We’ve been offering advice on how to break into the field of instructional design or eLearning programming because we love to help the people who reach out to us asking for help. We’ve shared advice about being learner focused, being completely comfortable with adult learning concepts, learning an authoring tool and writing good learning objectives. This post is about taking care of yourself, being patient, and trusting that the process will work for you.
The instructional design and eLearning development field is booming. With the mass exodus of teachers leaving K-12 learning, the switch to become an adult educator is a smart decision. It’s also a very lucrative one. But, adult education is a professional route that can sometimes be difficult to break in to.
We’ve offered our advice already (the next one is a doozy), but staying upbeat and positive as you transition out of one career into another can be challenging. You may think that making the switch from traditional education to corporate learning and development will be an easy jump. Unfortunately, it’s not. More than ever, companies are looking for experience in the adult learning space before even considering an interview.
It's important not to beat yourself up. You are making a smart choice trying to get into adult education. Instructional designers and eLearning programmers make great money, but it takes time. Just like any career change, getting your foot in the door is usually the hardest part.
Focus on what you can control. Learn while you interview. Learn while you wait for calls to come back. One of the great things about being in the learning and development industry is that we are all hungry to learn and learn and learn. Find a website and read about ID concepts. Download trial versions of authoring tools and design software, and visit YouTube and learn about how to use them. (We hear that the Storyline Show on YouTube
is a great one!)
Creating a portfolio page is critical, and we have an entire post on it (coming next). If you don’t have any project work, everything you create while learning Storyline of Photoshop or Animator or CrazyTalk has the potential to show up on your portfolio page.
Treat finding your job as your full time job. Remember your past accomplishments and list your exceptional skills and experiences you have to offer! Add them to your portfolio pages. Keep busy growing and developing yourself so that when you do get the call from that recruiter, you have a great shot at landing the interview and getting the job. Fight the negative thoughts and replace them with your list of exceptional attributes.
The only thing in life that you can truly control is how you react
to situations. As you hunt for the next instructional design opportunity, watch your behaviors and how you react to annoyances and frustrations. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not personal. Persevere. Demonstrate a never ending fortitude and resilience. You are smarter and stronger than you think, even without 5 years experience. Demonstrate that what you know and how you learn will make you an asset.
When changing careers or trying to get a new career going, your network of people will be your greatest asset. Reach out to people on LinkedIn and in your local networking groups. Your local ATD or Guild or SHRM chapters are filled with people in the industry who may be looking for a new face to add to their team. Get out there and connect with folks who can help.
This post should feel like a little bit of a pick me up. You got this! Soon you will be working in an industry that really changes and improves peoples lives by helping them perform better in the workplace. It's a rewarding way to have an impact on your fellow human.