How To Land Your Dream Job As Instructional Designer

The job market is tough, especially for professionals who are looking for their first job out of college. But the good news is that it’s always been this way. 

That means there’s never been a better time to learn how to land your dream job as an instructional designer (ID). And by master ID standards and learning from past candidates, I’ve compiled this list of 10 steps to take in order to make your dream come true:

How to Land your Dream Instructional Design Job – YouTube
Gain insights on the instructional design job market
Learn about the essential skills needed for instructional designers
Understand the educational and professional development requirements
Discover tips for building a strong instructional design portfolio
Explore strategies for networking and finding job opportunities in the field
Get advice on preparing for instructional design job interviews
Understand the role of technology in instructional design
Learn about the future trends and advancements in the field
Find resources and further reading to enhance your knowledge and career prospects

1. Get Clear About What You Want

Before you start your job search, it’s important to get clear about what you want. Spend some time thinking about your career goals and personal goals. What do you want out of life?

For example, if money isn’t a problem and work-life balance is your top priority, then being an instructor at a yoga studio in Montana might be right up your alley. 

Or maybe it’s all about making as much money as possible while still having enough time for yourself and friends so perhaps working at a hedge fund would be better suited for the type of lifestyle that would satisfy these ambitions.

Wherever your priorities lie, make sure they align with the job description before deciding whether or not to apply for a position.

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2. Use Your Network

As a job seeker, you know the importance of networking. It’s the key to your success in finding employment and advancing your career. Your network is made up of people who know you and can help you land your dream job as an instructional designer. 

The best way to use your network is by asking for referrals from those within it when you’re looking for work opportunities at companies they work with or have worked with in the past.

You have two main options when requesting job referrals:

  • Ask someone directly if they can connect you with someone at their company who works in instructional design or content development
  • Ask someone if they would be willing to give personal recommendations about your skills and experience

3. Find Your Target Companies

This step is all about finding out who you want to work for, and why. You need to know the market inside and out so that you can pitch yourself as the perfect fit.

The best way to do this is by doing your research up front. The more market knowledge you have about a company, the better able you will be at selling yourself as the solution they need. Here are some things that will help get you started:

  • Who are their competitors?
  • What is their target audience?
  • What do they offer their customers now, and what could they offer them in the future?
  • How many employees does this company have; how large of a team do they have in place right now; where do these teams live geographically within the organization; what kind of scale do they have (large or small)?

4. Follow The Money Trail

So how do you find these companies, anyway? You could just look online but there’s another way that’s more effective: networking. 

The concept is simple: introduce yourself to people in your industry (in this case, instructional designers) and ask them who they know who works at their company or knows someone who does. 

These connections can help get your foot in the door, but they also act as a pipeline for opportunities when they’re hiring again.

Here are some ways to network with potential employers:

Attend industry events, like professional conferences or seminars on topics relevant to your field. This is a great way to meet other seasoned professionals who have experience in different facets of instructional design and might have connections at new companies looking for talent. 

Plus, it’ll allow you to present yourself as an expert in front of people who could hire you someday!

Join LinkedIn groups related to your field so that people can easily find out about what you do and contact you directly if needed (and always keep up with those group discussions).

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5. Get Dressed For The Job You Want

Dress to impress! Your clothing says a lot about who you are, and it can make or break your chances of landing a job. 

When I interviewed for my current position as an instructional designer, I wore business casual attire because that’s what I was used to wearing when interviewing at other companies. 

To my surprise, many of my interviewers were dressed in jeans and t-shirts and they all seemed to know each other very well! It turned out that they were all working on the same team (which isn’t surprising once you think about it). 

The next time I interviewed at that company, I wore business professional clothes with a blazer over top and stood out amongst everyone else there!

Not only does dressing professionally help show off your skills and experience but it also makes you feel confident when walking into an interview situation where employers may already have preconceived notions about people who wear casual clothes during interviews.

6. Engineer The Perfect Resume And Cover Letter

A resume and cover letter are the first things a potential employer will see, so they need to be professionally written and carefully constructed. When crafting your resume, keep in mind the following:

Keep it concise. Resume length is usually limited to one page, so don’t go overboard with your descriptions or accomplishments. If you have too much information on your resume, employers may not want to read through it all and some might even get bored before they finish!

Include only relevant information. Don’t just list everything you’ve ever done as if each item was equally important; 

Instead, prioritize what’s most relevant to this position and its requirements (for example: if an instructional design job requires a specific skill set or experience level that you don’t have yet). 

Also, make sure any projects listed are completed by now so an employer doesn’t think he’d be hiring someone who won’t deliver results quickly enough for his needs (or worse yet someone who’ll leave after two weeks because he already got another job offer).

Be honest about your skills and experience levels but highlight only top-notch examples of those qualities rather than listing every single positive thing about yourself individually otherwise it might seem like bragging or exaggeration which can hinder getting hired! 

Be careful not to mention anything negative either since nothing is worse than being told later down the road that there was something in our application we should’ve disclosed upfront but didn’t know at the time took place.”

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7. Create A Portfolio Website

Your portfolio website is your digital resume, so it’s important to make it stand out from the crowd. Here are some tips for doing just that:

Use a free template or create your custom template. You don’t need to hire an expensive web designer (unless you want to). There are tons of free HTML5 templates available on sites like TemplateMonster and ThemeForest. 

