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ATD Blog

My Job Search Journey: Leveraging Certification During a Pandemic

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) certification gave me the confidence and credentials to participate in the Great Resignation.

I left my job during the global pandemic to pursue a more aligned career, which made decision fatigue and health safety protocols become part of my daily routine. My previous administrative position implemented and supported pandemic response tasks, navigated staffing shortages, and directed learning technology projects with momentum in 2020. Like many professionals in the workforce supporting training and education during this time, my decision-making skills improved out of necessity to adapt to this unprecedented environment. In some languages the term crisis also means opportunity—the COVID-19 health crisis forcing economic and professional upheaval created for me and many others a chance to explore career alignment and work-life balance. After six years in a professional role, I decided it was time to consider if there might be a better fit, so I started to analyze my personal, professional, and organizational capabilities.

I first earned the CPTD in 2016 then recertified in 2019. ATD Job Bank emails helped me along my job search journey as I perused openings. Quality organizations use the ATD Job Bank to promote job vacancies and search for certified talent. I was surprised to see that over 500 employers included CPLP/CPTD or APTD as a preferred qualification. My ATD credential helped me to stand out from the other job search applicants.

As I continued my search, I examined ATD blogs and community resources, articles, and trainings. Indeed and were also useful. Organizational culture was a priority for this job search. After spotting a position vacancy of interest, I researched each company to examine employee feedback and satisfaction posted on platforms outside of the organization. Social medial platforms served as a reference, but I was cautious to use the information shared on Facebook and Reddit.


While exploring position descriptions of interest, I recognized my skills gaps and devised a plan to address them. Using my ATD Professional Plus membership, I accessed webinar recordings for members to build skills and competencies on critical topics. I read issues of TD magazine to stay on top of the latest news and trends in talent development. I also took diversity, equity, and inclusion training, which later proved helpful in an interview. For a job-specific technical skill, I explored courses. Overall, the ATD publications and micro-trainings were pandemic friendly, affordable self-serve resources, which broadened my thinking and sharpened my skillset.


Carefully examining the Talent Development Capability Model, I recorded stories of my successes and capabilities to highlight on my resume and during interviews. I outlined my personal capabilities and professional capabilities and re-examined my organizational capabilities based on the model. The projects I had worked on and the initiatives and skills I applied during the past months came together, which allowed me to build my brand and package it. Throughout my job search, I discovered a high demand for instructional design and communication capabilities. Business insight and technology application were part of most of the interview questions I received, so I prepared accordingly.

While I was interviewing, I could tell that my CPTD separated me from other candidates. I leveraged ATD’s Talent Development Capability Model as a reference point to describe my certification merits and outline my credentialed capabilities. It’s no surprise that the job I landed 10 months ago was the one where the interviewer had familiarity with ATD and ATD certifications. In retrospect, I’m glad I took the time to reflect on my goals and factored organizational culture and work-life balance into my new role.

I encourage you to rethink your impact and professional worth and leverage the benefits of ATD certification and membership to land your dream job.

About the Author

Celeste Stratton has extensive experience serving the learning development industry. She has worked for international organizations such as Johns Hopkins and several colleges in the Washington, DC, and Maryland regions. She presently serves as an instructional designer for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her contributions to talent development earned her Program of the Year and Instructional Designer of the Year recognition from the Maryland Distance Learning Association. Celeste is deeply committed to strengthening the personal capability of local youth through her startup, STEMcoach.

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