They’ve been trying to get a job but haven’t found the right door to open yet.
- “I’ve been teaching for years and now I want a change.”
- “I’ve been reading up on the field and it seems really interesting.”
- “You did it, Cammy, so how can I?”
- “I’ve got a degree in ID now, but no one will hire me because I don’t have any experience.”
Here are three ideas I have to help you break into the field:
Strut Your Stuff
You’ve got to show what you know. You have to provide some proof of your capabilities and at the very least be able to point to a really kick ass portfolio of design treatments or even courses you’ve built (or collaborated on with someone else). But if you don’t have any job experience yet doing this kind of work, what can you do? Well – make something up!
- Well, how about you? Tell the story of your life and why you’re going to be a great ID.
- Make up a course on a topic that interests you – maybe it’s dishwasher repair.
- Volunteer for an organization like Lingos (eLearning Global Giveback Competition) and create something for their clients. And if you’re really that good, you might even win an award while you’re at it.
That’s right. Do something whackadoodle and crazy – to show that you know how to think outside of the box of an elearning course and are thinking creatively about solutions that provide experiences all along the user spectrum.
And if your ID bag does not include using actual tools (mine doesn’t!), well just write a design treatment or script. That way your potential employers can see how you write and how you approach design challenges.
Learn Some Tools
Most employers these days want to hire IDs that know it all: instructional design and adult learning theory, graphics, script writing and authoring tools. It’s way too many hats to wear for most people, but it’s the reality. In fact, most job postings typically include tools right in the job description. Captivate, Articulate, Lectora, and Camtasia are the big off-the-shelf authoring tools that seem to come up in a lot of job postings.
SO. Learn ‘em. Go download some free 30 day trials and mess around for a month and create those courses I mentioned above.
Buy some books on using the tools, and then read ‘em. The ELearning Uncovered series includes an Articulate and Lectora handbook.
Read the vendor blogs to learn tips and tricks for using those tools.
If you have the budget for it, go to an elearning conference (DevLearn and ASTD TechKnowledge are two of the biggies, but there are smaller more local conferences that might work for you). Learn from the masters, hear the latest ideas on learning with technology, connect and schmooze and start building your brand.
Search on It
Of course, you’re already looking on all the job boards for listings, right? SALT, elearning guild and ASTD are just a few places to start.
I’ve got a google alert set up for Instructional Design and these days it’s mostly pushing through job listings. (It used to push me lots of blog posts on ID, but who blogs these days? Oh wait….)
Tom Kuhlmann of Articulate has written a great post Do You Need an Instructional Design Degree? that provides some good discussion and practical tips.
Christy Tucker Getting into Instructional Design – and also explore the Best of links on her blog’s side bar.
We’ve got lots of great tips about design on the Kineo elearning website, so be sure to check those out.
This is just a start. I’m sure you people have more great ideas. Feel free to add them in the comments!
Update: 10/18 Articulate's Tom Kuhlmann has a great post this week on Getting a Job in Elearning.
Photo Credit: Job Hunting is Frustrating by William Brawley