Portfolios & Resumes
Resume Tips from TPLD
Here are some tips from a series Alison Sollars did in the LinkedIn Community in the Summer of 2022:
Do your research! If you’ve done your research well, you should be starting to understand the terminology of L&D and instructional design, as well as some basic corporate principles related to things like project management, organizational management, and possibly recruiting and human resources where it converges with multiple fields. If you’re targeting any specific industries, you may have learned industry specific terminology too. If you have to look up much terminology, you’re perhaps not ready to write a resume yet. People skip the research step, and they don’t save themselves time. Rather, they just bring themselves frustration. If you don’t know the vocabulary yet, you are not ready to write a resume yet. The vocabulary is not a small difference between industries; it is a mindset shift.
Talk about organizational purpose. For career pivoters especially, you need to make it achievements and outcomes based, with measurable and clearly written accomplishments and purpose. You are trying to show them you can do things you haven’t actually done based on what you have accomplished. You’re translating not just your day to day but more so your accomplishments to their organizational needs. It helps sometimes for this to think about problem and solution--what was the problem you solved or avoided for the school, district, or organization (not always true but as a rule of thumb, the more people impacted, the better the example).
Highlight the right skills for the job using KPIs (Key Progress Indicators) and other data. Measurable outcomes are best, but what’s also important is that you give enough information that it doesn’t feel like it is obscuring what you actually did. If I can’t figure out what you actually did, how do I know you did anything?
What did you do (in your current/past role that is relevant to the role you want)?
What skills (again, relevant to the job you want!) did you use to do it?
How was it valuable and successful for your organization (school) or learners? (But organization is better.)
How do you know/measure that success?
Focus on the right things. Make sure you’re selecting the right achievements to focus on for the type of role you want. It might be really impressive that you created individualized instruction plans and unique feedback for 150 learners per year, but that’s not what an ID does (we design for scale), so it actually can hurt you to focus on it. Likewise, it’s pretty irrelevant how difficult something was or how much you know about something IF it doesn’t apply to the job you want.
Keep a "Master Resume" that is just for your reference. Keep a master resume for yourself but then develop a role-specific (not job listing specific) resume for the type of role you want. You can always pull things in from the Master if you notice something in the job ad that indicates something not currently on your "main" resume is relevant!
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Having a hard time translating teaching skills to a non-teaching resume? Check out the resume samples in this repository to give you some ideas. These resumes are all provided by former educators who have successfully found a new career outside of teaching.
Portfolio Tips from TPLD
Yes, you need a portfolio (probably). To transition from teaching to instructional design, you will most likely need a portfolio. (This may not be true for other roles in L&D or other jobs teachers are looking for.) Most instructional designers have work samples they use, but career changers especially may need a portfolio just to be considered since portfolios show specific industry skills.
There is no "one size fits all" portfolio. At the end of the day, you always want to have your personality shine through. While we provide tips for a portfolio in some of our resources, that doesn't mean every portfolio is the same! The crucial thing is that your portfolio shows your skills and what you want to do in a new role.
There is no "right" topic. But it does help to think about the "business case" and "problem/solution" for a corporate role. As to topics, feel free to pick something on which you are a Subject Matter Expert (SME), reach out for SMEs around you, or do research---consider common industry problems. Perhaps be cautious about overusing K12 topics, but it's fine to show topics about your interests, as that helps showcase your personality! Check out https://godesignsomething.co/ if you're stuck. (This is an external site, not affiliated with TPLD, but a great resource/tool!)
Work out loud and get feedback! Make sure you have someone take a peek at your portfolio before you publish it (you can always drop it in our LinkedIn group "Teaching: A Path to Learning and Development" for constructive feedback, especially in the weekly #WAYWO Wednesday post our Community Managers monitor).
Don't wait until your portfolio is perfect before your publish, or you will never publish! A portfolio is ALWAYS a working document and you can always update it after it is launched. Get a few good pieces, make sure they work and the site is clean looking, and then jump! Feel free to revisit and improve pieces you have.
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In this resource, Scott Winstead provides examples of ID portfolios, as well as annotations on what makes them stand out from the crowd. He also provides a brief explanation of the benefits of creating a portfolio. This resource has been updated in 2023.