A well-crafted instructional designer resume parallels a well-crafted lesson plan: It starts with a goal and works backwards to build the best way to reach it. What’s your goal? To entice a recruiter to offer you an interview and, ultimately, to get the job.
When you design courses, you use existing resources. You can do the same when you develop your instructional designer resume. The expert resources Resume.io offers to job seekers include an intuitive resume builder plus resume guides and resume examples for 300+ professions. Let us help you build the A+ resume that leads to the job you desire.
This resume guide, along with the corresponding resume example will cover the following topics:
- What does an instructional designer do?
- Tips and tricks for writing an instructional designer resume
- The best format for an instructional designer resume
- Making the most out of each section of your resume (summary, work history, education, skills)
- Professional resume layout and design hints.
What does an instructional designer do?
Instructional designers use best practices to create learning materials and curriculum for targeted students. The students may be school-age or they may be new hires or workers who are learning new skills. They often use a multimedia approach and may design computer modules for self-guided learning.
In addition to creating curriculum, instructional designers may be charged with assessing students and their learning needs. They then develop engaging materials, including graphics, tests and quizzes, games or assignments that will accurately assess learning.
Instructional designers are expected to stay abreast of educational pedagogy, technology, and trends in learning. They may work in school systems, higher education, or corporate positions.
Instructional designer job market and outlook
Your instructional design skills are in demand in higher education and the corporate world. As the number of remote employees increases, the need for self-guided instruction also increases. Overall, the number of jobs in instructional design and coordination are expected to rise at about the same rate as other occupations (10 percent through 2030), but some segments of the field are growing faster than others.
More than 7 million higher education students enrolled in at least one elearning course in 2019, and 3.4 million took distance learning classes exclusively, the National Center for Education Statistics found.
Instructional designers earn a median annual salary of close to $65,000, Payscale reports.
How to write an instructional designer resume
As you block out a learning unit, you start with the elements that need to go into it. The same is true of your CV. Here are the sections you need to include:
- The resume header
- The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The resume skills section
- The education section
Think of each section as a module as a lesson with a distinct message.
Choosing the best resume format for an instructional designer
You choose the format for your instruction to suit the audience. The same is true of your instructional designer resume format. The best structure is reverse chronological order. Why? Because it suits the recruiters and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) you must address first.
Recruiters see dozens, if not hundreds, of applications and want to be able to scan your resume quickly for information. That means your contact data, most recent experience and skills need to be where they expect to find them.
If you are a career changer or are looking for your first instructional designer position, you may also consider one of the alternative or hybrid options we offer.
Optimize for the ATS
You’ve worked hard to craft an excellent instructional designer resume. Now you need to boost your chances of having it seen. Most HR departments use ATS software to help them both input applicant data and sort through the many resumes they receive. Then, algorithms rank resumes based partly on keywords and phrases pegged to the job.
While there’s no magic formula for beating the ATS, personalizing your resume will definitely help. Analyze the job posting and compare it to your document. Have you mentioned all the pertinent skills and experience listed? If not, add any words and phrases you can while maintaining the flow of your text. That will help boost your resume ranking and give you a better chance to be seen by a person.
Resume summary example: a key module
How do you distinguish yourself from other candidates who also have excellent resumes? One way is a great instructional designer resume summary. It is in these four or so lines that you can let your professional style and expertise shine.
Use your proudest achievement to show how you can improve the company or school’s instruction. Remember to choose an example that directly correlates to the needs of the employer you are targeting.
If the freedom to write complete sentences has you a bit stuck, you can find additional inspiration in our related education resume examples. The elementary school teacher resume example, high school teacher resume sample, college professor resume example or ESL teacher resume sample will give you more ideas on how to discuss your instructional skills.
Instructional Designer with 7+ years of design and development experience. Highly adept in creating and maintaining curricula and programs used to train employees, while communicating effectively with company personnel. Passionate about creating thoughtful and clear learning objectives that work to support business goals.
Employment history sample: design for desired outcomes
The employment history section is where reverse chronological order comes into play. Whether you are a teacher who designs curriculum or a corporate training specialist, your instructional design resume should emphasize what you are doing now over what you did at the beginning of your career.
