logo logo

Our #1 Tip For a Successful Instructional Design Resume

Before you write your instructional designer resume, apply our #1 tip that helps job seekers successfully land the interview.


You’ve probably heard the advice that you should adjust your resume to match the role you’re seeking. You might switch out elements like skills, achievements, or purpose statements to best match the job listing. What you may not realize is that when it comes to instructional design resumes, you should also write for a specific industry.

Unlike some jobs that pretty much only appear in one industry, instructional design is in demand across the EdTech, corporate, government, education and non-profit sectors. Although instructional designers create learning experiences in all of these industries, each uses a unique vocabulary and values specific skill sets.

That’s why our #1 tip for successful instructions designer resumes is this: target your resume to the role AND the industry.

Skills Check for Instructional Designers

Before we get into the details of how to do that, we have to pause for a quick skills check. Hiring managers across all industries are being inundated by former educators who are trying to rebrand as instructional designers. While it’s absolutely possible to transition from teaching to instructional design, it takes more than a title change to get there.

Check that you can honestly add at least one of the following to your resume:

• Prior experience in instructional design through internships, special assignments, or contract work

• ID-related credentials. Certifications and badges show motivation and help you attain key knowledge and skills

Without at least one of these, hiring managers are unlikely to see you as a qualified candidate. Start working on a certification or gain some experience before you try to apply.

Once you’ve passed the skills check, it’s time to write your resume. Make sure to tailor it for the industry you’re targeting.

Choose Your Words Carefully

The core instructional design skills are the same across all industries. Hiring managers are looking for someone who can design effective and attractive learning experiences according to user needs or business goals. You should have a working knowledge of common eLearning tools like Articulate 360 and editing softwares Be ready to display critical thinking skills, agility, and an understanding of learning design and strategy.

Then, decide if you can add the following industry-specific skills and keywords to your resume.

Corporate Instructional Designers

Corporate roles tend to require more “businessy” language with a focus on both process and results:

• HR

• Performance development

• Facilitation

• Stakeholder collaboration

• LMS administration

• Supplemental learning tools

• Train the trainer (TTT)

• Emerging trends

• Continuous learning

• Adult education

• Video production

• Blended learning

• Microlearning

• Training on-demand

Government Roles

Government roles are similar to corporate roles. They tend to look for more formal resumes with specific keywords and strict requirements.

• Instructional systems design

• Training needs analysis

• Assessment mapping

• eLearning authoring tools

• Training implementation

• Adult learning

• Project management

Section 508 compliance

• Be prepared to pass a background check and follow best practices for federal resumes.

EdTech Instructional Designers

EdTech instructional design roles focus more heavily on learner experience and even fun. They may require some business or marketing knowledge since the learning experiences create here are often products for sale to other organizations.

• Micro learning

• Accessible language

• Fun

• Agile development

• Engineer collaboration


• Content writing

• Videography

• Marketing

• Program growth

• Learning design strategy

• Game design/gamification

Non-profit Roles

Non-profit organizations may seek instructional designers who are more corporate or those that have more ed-tech style experience. They may create training for employees and volunteers or for members of the public.

• Mission-driven

• Accessible design

• Stakeholder management

Education Industry

As Higher Ed and K-12 become more digital, schools, universities, and districts are looking for instructional designers who understand the needs of their students.

• Course creation

• Student needs analysis

• Assessment plans

• Formative and summative assessment

• Instructional design principles

• Quality assurance

• Project management

• LMS systems administration

Deemphasize Classroom and Direct Instruction Experience

As you consider what you should include for each industry, also think about removing keywords and experiences that aren’t a good fit. In general, you want to de-emphasize classroom and direct instruction experience and keep your resume focused on instructional design, course development, and related credentials.

When building your portfolio, look for the work samples that best apply to the industry you’re targeting. If you don’t have any, it’s okay to make some mock-ups of the kind of work you think might be a fit for the role. This could include: needs and market analysis, outcome mapping, course outline, assessments, or eLearning modules.

Writing Your Purpose Statement

Every resume should include a short paragraph that describes who you are and what you hope to accomplish in the role. Embed relevant keywords into your purpose statement and use it to introduce your philosophy of training or learning. What is important to you? What do you hope to accomplish in this role?

As you craft your statement, pay attention to how different industries refer to learners and facilitators:

     • Corporate – learners or employees, instructors, facilitators, or trainers

     • EdTech – students, teachers or instructors

     • Government – Personnel or employees, instructors or trainers

     • Non-profit – learners, instructors

     • Education – students or learners, teachers

Using their preferred language signals that you understand their industry.

Find Your Next Instructional Designer Role

For help finding your next instructional designer role in any industry, partner with Teamed. We connect digital learning experts with the organizations that need their services. Whether you’re seeking contract, full-time, or part-time work, we can help. Reach out or visit our job board today.

Need to hire learning professionals?

Instructional Designer | Learning Technologist | Multimedia Developer
 Assessment Writer | Project | LMS Administrator | Faculty Trainer | And more!


Teamed Newsletter

Get the latest blogs, job openings, and candidates emailed to you every month.