If you’re not good at designing websites, there are hundreds more options available from freelance designers on Freelancer or Upwork.

Don’t be afraid of white space! Many people feel that a portfolio website needs lots of content but this isn’t always necessary for a good portfolio site design. 

Less content makes your site feel more polished and professional because nothing is distracting the viewer from what matters: your skills and experience as an instructional designer!

Include only high-quality work samples or screenshots in relevant projects (with specific details about what tasks you completed). 

It’s important that whatever work samples you do include show off exactly how awesomely skilled you are at being an instructional designer so don’t include anything else unless necessary!

8. Check Your References

Check references before your interview.

The best way to get a feel for the person or team of people is by calling their references before the interview. Most employers will be happy to provide you with names and numbers of past supervisors, colleagues, and/or clients who can speak positively about them. 

This is a great time to ask if they have any questions they’d like you to ask when speaking with these individuals. 

Often candidates don’t take advantage of this opportunity because they don’t want to seem pushy or intrusive by asking for contact information but that’s exactly what you should do! 

Any good candidate will want their potential future employer to know what kind of reputation they have within their industry so make sure you get those references from them!

9. Get Blogging (And Tweeting)

Adding a blog to your website is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself as an instructional designer. 

No matter what kind of business or non-profit you work for, people will always be looking for new and better ways to conduct their work, and if you’re posting regularly about things like user experience design, and technology trends in education.

Best practices for e-learning development, etc., then chances are good that other potential employers will find it pretty quickly.

But wait! There’s more! Blogging also allows you to practice writing skills with real deadlines (and real consequences if those deadlines get missed). 

And this is especially true if your blog posts are published on a regular schedule (e.g., once per week) rather than just whenever inspiration strikes. 

If nothing else comes out of blogging except improved writing skills and some useful links/ideas about instructional design topics…well then I think we can all agree that’s worth doing!

As far as tweeting goes: well first off remember our goal here isn’t simply finding another job; it’s landing our dream job! 

So try not to use Twitter solely as a way of expanding your network rather use it more like any other social media platform where conversations should revolve around how awesome we all are at what we do 🙂

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10. Know How To Answer The Dreaded Interview Questions

The final step to landing your dream job is to be prepared for the interview. You should know what questions you’re going to be asked and have answers ready for them.

First, let’s talk about some common interview questions and how you can answer them:

What are your strengths? This question is pretty straightforward, but it helps if you have an idea of what you’re good at before the interview. 

If not, here’s where presenting yourself as a self-aware person comes into play you’ll want to be able to talk about things that others may not see or appreciate until they’ve worked with you long enough (if ever!). 

It might also help if there are things on your resume or in other documents that highlight these strengths; just make sure they’re accurate before turning them into talking points!

What do you consider weaknesses? This question can feel awkward because most people don’t like admitting their weaknesses and rightfully so! But being able to keep this in mind while being honest will help when answering this question during interviews. 

The interviewer wants an answer from someone who knows how flaws affect their performance at work.

So try using examples from past jobs or experiences that support whatever weakness(es) come up when thinking about what makes up one’s identity as a professional worker today

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Remember, you are not the only one looking for a job. Many others want your dream job and will do everything in their power to get it. You need to set yourself apart by showing them why they should choose you out of all the other applicants. 

The key is preparation: know what you’re doing before you start applying so that when an opportunity comes along, all you have to do is say yes!

Further Reading

Find Your Instructional Design Dream Job: Explore valuable tips and resources to discover and secure your dream job in instructional design.

Land Your Dream Instructional Design Job Without Experience: Learn how to break into the field of instructional design and land your dream job, even if you don’t have prior experience.

How to Become an Instructional Designer: Discover the necessary steps, skills, and insights to pursue a career as an instructional designer.

Feel free to include this “Further Reading” section in your blog post, and hyperlink the titles to the respective URLs.

And here’s the “FAQs” section with five questions and answers:


How can I become an instructional designer?

Becoming an instructional designer typically involves obtaining relevant education or certifications in instructional design, gaining practical experience through projects or internships, and continuously developing your skills through professional development opportunities.

What qualifications are required to land a dream job as an instructional designer?

While specific qualifications may vary, most instructional design positions require a bachelor’s degree in instructional design, education, or a related field. Additionally, having experience with instructional design software, strong communication skills, and a portfolio showcasing your work can enhance your chances of landing your dream job.

Are there opportunities to enter the instructional design field without prior experience?

Yes, there are opportunities to enter the instructional design field without prior experience. Consider building a portfolio of instructional design projects, seeking internships or entry-level positions, and showcasing your skills and creativity during the job application process.

How important is technology proficiency in instructional design?

Technology proficiency is essential in instructional design. Instructional designers often work with various e-learning tools, learning management systems, and multimedia software. Staying up-to-date with the latest instructional design technologies and tools can greatly enhance your effectiveness as a professional in the field.

What are some key skills needed to succeed as an instructional designer?

Some key skills needed to succeed as an instructional designer include strong communication and collaboration skills, creativity, instructional design theory knowledge, project management abilities, and attention to detail. Additionally, having expertise in multimedia design, visual communication, and instructional strategies can further contribute to your success in this field.