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Learning and Development Webinar Video Transcript

Hear from students and graduates in the Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL) program as they share their experiences navigating the current learning and development (L and D) job landscape.


[Rafael da Silva] Hello, everybody, and welcome to this virtual roundtable titled, “Navigating the Current L and D Landscape.” In this session, OPWL students and graduates will share their experiences navigating the current learning and development job landscape. Our speakers will discuss challenges, lessons learned and strategies that have helped them in landing L and D roles. This session is being recorded and a recording will be available via a student union announcement on Canvas as early as tomorrow.

I’m Dr. Rafael da Silva, a clinical assistant professor here at OPWL, and I’ll be moderating the session. I have the pleasure of introducing you to our speakers. First, Alejandro Amaya. Alejandro currently serves as a learning design consultant with LinkedIn in Chicago, Illinois. He started this position in January of 2022 when he was midway through the OPWL master’s program. Alejandro started his career in K-12 education through Teach for America and also served as a training specialist for Redfin real estate before joining LinkedIn. Welcome, Alejandro.

Alexis Bolick. Alexis is an organizational development specialist at UMass Memorial Health. Alexis currently resides in the Greater Boston area, Massachusetts. She started her position in August of 2023 during this current fall semester of the OPWL program. With over a year of professional experience in instructional design. Alexis is relatively new to the learning and development field. However, her extensive background spanning nearly a decade in customer service and operations equips her with a deep understanding of needs analysis and the ability to deliver clients meticulous and results-driven solutions.

We also have Nahari Leija. Nahari is an e-learning specialist at Metcore LSI. Nahari currently resides in Brownsville, Texas. She started her position in September of 2023 after finishing the OPWL program in May of the same year. Nahari graduated with her bachelor’s in bilingual education and has worked as a teacher before transitioning into learning and development.

And finally, we have Rachel Tischer. Rachel is a business analyst contractor at Bonneville Power Administration. Rachel currently resides in Portland, Oregon. She started her position this month, October 2023. Prior to this position, she worked as a change management specialist for Mack Core LSI — so a good connection there — a Washington, DC based company that develops trainings for federal agencies. She started her OPWL program in 2020 and took breaks between semesters to pursue new job opportunities.

She will be completing her last OPWL semester this spring, so congrats in advance in graduating. Her inspiration for obtaining an OPWL master’s program was one, to transition from her extensive career in mental health as a children’s counselor and quality assurance staff trainer at Northern California Community Clinics. And to have the job location flexibility to do what she really loves, which is being outdoors in whitewater, kayaking and rafting big, scary, beautiful rivers. Welcome, everybody.

This session will be structured as follows: I will first ask four questions that each of our participants will respond to, and my proposal is that we go alphabetically first. Alejandro, then Alexis, Nahari and finally Rachel. Then we’ll open up for audience questions. Please, at any time during the session add any questions that you may have to our chat, and I’ll make sure to address them after my part is done. I will also be adding the questions that I will be asking our speakers to the chat so that the speakers can view them at any time.

(4:00) What prompted your choice for a career in OPWL and L and D?

[Rafael da Silva] To get things started. Our first question. Can you tell me, can you tell us more about your professional background and what prompted your choice for a career in OPWL and L and D? Alejandro, the floor is yours.

[Alejandro Maya] Hello everyone. Excited to be here at some former classmates too, which is really cool. But yeah, I will answer that question. I’m going to tell you a little bit my professional background, just the same answer, but what brought me my career now at L and D. My choice really came from paying attention to what gave me energy and what I gravitate to the most.

That was actually learning something. And I shared it with someone else. Initially, when I started college, I was like, “I want to be an attorney because I love learning the laws. I love learning the rules.” But I did a lot of presentations at conferences where I learned about things and presented it, and I had two professors who really encouraged me to go into teaching.

So that led me to go for Teach for America, where I taught for three years — seventh and ninth grade English language Arts in Oklahoma City. I love teaching, but I knew it wasn’t necessarily the career path I wanted. So after three years, I set out to find a company with a mission, not necessarily teaching. I just knew I wanted to work for a company that I believed in.

So Redfin came into play there and I started in the entry-level role. And I did a very similar cycle I found myself doing several times, which is I learned overall effectively I was proficient in it and then I started to see where I can improve it. So raised my hand a lot for helping with training, designing slides, even for team meetings.

