Instructional designer and career strategist, Laura Hoyer, joins me to share her top 5 tips for writing an awesome instructional design resume. We talk about summary statements, keeping things measurable, and finding ways to keep your contact info simple and easy to find.
The following transcript was auto-generated and may contain typos or spelling errors.
Leslie Early 0:00
Today I am super excited to have my guest here I have Laura Hoyer. She is an instructional designer and career strategist. Not only that she is the founder of the right fit, career coaching and a certified professional resume writer.
And,first of all, thank you so much for joining me today, Laura.
Laura Hoyer 0:20
Leslie Early 0:21
And you are also here to talk about some tips and tricks for resume writing, specifically for people who are trying to break into like instructional design positions, which I'm super excited about, because as I was just telling you beforehand, I am a terrible resume writer, and people ask me for tips all the time. And I have zero things to say, because I hate writing resumes. It's like gives me anxiety, just talking about it. Now I'm sweating. So I'm super excited that you're here. And you can share. And enough about me and my anxieties Do you want to take a moment to introduce yourself and kind of talk about your own journey into instructional design?
Laura Hoyer 1:05
Sure. So I was a teacher for a few years and realized it wasn't for me. But I'm kind of before I made the official career change out of teaching, I wanted to become a teacher in a really, really competitive area. So in order to kind of level up, I decided to try to learn a ton about resumes, so that my resume would stand out in a pile of like 600 plus resumes. So I learned a lot a long time ago. And then when I eventually transitioned out of teaching into instructional design, I was like, now's the time to use all of these cool things that I learned to land and instructional design job. So after a transition into instructional design, I've been helping other teachers kind of informally in the past few years, offering advice and strategies for transitioning themselves out of teaching. And just this past year, I decided, let's make it a business so I can help more people follow their, their dreams and land their dream job.
Leslie Early 2:08
That is so good. So cool. So you sort of already, like, knew about these things. And like now you have the perfect opportunity to use your knowledge and help the community. So that's really cool. Yeah, so I guess that kind of leads into my next question of like, you clearly are passionate about this, because I know you're involved with the next step, life after teaching community and you're helping out there as well. But you clearly have a passion to want to share this with people, specifically, other teachers. And I just wonder, you know where that comes from? Or, or what's the motivation there?
Laura Hoyer 2:48
Sure. So I taught it for a few years. And when I decided that I wanted to leave teaching, to be completely honest, I had a sort of breakdown, because I had never, ever in my whole life considered doing anything else. I didn't think I was qualified for anything. I didn't think that after only a few years that like I could do anything else that I was kind of stuck forever. So after going through all of that I put in the work, if you will, and I spent all of my time researching any sort of help anybody who's done in the past anyone who I could just call and be like, hey, am I ridiculous for thinking these things? How do I change careers? Because I mean, my family members had never changed careers everybody knew had never changed careers. So I just want to help. So when I finally did it, and I met a ton of former teachers in my current role and past roles that I've had, I, I was like, somebody needs to tell other people and other teachers that like, it's not as daunting as you think. And it's doable, and you have all the skills, so I've kind of dedicated myself to being that resource for other people, ever since I went through it.
Leslie Early 4:03
Yeah, and that's so true. Like, it is doable. It looks it feels scary when you're first imagining this change. But a conversation that I have had with a lot of people is that it is like it's we know a lot of the concepts already as teachers, but it's it's the changes in the terminology and the way that you frame things and how can you have a conversation about things and skills and experiences that you do have, in a way that a hiring manager or somebody in the corporate world can understand because, you know, at some point, it's like, could get lost in translation. So, yeah, it's incredibly motivating that people like you and Sarah Stevens are out there like encouraging people and giving them the language, you know, or the certain certain ways of framing things and looking at things to repackage our skills that we already have. Okay, let's get to the exciting part here, which is your top five resume tips or tricks to kind of get that process moving along, get people get their resumes in good shape, so that they can start applying to these positions.
Laura Hoyer 5:17
Yeah. So first, I want to throw out there that I have had multiple instructional design positions. I've been in higher education, I worked at a jumbo company, I worked at small startups, I worked everywhere in between kind of embarrassing how many different positions I've had over the years. But I just wanted to throw out there that these top five things came from the five things that have served me well, and applying to all of these positions and eventually landing them. And while I work with teachers, all of these tips can be applied to anybody looking to get into instructional design. So first, instead of the old, objective statement, you should definitely be having a summary statement instead. And your summary statement is one of the first blocks of text that somebody is going to see on your resume. And you should use that block to your advantage, you should use your summary statement to highlight your areas of expertise, right up front. And your areas of expertise should be clear throughout your resume as they read through they should see those things throughout. But using that block of text at the very beginning to highlight them upfront, is a great strategy to use.
