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Instructional Designer Resume Samples & Best Skills to List

As an instructional designer, you know how important it is to be a subject matter expert (SME) in your field. Read below for advice from our Certified Professional Resume Expert on how to write a strong professional resume to land your next instructional designer position.

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By Donna Wright 3 minute read

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Four keys to a top instructional designer resume

If you’re navigating a job search to land an instructional designer job, you’ll need to highlight specific skills and work experiences on your resume. Here are some important keys to building a resume that shows you are the ideal candidate.

1

Customize your resume to the job posting

One of the most important keys to writing a resume is to tailor your resume to the job description stated in the job post to ensure you mention the right keywords on your resume. Keywords in the job posting explain a specific set of skills and experience that the hiring manager is looking for. Most job applications have to make it past applicant tracking systems (ATS) first before the hiring manager even sees the resume. The ATS is purposely set up by a prospective employer to automatically select the most qualified job candidates for an open job role. For example, if the instructional designer resume job description requires candidates to be “a Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) and bilingual in English and Spanish” then be sure to highlight that you meet those requirements in your resume.

2

Be specific about your experience with teaching programs

Most instructional designers will feature similar instruction experience in the summary, skills and work history sections of a resume. List your subject matter specialties, job titles, organizations' names, dates, and locations to show hiring managers you are the right fit for the role. To make a great impression, translate your best accomplishments into measurable numerical results so instead of writing "collaborated with others to identify training needs of a certain company," write "collaborated with 18 experts and five staff members to identify Frontier Insurance Company’s training needs." A hiring manager will be more impressed by a class size or specialized subject matter than a simple generic statement. If you’re a recent graduate or entry level, highlight full time or part time experiences from internships and student teaching roles.

3

Show you have the right soft skills

Read the specific job requirements listed in the job description to ensure you highlight the right skills. An instructional designer will be required to bring specific hard skills to training others like curriculum planning, expert subject matter, teaching tools and instruction technology. It’s also important to demonstratesoft skills like strong communication, presentation, empathy, multitasking, textleadership and organization. Your soft skills will convince a hiring manager that you have what it takes to teach based on program development and be relatable to students in all types of learning environments.

4

Highlight related qualifications

As mentioned, making it clear on your resume that you meet the qualifications listed in the job description is ​​critical to showing you’re the right fit. Even further, we suggest you show how you exceed the qualifications and establish your innovative, creative thinking, continuous research of teaching initiatives and specialized curriculum. Be prepared to demonstrate your knowledge and experience with e-learning development, Learning Management Systems (LMS), multimedia integration and teaching software. Show that you can instruct in various learning environments such as blended learning, computer based training, facilitator-led training and self-study.

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Action words for a compelling instructional designer resume

When describing your experience, use industry-related action verbs to energize your actions and get your resume noticed. For example, say something like, “Designed, wrote and maintained technical training content and curriculum to meet the learning needs of 200+ health care industry employees.” Read the job description carefully and come up with action words to incorporate into your resume.

Here are some action words that apply to instructional design roles:

  • Instructed
  • Wrote
  • Designed
  • Trained
  • Structured
  • Built
  • Researched
  • Enrolled
  • Edited
  • Developed
  • Introduced
  • Adapted
  • Produced
  • Tested
  • Facilitated
  • Organized
  • Supervised
  • Visualized
  • Managed
  • Planned
  • Evaluated
  • Created
  • Revised
  • Updated
  • Implemented
  • Collaborated
  • Initiated
  • Analyzed
  • Customized
  • Incorporated

Choose the right format for your resume

Before writing your resume for instructional designer, you must decide which resume format to use. When choosing a resume format, it is important to consider your years of work experience and skill level. This is because each resume format has its function. Here are the three resume formats and an explanation of when to use them:

Chronological format

If you have several years of experience, choosing a chronological resume format is best since the focus is on your work history.

Functional format

If you don’t have much work experience or have gaps in your work history, choosing a functional resume format will be a good choice because it emphasizes skills and takes the focus off work experience. List various skills you have gained through other work experience, volunteer work and education.