Anything that I knew I was good at from my teaching time, I just implemented it in extracurriculars at my job. Eventually got promoted to sales team and I did the same cycle again. I learned the role and found ways to improve the learning experience. Eventually, Redfin needed a formal training team and I applied for the training specialist role and I started there.

And I’d like to say that’s where I really started my L and D journey is at Redfin, kind of building that program up from the ground. And I want to just share that’s an important piece of my journey, and everyone has a different one. I joined a company and I found my way into learning because again, I followed what I like doing, and these extra things led to me building a reputation, showing leadership when I didn’t necessarily have the role yet, but it built my brand.

So that’s really again, why I chose L and D as a profession that I wanted to pursue. And yeah, it was all from just following teaching to corporate and then to L and D as a whole and really committing for go away and even joining OPWL as well.

[Rafael da Silva] Thank you. Alexis?

[Alexis Bolick] Hi, everyone. Also so happy to see so many familiar names and faces.

So I, as I’ve already mentioned, my path wasn’t very linear either like Alejandro’s. I feel like that’s quite common in L and D is we all just find ourself here. So I have primarily worked in customer service, literally just restaurant level or answering phones for a therapist’s office. And then I went more into operations. So I worked at a tech company.

I worked at a gym where someone was silly enough to offer me an assistant management position when I was very unqualified to be a assistant manager. But, I found that I really enjoyed the idea of development and helping others learn through that job. And during that job, I was working on my bachelor’s degree, which was quite broad. It was in business psychology, and after I finished that bachelor’s degree, I wanted to — I thought I wanted to — get more into very specific HR roles.

So I tried that, didn’t work out very well so that I had to pivot back. I found out about something called instructional design through a past professor I had because it was back in 2021, super, super hot on the market. So really was interested in that. So I had taken a couple of classes online. Not at Boise State, just a college in California, just to learn how to do the basics of instructional design, storyboarding or learning what articulate storyline was and was just hooked after that.

And so then I found OPWL program and haven’t looked back since.

[Rafael da Silva] Thank you, Alexis. Nahari.

[Nahari Leija] Hi everyone. Yes, so also my path wasn’t linear when I was student teaching. It was my last semester in my bachelor’s and I met someone while I was working as a tutor that he was doing his master’s in educational technology. And so I asked him, “so what can you do with that?” And he told me, instructional design.

And upon investigating more of what the career involved of, then I decided it was everything I liked about teaching, and it was creating and planning, not dealing with parents. But I was about to graduate, so I decided to use that time as I was working as a bilingual teacher to figure out what graduate program to enroll in.

So then I spent six months looking into different graduate schools and the cost, because I was paying out of pocket. And at the end I decided Boise because I just really liked how Jo Anne treated me in the admissions process. And also it was a school that I was able to afford. And so then I graduated and during my time at Boise, during the OPWL program, I did two internships.

And then I’m currently right now working full-time at Metcore as an e-learning specialist.

[Rafael da Silva] Thank you, Nahari. And finally, Rachel.

[Rachel Tischer] Yeah, just to echo what everyone was saying, it is very much it’s nice to see familiar faces. Yeah, and so a few things is to — what Alejandro said about go towards the light. In a good way, but absolutely can relate to that.

And so my story is I’ve reinvented myself a couple of times. But yeah, so when I started, I had worked in business and marketing in a tech company, consulting company, and quickly realized — and this, I’ve carried this lesson forward — is how to differentiate myself from others in the sense of you get tired, it kind of you do the preparation before you even complete their application for a job of doing a kind of market survey of like, how can I stand out? Always looking.

What interests me? Where are the wards, herds going? How can I do something that makes me stand out? So with that, I did my first master’s in counseling and I was a family child therapist for a lot of years, and then got into quality assurance, which became painful many times, but was a really great boot camp of realizing — and I didn’t have the word for it at the time before I joined OPWL — but doing process improvement and change management and also the instructional design aspect, because I saw that clinicians were getting burned out because the training was arbitrary and they would be told quickly in a hallway, this is how they do it.

And surprise, they didn’t always remember. So I did that for 15 years. And then honestly, personal things happened in life and realized, yeah, let’s reevaluate this. And it was on a Grand Canyon trip and met people who had these lives that they could go to find exciting things. And I thought, “that sounds good, I want that.” So then I was going down the list and instructional design jumped out.