What is the best resume format for job hunters who have worked as contractors on many different education projects?
When you have worked as a contractor on many different roles, one option is to list the roles with company name and dates and then summarize your biggest achievements across the breadth of the roles in one single section. This will save space.
Keeping the goal of addressing the individual employer in mind, create bullet points that begin with an action word and describe your career in terms of achievements. Just as you have a key question that you design your lessons to answer, you must answer your prospective employers key question, which is “How will you fill the need I have?” Check out the employment history section from our adaptable resume sample below.
Instructional Designer at The Design Agency, Los Angeles
July 2018 - Present
- Designed and developed high-quality learning content to meet the needs of The Design Agency, a rapidly-expanding marketing firm.
- Offered comprehensive learning solutions, incorporating multiple deliverables (online, video, simulations, instructor-led workshops, etc.), to meet performance objectives.
- Achieved team quality standards in all aspects of learning design, while managing 5-10 projects at a time.
- Worked closely with the CEO, managers, and HR professionals to see that training programs were effectively carried out.
- Conducted reviews of training materials to ensure quality of content. Facilitated 20+ weekly in-person or virtual training sessions for persons responsible for implementing training programs.
- Placed a large emphasis on designing engaging learning experiences that successfully enhanced business performance results.
Instructional Designer at Atrium, Los Angeles
October 2015 - June 2018
- Assisted clients in achieving transformation goals by identifying and addressing gaps in employee knowledge and behaviors.
- Utilized knowledge from subject experts to identify the specific learning needs of employees prior to establishing programs.
- Designed and facilitated powerful e-learning programs.
- Built and maintained strong relationships with internal teams to leverage internal tools and resources.
CV skills example: Assess yourself
You spend your time assessing other’s skills. When you develop your instructional designer resume, you need to assess yourself to create a great skills section. Ask yourself: What are my high-level skills? What do I bring to instructional design and student learning that my prospective employer seeks?
Top skills for instructional designers*
|Hard skills||Soft skills|
|Teaching and training||Time management|
|Area-specific content knowledge||Flexibility|
Receptive to and able to give feedback
*Source: Northeastern University
A blend of both hard skills and soft skills creates a well-rounded section. If you have worked with an application or system that appears in the job listing, make sure you mention it by name. See our resume sample below.
- Instructional Design
- Multimedia Development
- Adult Learning Theory
- ADDIE Model, SAM, Backward Design
- Knowledge of Captivate, Storyline, and Evolve
- Knowledge of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- Self Motivated
Instructional designer resume education example: academics in play
Not surprisingly, academics highly value education, as do those who want expertly trained workers. That means the value of the education section of your instructional designer resume is higher than in other careers. You may consider moving this section up, especially if you have advanced degrees or are just beginning your career and have a thin employment history section.
List all your academic degrees and any instructional design courses you have completed or certificates you have earned. If you have at least a master’s degree, eliminate your high school diploma. In your case, you should also list your GPA if it is a 3.0 or higher, especially if you are presenting yourself as a subject-matter expert.
Bachelor of Science in Instructional Design at UCLA, Los Angeles
September 2011 - May 2015
Resume layout and design: employ your skills
When you create a curriculum, you must take into account visual learning. Your instructional designer resume also needs to take visuals into account. The first impression a recruiter will get of you is the look of your application package. Use the same design principles that apply to lessons for your resume.
That means, keep it legible and give recruiters’ eyes a path to follow through your document. You may employ a splash of color to attract attention, but unless you are an elementary school specialist, you should avoid multiple bright colors. A resume template can make it easy to create a professional, yet eye-catching layout.
Key takeaways for an instructional designer resume
- You have the skills to hone in on and deliver key messages, so use those skills when you develop your instructional designer resume.
- Demand for corporate training modules has grown with the increase in remote workers, as has the number of post-secondary students who take distance learning courses.
- Your summary should tell employers how you will make their lives easier.
- Check out our adaptable resume sample for more ideas on creating a great page layout.