Combination format

If you are changing careers or have three to nine years of experience, you can opt for a combination resume format. This format prioritizes an even mix of experience with skills.

Pro tip:Look at our expertly written guide to selecting the right resume format. Once you select a format, use our Resume Builder online tool for step-by-step help building a resume in just minutes!
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20 key skills for your instructional designer resume

No matter what the industry, instructional designers will require many skills to provide thoughtful, informative, interesting and accurate information to students. There are two main types of resume skills. Your hard skills are technical skills that you learn through education, training and hands-on work experience. Your soft skills are your personality traits that help you work with others and demonstrate a good work ethic. As an instructional designer, you will possess hard skills like curriculum development, e-learning software and learning management systems. Your soft skills would include communication and presentation skills to verbally instruct students while active listening and patience skills help you to know when to repeat or explain a lesson with a better explanation.

Here are 20 skills to feature in your resume:

  • Adult learning
  • Articulate Storyline software
  • Assessment
  • Content development
  • Corporate training
  • Cross-functional collaboration
  • Cross-training
  • Curriculum design and development
  • Distance learning
  • eLearning
  • Engagement
  • Instructional design
  • LMS (Learning Management Systems)
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Program development
  • Project management
  • Talent development
  • Team leadership
  • Training materials/manuals
  • Vertical alignment

Match your skills to the job description so you show your direct qualifications. If you need a bit of help in doing so, use our Resume Builder online tool and you’ll be provided with auto-populated instructional designer resume skills and other wording suggestions.

How to write an instructional designer resume

Once you have selected your instructional designer resume format, you can add your information to the following resume sections.

Resume header

The header is the first section of your resume that stands prominently at the top of the page. Add your contact information, including your name, phone number, location and email address. Also, add links to your instructional design portfolio and professional networking links, such as your LinkedIn profile.

Resume summary or objective

When should you write a summary for a resume? Write a resume summary if you have three or more solid years of relevant work experience. The summary should highlight your professional overview while highlighting any specialties in 2-3 attention-grabbing sentences. Therefore, it is important to highlight your most exciting and relevant accomplishments.

Write a resume objective if you’re a recent college graduate, entry-level, career changer or you lack relevant work experience. ​​A resume objective is also a brief statement like the resume summary but instead of focusing on work experience, it will communicate your career goals.

Here is an example of a resume summary:

Results-oriented instructional designer with five years of experience in providing students with interactive learning experiences and e-learning courses. Expert in multimedia and writing articulate storylines. Created over 200 mathematics training courses that have been successfully implemented in 50 high schools.

Here’s an example of how a good objective in a resume should be:

Results-oriented junior instructional designer with two years of experience in developing engaging e-learning courses seeking a role as a corporate trainer. Skilled in instructional design principles, multimedia design and learning management systems. Collaborative team player with a strong attention to detail and problem-solving abilities.

Resume skills

Your skills section shows that you have the skill set required to succeed in the instructional designer role you are applying for. Studying the hard skills and soft skills noted in the job description will give you the best chance to understand the instructional designer skills needed in the specific job you are applying for. Here are some skills you can list on your resume:

  • Ability to use Adobe Captivate and Talent LMS software
  • Create learning solutions and conduct needs analysis
  • Conduct training programs and training materials
  • Understanding of the ADDIE model
  • Creating storyboards and learning management systems (LMS)
  • Develop e-learning training modules
  • Experience with adult learning
  • Curriculum design and curriculum development
  • Ability to provide facilitator guides and course materials
  • Develop learning materials, learning objectives and learning programs
  • Microsoft PowerPoint and Word
  • Soft skills such as communication skills, presentation and project management

Work experience section

Add your work experience to your professional resume in reverse-chronological order, with your most recent job listed first. This way, the hiring manager can first see your most recent and relevant experience. Add three to five bullets describing your responsibilities and best accomplishments for each of your previous instructional designer jobs. Also include the company name and dates of employment.