It would give me flexibility and location and it’s something I’m interested in and I had actually been accepted to the program at George Mason, totally unimpressed in enrolling. And then as, just, I joined a Facebook group and this woman called Dr. Giacomo randomly said, “hey, look at OPWL.” And so I said — at first I’d seen it and I was actually not interested because it had things in addition to the instructional design.

But in hindsight, a good lesson of one of those very quick moments in life can totally change your trajectory. So yeah, so for that reason I chose OPWL. I actually went to OPWL January 2020 and was picked up at the airport by Jo Ann and it was beyond amazing for so many reasons, because I knew if I didn’t actually meet the people staying up at three in the morning doing homework would be a lot harder.

So yeah, I was 100% on the ID train when I started OPWL and, in fact, I even have the wide certificate. And then I thought, what the heck, I’ll do this change management thing. So I took a change management class and honestly, I was jaded that it was just some arbitrary business term, but I realized it totally excited me.

So I pivoted and realized, yeah, so what was that? And then leaned into it and got to accepted the job as the change management specialist to pivot out of mental health and that was my last job before I started now. Yeah. So that is my journey with OPWL.

[Rafael da Silva] Thank you so much everyone. I love the common thread of pivoting and being from a different walk of life and then falling into instructional design, L and D, OPWL and finding your space for finding your voice and what you really love within this field. I think that’s, that’s a very enriching conversation and really enriching perspectives that you brought.

(13:48) Tell us more about your job search.

[Rafael da Silva] Moving on to our next question. We’re going into the weeds of job search now, so tell us more about your job search. When did you start looking for a job in OPWL, L and D? Did you adopt any particular strategies or criteria in deciding what jobs to apply to that you would advise others to follow?

And I’ll paste that question in the chat. And Alejandro, you’re up next again.

[Alejandro Maya] Thank you. Yeah, I think I had two, three pivotal moments in work whether I was changing from teaching to corporate, from corporate to in training specialist, or training specialist to instructional design. And I always did a similar approach to my kind of job strategy. And it was always I started to figure out what do I like doing?

And then what am I currently unhappier, don’t want to do anymore? And I focus on those two things. For example, my most recent job search when I went from training specialist to structural design, I really enjoyed designing more than I enjoyed delivering training. So I knew instruction design was for me, but I wanted one specifically that primarily designed.

There’s a few different roles up there and definitions for instructional design. Some do more delivery and some design. I wanted a heavy design. Once I knew what the role I wanted. I determine what kind of companies I wanted to work for. Not everyone does that, but I do. I want to work for a company that I really believe in.

For me, specifically in this position, I wanted a tech company with the mission that I could get behind. Once I knew that I knew what I wanted, I was able to filter out the jobs and companies. With this in mind. This was very helpful for me because at that time I was limited with a full-time job and also taking OPWL courses.

So I didn’t have a lot of time, so I couldn’t just apply to anything. So knowing those two things, like what you actually like doing what you want for your next role and what you currently don’t like and don’t want is really going to help you filter it. But also for me, it helped me to tell my story whether it was an interview or cover letter.

When they ask you why this role and why this company? Because most job interviews will ask you that. But yeah, that’s a big one for me on my side, a big strategy.

[Rafael da Silva] Awesome, thank you. Alexis.

[Alexis Bolick] Yeah, so my search started after I finished my first instructional design internship. I had that for a university and just decided that maybe education wasn’t for me.

So I was interested in going to more of the corporate world so that was back in May or June of this year. And as far as strategies. So at first I was really only interested in looking up instructional design jobs because that’s what I had the most experience in. And I have been so fortunate enough to be Dr. da Silva’s TA for the past year plus, and it’s just been such a wonderful opportunity.

But I have a lot of instructional design experience, so I thought maybe I would stick with that. But then as I was looking into these jobs, polar opposite of Alejandro, I wasn’t super interested in only doing design and development. I was interested in some of the analytical work that you do with OPWL as well. I wanted to continue to learn more about that professionally.

Then I stopped looking specifically for instructional design positions on LinkedIn or Indeed or whatever, and I started doing keyword searches and when looking for new jobs, I use HPI or HPT terminology that we learned here in OPWL, just literal class names that I’ve taken to see what pops up. And that actually helped my, my excuse me, it helped me open my eyes to a lot of the different job titles.

