommends the following next steps:

Share your contact details to discuss.
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Mariah’s Answer

Hi Lakshmi,
Welcome to the USA. I am not sure if you are still looking, but wanted to respond as a leader in training and development. One thing I suggest is to make sure your resume speaks to your skills. This is so very important when recruiters are looking for candidates. I also say use LinkedIn heavily to find open positions. Make sure your LinkedIn is up to date to what you are looking to do today. I also say join or connect with the ATD and SHRM community. Even with the pandemic there are still online training and networking events occurring.
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Faez’s Answer

Hi Lakshmi,

There is so much great advice on this thread so I won't repeat what's said. I will make a suggestion that with your Masters degree and experience in coaching, perhaps you could look into working for a company that designs and delivers corporate training or workshops to the public on coaching, leadership and other topics.

I am not familiar of companies in the US but as other people have mentioned ATD, that would be a good place to start with to identify these training vendors and then connect with them to understand more about their business works. Most often they have a separate team of instructional designers and a team of trainers/facilitators.

All the best!
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Cleopatra’s Answer

Learning and Development is a career path that is open to people with diverse backgrounds and skills. People with creative minds and a keen sense of curiosity and desire to learn continuously find satisfaction in the field of L&D. Technical skills can be learned on the job so while it is good to get formal education in L&D, don't be discouraged if you don't have those credentials, as good storytelling, writing, designing, acting and curating skills are needed in every successful L&D organization. If you are interested in helping others learn personally and professionally, find a company/institution that interests you and check out their L&D department to see if there is an inspiring bunch of people you want to spend your time with every day.
Thank you comment icon Thank you very much. This is really helpful. Gives me the confidence I need to keep going. Lakshmi
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Nicole’s Answer

In addition to all the great responses, there is a recent company that launched called https://www.thezeit.io/ that helps people switch career paths at different stages of life by teaching them how to brand their skills for a new career!
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Staci’s Answer

To add to the other great answers, consider joining a professional organization, for example ATD which has an international membership and local chapters, depending on where you live. When I was shifting my career to developing eLearning, I found the local chapter helpful in connecting me with others who were creating eLearning and more. I continue to have meaningful networking as part of all my professional memberships.

The international membership allows me to connect with others globally and access to training / Instructional design research.

Some organizations have student pricing.
Thank you comment icon Thanks a lot for taking time to share your views. This is helpful. :-) Lakshmi
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