Leslie Early 6:32
So how does a summary statement? How is that different from like the old school objective statement?
Laura Hoyer 6:38
Good question. So the objective statement was usually to get the job, or to land a job. A summary statement is more so a statement, a few sentences explaining at your background in general, the general themes between and positions you've held. So that could be for me as a career changer. It's themes along the lines of learning and sharing that learning with other people, learning theories, all of those kinds of things are woven in throughout my personal summary. So even if you're not a career changer, or you're somebody who's transitioning from something very similar into instructional design, your summary statement is still a good way for you to show common themes. And again, areas of expertise.
Leslie Early 7:20
So if I'm understanding correctly, then it's more like I'm going to sort of give you these are my highlights of what I specialize in and what I'm good at, as opposed to like an objective statement, which is like, this is the type of role that I'm looking to fill or obtain or or whatever.
Laura Hoyer 7:40
Leslie Early 7:41
Okay. Okay, got it. summary statement is in objective statement is out. Okay, let's number two.
Laura Hoyer 7:48
Okay, this is big for really any position you're applying for, but especially in instructional design, because if you're familiar with instructional design at all, you know that evaluation is a very big part of the ADDIE model. But you should include and quantify results of projects that you lead or worked on throughout your resume. So especially if you have experienced, it's similar to instructional design. It's so much more impactful. If you throw in there a measurement, a quantification of how successful and was.
Leslie Early 8:21
Yeah, actually, this has come up in conversations that I've had with people about changing that terminology. So like, even just referencing, like, you implemented a new curriculum, or used a new tool, and you saw your I mean, I hate to use test scores, because like, who cares about test scores sometimes, but like, you know, it is a measurement, right? It's something that you can refer to, and say, you know, I saw an improvement of blah, blah, blah, blah, because we started this new reading strategy or, or whatever it may be. But that's one way to sort of show the ROI, even though we don't call it ROI in in education, but it's a return on the investment of like, what you're trying to do with your students. Right. So yeah, that's a good one.
Laura Hoyer 9:07
Yeah. And in addition to like, those kinds of evaluations, you can also include things like times you made money or saved money. Yeah. So for example, a project I just did save my company a ton of money, just because I cut out some time that was previously used for training by shortening the training, it ultimately saved my company money. So if you have any measurements along those lines that you can include do it.
Leslie Early 9:31
Yeah, that's, that's awesome. Even if it's something as simple as like, we went paperless. I mean, everyone's paperless now, because we're all like virtual, but like, small things like that, like I say, the school money by using whatever program we're using. Yeah, that's, that's a good point. Exactly. Okay, number three.
Laura Hoyer 9:50
Okay, this one can be considered, quote unquote, controversial, but all right. So instructional design, right. A lot of That is visual design, designing things that look good and are easy to follow and all of those things. So you can showcase some of your design skills in your resume. But there's a caveat to this. If you decide to showcase a little bit of your design skills, first of all, a little bit goes a long way. You don't want to have a crazy hard resume to read or follow or something that's way too in your face. But you can be subtle and show that like you prefer clean lines or something like that. But if you decide to do something like that, keep in mind that that is not what I call ATS friendly, right? Meaning it can't be read by an ATS, an applicant tracking system. So what I do for my clients, when I typically write resumes, is I usually give them some sort of aesthetically pleasing resume. And I also give them an ATS version of the same exact resume, it has the same exact text in it. But it's easier for the ATS to read. But the design one is more so eye catching.
Leslie Early 11:01
Right? So like, oh, gosh, you're giving me flashbacks to like applying through ATS systems. Like you'll know if you're using an ATS system, because Well, I mean, there's different versions of it. But like sometimes when you go through an application process, it's like, okay, upload your resume, and you would make the attachment. And then a minute later, the next screen is like now enter all the information that was on your resume, just type it in this field, and you're like, why did I do that. But that's kind of what you're you're up against is like having if you upload a resume that is not at as friendly and it has too many graphic elements or whatever it may be, then that that tracking system is like I remember seeing, I remember seeing an automatic odd excuse me automated response to a resume that I had applied somewhere. And it replied to me and filled in my name as what it thought it read my name off of the resume, but it was like, Hello, era. And I have I knew these were the letters from my name, but somehow had gotten all jumbled up. And I was like, yeah, that's clearly my resume is not getting getting read. Right. Right.
Laura Hoyer 12:18
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And one more quick tip for an ATS resume is when you go to apply, if you look at the URL, and it has something like something other than the company you're applying for, like workday or another name of a different company, it's most likely an ATS that they're using.