I’ll get into the job titles later because that was one of my biggest challenges as a new person in the field, but also knowing that I was in class currently or had a class in the past with professionals that had already been in the field. But that’s a huge thing that you should take for granted here. We’re working with other professionals in the field that have been in the field for however long, always make connections and I knew that I already knew people that were in the field.

So I actually went back to we always have our introduction discussions for classes. So everyone usually puts their job title in these introduction posts. And so I went back to basically all the classes that I had taken. I took down notes of who was doing what work, made some more LinkedIn connections and started asking people about their jobs.

I literally called Rachel one day. She and I had a good conversation about her job because I was interested in change management. So that was another strategy. And then, yeah, just doing like informal informative interviews just to see the differences in the different jobs, because there are a lot of jobs out there that sort of fall in the OPWL world.

[Rafael da Silva] Awesome, thank you. Nahari.

[Nahari Leija] Yeah. So I started searching for full-time jobs in March, and at first I was just applying to any job that was remote that that I like. And then like, rejections kept coming in because so many, like, I didn’t have a lot of experience and so many people are trying to transition into the ID field.

So right now it’s very competitive. So then I started looking at YouTube and Reddit for advice, and I would reach out to my former manager first or people I know in the OPWL program to see what they liked about their job or what they how do they search for a job. So then I started applying. I would look on LinkedIn for jobs and then I would apply at the company website because I suppose, like someone had told me that supposedly they don’t look at the job applications at LinkedIn, I’m not sure, but I followed that advice so I would apply to the actual company website.

Right. And then I got really scared because I kept seeing in Reddit that they weren’t really hiring unless you had five years of experience. And I only had my internship. And then one day the recruiter at the company that I’m currently working at, she posted, Jo Ann posted the job at the OPWL Canvas page and I applied, but I knew I wasn’t qualified for the position.

It was a change management position, so I didn’t have what it was required, but I applied anyways and I introduced myself. And so then I got to talk to the recruiter and she told me she would keep me in mind for future positions. And she did. She called me two months later and she told me that there was going to be a job opening soon if I was still available.

During that time I was just doing an internship at ADT commercial, so I’m like, Yes, I got super excited. Finally, a full time position opportunity and I applied and the other job.

[Rafael da Silva] Awesome, thank you. And finally, Rachel.

[Rachel Tischer] Yeah, so, so many great things people brought up, but I’ll take a step back and my strategy actually I realize it’s a, I applied like an HPI person and I would notice like I would lean in.

So one is you have a really cruddy day at work or you have bills staring at you. And so you’re like, It looks like it’s a LinkedIn afternoon. Let’s check that out. And then I would do that and get a little excited and then I would see one that kind of look good, and then I would seize up and get nervous and get run away.

So trying to figure out how to do that, when I noticed my shoulders would get tense. And so going back to kind of Alejandro strategy then and I did both job searching and even developing LinkedIn and I’ll lean into that one, but I just backed off and pretended I was a tourist and I would pretend.

Of course, I totally had skin in the game because I got bills like everyone else. But like, how can I do this where there’s a sort of a sense of curiosity and playfulness? Hang with me here. But I would just go through and like Alexis was saying, I would put in terms and see where that took me and then see the patterns of what that title meant to that company and treat it like an analytical exercise.

And then I would pull back and I would look at, okay, again, going customer service as a waitress. And those are some of the best life skills in the world. And so I’d be like, okay, that’s front of the house, what the company is saying, what’s back of the house, what are the market needs, what part of the economy is going not so great, and where does that mean there’s going to be expansion?

So to look at it in the big picture so a little bit took me out of it, but then I would still be looping through and trying to find the things that interested me. The other thing is confidence. When I was looking to get out of health care, I worked with a career coach and she’s yeah, you could go into learning and development and do that on your own, she said.

But if you join a program, you get this whole network and that has been huge for many reasons. And one of them is that, especially with OPWL, is it’s everyone’s gone through Jo Ann. They’re good people and that’s key because you’re going to get diminishing returns on applying for company jobs through the company website. If you go to the front door, but if through networks and just confidence.

But the other thing, to be honest is one of my I would sometimes procrastinate on my schoolwork and so I use that to my advantage. I would work on my LinkedIn profile, I would work on my spreadsheet about what the key job terms were that interested me. But yeah, that was a bigger strategy because I knew I wanted to do as much kind of background effort, so I wasn’t having to apply at a company website because I knew that’s where most people do it.