Example:

Instructional Designer June 2022 to Present
ABC Company – New York, New York

  • Designed and developed 15 interactive e-learning courses annually for internal employee training programs.
  • Collaborated with subject matter experts to analyze training needs and design instructional materials for the medical insurance industry.
  • Managed five-person team creating instructional design projects from conception to completion, ensuring on-time delivery.
  • Utilized instructional design principles to create clear learning objectives and assessments.
  • Implemented multimedia elements (videos, illustrations, diagrams, photos and animation) to enhance learner engagement and retention.

Education on resume

The resume education section for an instructional designer job is important, as it will highlight whether you hold a bachelor’s degree or even more impressively, a master’s degree in a given subject matter area. In addition to subject matter expertise, you can include relevant coursework like instructional design theory, visual design and instructional systems. An Advanced Certificate in Learning Design can also help you stand out from other job candidates.

Example:

Master of Education: Instructional Design, May 2022
University of ABC – New York, New York

Bachelor of Arts: Education, May 2018
XYZ College – Los Angeles, California

Do’s and don’ts for an instructional designer resume

Do:
  • Use a resume template to ensure that your resume looks professional and it’s presented in an easy-to-read format.
  • Highlight your most relevant experiences to match the description for the specific job role.
  • Mention your soft skills, such as teamwork and communication to show your effectiveness when working closely with others to develop course materials.
Don't:
  • Include any false information on your qualifications and skill abilities. Getting caught may hurt your career.
  • Write lengthy statements or wordy paragraphs. Use concise bullet points to highlight your skills and individual job accomplishments.
  • Include personal information such as your age or hobbies. Keep your resume to professional facts.
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FAQ: Instructional designer resume

Have questions? We’re here to help.

To write a resume for instructional designer, highlight your most impressive work history, soft skills and hard skills, academic degrees and honors, professional awards, volunteer work or internships that can elevate you over other job applicants. Customize your resume to match the description for the role you’re applying for to show prospective employers that meet the qualifications. Look at the resume examples on this page for inspiration to write your own professional resume.

Whether you teach in a classroom environment or through virtual instruction, you’ll need a variety of skills. While typical soft skills (personality traits) like strong communication, storytelling and project management will be essential to instruct lessons, hard skills (learned through education or training) like a specific learning management system, Microsoft PowerPoint and visual design skills show your technological prowess to a prospective employer.

Considering instructional designers are responsible for creating educational materials that make learning easier, you will most likely need at least a bachelor’s degree in education. A master’s degree could help you stand out from other job applicants as well as an Advanced Certificate in Learning Design.

Yes! Including a cover letter along with your resume and job application allows you to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and give a glimpse into your personality, industry passion and work ethic. Rather than list the same information from your resume, expand on that information by providing additional details about your skills and qualifications and make a connection with a recruiter. Using a cover letter template and looking at cover letter examples will help you to write a strong cover letter.

You can write instructional designer resumes without much work experience by simply focusing your resume on your skills instead of work history. Choosing a functional resume format will be the easiest way to do this, allowing you to highlight your most relevant skills and incorporating any special training, volunteer work or internships in your education section. Follow an instructional designer resume sample for inspiration and then use an already prepared instructional designer resume template as a quick-start base.

The easiest way to change your instructional designer resume is to tailor each resume to the specific job description in the job posting. Take note of the keywords that describe the required skills, experience and qualifications. Add those keywords to your resume in the appropriate resume sections so you show the recruiter that you are the perfect candidate for the job. For example, if the job posting requires job candidates to “Research, analyze and design new and existing instructional materials for technical accuracy and subject matter,” be sure to include those keywords in your resume summary or objective, skills and experience sections.

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Donna Wright Profile
WRITTEN BY Donna Wright

Donna is a career expert with extensive experience in the fields of Marketing, Publishing, Direct Mail and Communications. She’s witnessed firsthand the importance of a powerful resume and cover letter to a job search, so she takes great pride in helping change the lives of job seekers by sharing expert career advice and tips to help land the perfect job.

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