With many private businesses closing indefinitely during the past year and a half, finding instructional design (ID) and training and development (TD) positions has been challenging for job seekers.
Consider entering the public sector—specifically, working for the federal government. Federal government employees enjoy better benefits than most private sector employees, including:
- Job security
- Liberal vacation and sick leave
- Healthcare coverage
- Training opportunities
- A gold-standard retirement and pension scheme–the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)
Your work is likely to be more regulated, and you may encounter more bureaucracy than in a job in the private sector.
Federal Job Growth PredictedData from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics ( BLS) indicates that by 2030, the demand for TD specialists inclusive of federal jobs will grow by 11 percent over current levels—from 328,700 positions in 2020 to 364,200 in 2030.
Recent BLS data also indicates that TD specialists in some federal departments earn more than their private sector peers:
Finding Your Target PositionHow to locate an ID or TD job in the federal government:
- Check USAJobs, the federal government’s official jobs site. There’s an eight-step process that begins with creating your profile.
- Post on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, MyOpportunity, MeetUp, or Slack. Connect with individuals within your target federal government program or “influencers” who might assist you in your search.
- If you already work for the federal, state, or local government, join GovLoop to extend your network. Using these informal connections to learn more about an opening and how best to present yourself gives you a leg-up over competing applicants.
Editing Your ResumeOnce you learn about an ID or TD job in the government, review the vacancy announcement, especially the job qualifications and requirements. The application management system automatically chooses which responses move to the human review phase. It’s vital, therefore, to tailor your responses, using keywords, acronyms, terms, and abbreviations explicitly listed in the job posting.
Pay special attention to eligibility criteria and conditions of employment. For example, some jobs may require you to be a US citizen, undergo a background check, or agree to a strict probationary period.
Your resume must demonstrate that you meet the experience requirements and qualifications of the job. Critical components include:
- Start/end dates of relevant experience
- Hours put in each week
- Your position and role on the team (manager, lead, subject matter expert)
- Examples of duties performed and accomplishments
Your resume is your application. So, customize your resume for each position, and be as succinct as possible, providing only information to the job opening.
While requirements for particular ID and TD jobs vary, you typically need:
- Familiarity with adult learning theories, including frameworks such as SAM and ADDIE
- Proven TD or ID experience
- Experience with popular e-learning development and authoring tools—ideally, those used by the department or program you apply to
- In-depth knowledge of applicable technical standards, including Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), Experience API or Tin Can API, and Reusable Learning Objects (RLO)
- Familiarity with regulatory and governance frameworks, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
- Some project management, as well as LMS management and administration experience
Having powerful verbal and written communication skills and demonstrable soft skills—people skills, facilitation, time management, leadership, independence, and industry networks—is a plus.
Timeline IdiosyncrasiesCompared to most private jobs, federal positions may be open to applicants for a relatively shorter period, but some openings might be posted more frequently. The application and selection process might also be more protracted than the private sector. However, some non-compete positions—for veterans or disabled veterans—may have expedited timelines.
Check online vacancies frequently, and apply quickly, within specified deadlines.