So think strategically of how can I do it in a way where I have genuine interest because they pick up with that in the interview and yeah, and then how can I do it so that I have inroads And I was that I haven’t had to apply to a company directly. And for jobs it’s either been I got the job at LSI threw an OPWL Jo Ann announcing it so an OPWL connection.

And then this last job I got through a recruiter because my LinkedIn was so good. And I’ll go more on that in the next answer. But yeah, network and doing your background homework and LinkedIn in a nutshell, those would be my strategies.

[Rafael da Silva] Thank you. Yeah, there’s a lot and what you all have said, what sticks out to me is just the exploration process and what works for you, whether it is finding keywords or finding ways to filter, to search, reaching out to others. Who talk about their experience and certain roles and certain contexts. Yeah, really great stuff there.

(24:52) What challenges did you encounter in your job search or interview process? What lessons did you learn?

[Rafael da Silva] The next question is going to expand a little bit on the job search topic. What, if any, were the challenges you encountered in your job search and or interview processes? And what lessons, again, if any, did you learn as a result? And I’ll face that question in the chat, Alejandro, you’re up next.

[Alejandro Maya] Thank you. I think I have two to share. The first one is it was a challenge of describing what you did to the general public when you’re like in a pivot from one career to another. It’s really important to know how to do that. When I left teaching, I found it hard for people to see my transferable skills when it was a language of an educator.

So you have to sometimes put it in simpler terms or terms that are general for everyone to understand and I learned that from a friend who had also done the transition. Talk to them before teaching other roles, really what is really helpful is to quantify your impact and what does that mean? Quantify? And I’m glad I taught before I did anything else because teaching taught me to look at data and quantify what the impact, what have you done, what has been the difference?

And not everyone has that, but as much as possible, try to quantify it. Did you teach how many students that you teach? Was there a specific goal or a metric that you met putting on your resume and then putting in your LinkedIn or wherever you put it out or even sharing it in an actual interview? Numbers helped to really paint a picture of your impact to the general public.

So all of this again required common language. Most people would understand, and it does take some time. I’ve had my resumé edited and reviewed more times than I can count. The second thing I would say is when I was searching for an ID role, I was midway through the OPWL program and I was so eager to share what I knew.

I wanted to share everything from theory to the process, task analysis, everything. I was like, I know so much I want to share with everyone. But I kept getting to final rounds or midway through rounds and would not get the job. So I was frustrated. I knew I had the skills, I knew I had what it took, but something was missing.

I reached out to our wonderful Jo Ann and she helped pair me with a couple of alumni to do some mock interviews with me and give me feedback, and they helped me figure out what was wrong. And what I really needed to do was I need to keep it simple and not dump all this information on the interviewers that I knew.

Just because I can word dump and know all this information doesn’t necessarily mean I need to actually share it. Strategy that someone actually taught me about alums was to focus on answering the question that they asked in a concise way. Answer it right away, and then let the interviewer know that you have an example if they’d like to hear it.

That really changed the dynamics of the interviews that I had after that, because it allowed the interview to actually be a conversation opposed to someone asking the question. I just rattle off and mumble a bunch of stuff and then they lose interest. So that really helped me to reduce the rumble or rambling and also again answer the question right away and give the opportunity to make it a conversation with the interviewer.

That’s change. I still use that today. I could talk about all day, but I can explain it briefly, provide an example if they need me to keep going and if they don’t, then it’s fine. It just gives me an opportunity to keep going into something else. Maybe that was enough. What I answered was enough and sufficient and we can move.

So those are my big kind of lessons learned throughout my interview process.

[Rafael da Silva] Great stuff, thank you. Alexis.

[Alexis Bolick] Thank you. I’m glad that I underwent more to the interview. I don’t have as much for the interview side other than I really did notice an impact in my interviews. Whenever I was actually passionate about the company and their values and what they were doing.

And I understand that not everyone is going to have that choice right when you apply. But if you do, then I think you’ll really notice an impact with your interviews and that you’re just so much more excited and curious and your interviewer is going to notice that immediately. I would try to find something good about the company and of course I always do company research before you interview.

AS always, very important. But yeah, my job search was it was a tough one. I was just not very well versed in again, all the different jobs out there. There are so many different jobs in the L and D landscape. There are different positions that mean the same thing, right? An instructional designer has a million different job titles out there, just depending on what’s needed.