Leslie Early 12:39
Yeah, yeah, they're like outsourcing it to somebody else. Correct. So then this actually begs one more question, which I sort of went on a tangent with my other story, but what I was really trying to say is, is there a situation? Like if you were going through a workday or something like that? Would you hypothetically submit both versions within the same application? Or? Or is it better to just hold on to your nice, visually pleasing one? for like, when you have to email it directly to somebody? You know what I mean? Like? How do you know which one is the right one to use?
Laura Hoyer 13:20
Great, great question. Sometimes it comes down to how much you're willing to gamble, right. So in the ATSs, it will ask you to upload your resume. Usually, it'll say what kind of documents it wants. And if PDF isn't on that list, or a PDF is towards the end of the list, then I would suggest using your ATS friendly resume, as I call them. But if you are completely finished filling out all of the fields, and the very last thing they ask you is for your resume, it's kind of a 5050 shot, because the ATS is used to parse the information on your resume into their data, their data set, if you will, so they can easily view all the demographics of everybody and whatever else. But if you've already filled all that out, at the end, most of the time, it's not being used in the same manner. In that case, it can be used as an attachment. But like you said, more often than not, you're going to hold on to your beautiful, nicely designed resume to use in emails or something along those lines.
Leslie Early 14:29
Something where you're dealing with like a real person and not just applying blindly to like some site. Yeah.
Laura Hoyer 14:37
But if you're worried about it either way, you there are ways to make your HGS friendly resume, look nicer, but there's definitely more ways to show your design skills by using other formats.
Leslie Early 14:49
Yeah. Okay. Number four.
Laura Hoyer 14:53
Okay, so if you have researched instructional design, you probably know that there's a little bit of Project Management involved, and there's sometimes facilitation involved. So if you have experience with either of those things, you should definitely include them. So for example, if you're not familiar project managers typically manage large projects, meeting, their coordinating different team members who are designing and, and submitting different pieces of a project to work together. So if you've been on large projects, where you were managing those kinds of things include that. If you are, for example, teachers, if you are designing training materials, and then also implementing them, that's also a great skill to showcase in your resume, because because implementing them gives you another set of data and more feedback based on how successful your materials were. And as you use them.
Leslie Early 15:54
Yeah, and another thing that came to mind when you were talking about that is like, a lot of times teachers will work in teams like grade level teams, and we'll have a lead grade level lead teacher or something like that. It's sort of sort of like a project manager of like allocating like, okay, you're gonna work on this, you're gonna work on this, how are we going to get get all of our materials that we need as a grade level? And how are we going to disperse those amongst ourselves? All of that is project management, really, but you just have to be able to describe it that way. recognize it and describe it that way.
Laura Hoyer 16:29
So yeah, exactly. Project Managers also manage deadlines, too. So if you're working on a tight deadline, and you're managing a bunch of different things that a bunch of different people are doing, and you use some sort of documentation for that, or whatever, that's project management, 100%.
Leslie Early 16:44
Yes, okay. Number five.
Laura Hoyer 16:48
In your resume, you should include your portfolio URL. And that URL should be short. I used Wix, they have a free way that you can build your own website, you can decide to pay for something else, so that your URL is just your name, whatever you want to do. But by using a free account, sometimes they put the name of whatever using in there. So for example, my portfolio has Wix in there. But the entire URL is fairly short. And I say that because if you put the URL in your resume, chances are it's not clickable for somebody. And if they go to type it in and they make an error on their end, they're going to get frustrated and move on. Right. So you've put all this work into your portfolio, you should include it in your LinkedIn profile in your resume, anywhere where it's somebody who would come across your information and want to learn more about you make it really easy for them, and put the URL there and make sure it's short and hard for them to mess up. So you don't want to have 12367 at the end or anything like that.
Leslie Early 18:01
Yeah. All right. Well, that was great. We got through all five of them. Right on time. Excellent job. Excellent project management, Laura. Thank you. Yeah, so I hope that listeners can you know, at least take these top five tips that we have and and apply them right away and sort of kind of get moving toward getting their resume ready to go. But if people have more questions for you, or want to connect with you, what's what's the best way to reach out and find you.
Laura Hoyer 18:33
So there are a couple great ways to do that. And you can connect with me on LinkedIn. My name is Laura Hoyer H O Y E R, and you'll know it's me, because there's a million letters after my name on LinkedIn. And you can also follow me on Instagram at the right fit career coach, all one word, no spaces, no nothing. Where I post resume tips, career change tips all the time. And I am notorious for being very fast to respond to messages. I have a sort of OCD, if you will, where any sort of notification will drive me nuts until I read it. So I respond very quickly.
Leslie Early 19:12
Oh, good. Yeah. That's good to know. All right. Well, thank you again, so much, Laura, for joining me and sharing some of your expertise on this.
Laura Hoyer 19:23
Thanks so much for having me.
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