I was interested in one analyst position for a little bit, but there’s, my goodness, 2000 different analyst positions and not a lot of them have to do with L and D. That was my biggest thing. Again, just trying to find the jobs to look for because they were so diverse. But again, the keyword search led me down a good path.

OPWL people led me down a good path as well to see what worked for them or what didn’t. When I searched, I was literally just again, searching the types of classes that we take and needs assessment or evaluation or just literally the word development. And that would brought me in the right direction. And of course, always reaching out to mentors, Rafael helped me out a lot.

Jo Ann, as always, helped me out a lot and providing some additional people to speak with and her own tips for searching as well. So always using resources and just getting really creative when you do this initial search just to write down what you’re seeing and take notes and maybe make a spreadsheet because it after a while and you do this day in, day out, it’s going to all come together.

And whenever you start saving them in LinkedIn or indeed they can disappear, they could disappear the next day. Taking note of what you have, this is what I found to be really important because things change very quickly and I came across the organizational development specialist role very randomly. I didn’t even know that was a thing, but it ended up being a really perfect mesh of OPWL program in general.

Maybe searching organizational development is something that could be beneficial to all of you as well, but that’s pretty much all I have for that one.

[Rafael da Silva] Thank you. Thank you, Alexis. Nahari.

[Nahari Leija] Yes. So one of the biggest challenges I came across was facing like rejections, like growing up and being a good student, it could be hard once your thrown in the real world, then you face rejections.

After a while, I took it as that. It just wasn’t a job that was meant for me, and it was hard at times as well because I didn’t have a lot of connections. Like I just tried my best in applying. And then it’s also hard because in some instances, they dragged you out in interviews like three or four interviews and then they reject you or your ghosted altogether.

And in the most of the interviews that I did get were through connections. And also what Alexis mentioned, that sometimes there’s certain titles in L and D that are L and D, but you don’t know that they’re L&D. At first I interviewed for a quality assurance position that it it involved everything L and D but it just wasn’t the title. And each interview I took it as a learning experience and I told myself, I wrote down all the questions that they asked me and the how I answered so that way in the next interview, I can always do better and better.

And then immediately also after the interview, I talked to one of my mentors to see what I could improve in my answer. And during this time I also kept adding more and more to my portfolio and also during this time I also was doing an internship. So whatever I worked on the internship I would add in my portfolio and that was another thing I could talk about during the interview process with any recruiter, because I used to be a former teacher.

So like Alejandro said, It’s hard to explain how teaching can have transferable skills into L&D, even though there is a lot of skills that are transferable. But what helped me other than that was having and having two internships that I did in L&D and I talked about those in my interviews and also, like Alexis said, just researching the company, I would research the company and the company website.

I would even research the people who work there on LinkedIn and see what they did. And if they had similar backgrounds as me or not. And I would also talk about that during interviews. What what in my past career did the people who work at those jobs have in common to me? So that’s something that I also mentioned.

And there was one instance where I, I also, even though it was hard for me to search for a job, I also just stuck to what I wanted. There was an instance where I had I was at the final interview and I knew I was probably going to get the job, but I, I really didn’t want it because it meant traveling 50% of the time.

And I really wanted a remote job. So even though I really felt like I need a job, I just decided to wait for the right opportunity for me. And sometimes it could be hard waiting. But if you wait and if you keep searching and you get better during in the interview process and eventually you’ll find the job you’re searching for.

[Rafael da Silva] Awesome. Thank you, Nahari. And finally Rachel.

[Rachel Tischer] Yeah. So a few things and just I really appreciate hearing everyone else. But yeah, so in my life span of my career, I’ve interviewed people I’ve had to hire many clinicians and train them. And what I found was helpful is kind of two things. One is to do the mental gymnastics to a project that it’s not about me and what meaning is what is the problem they’re trying to solve the company.

When I would talk to friends about this, so partly so you can find your swagger and it’s going to be small, but any little swagger in the interview. But what treat it as if you already and this is not new but you treat it as if you have the the job itself, and that helps you see more of what they’re trying to solve by hiring this person.

And I bring that up because of all the things I’ve done and it’s a confidence game. Am I good enough? Does a color of my suit work? So you have tricks and things like wear colors so it stands out, You wear your favorite, whatever, so you feel good. But mentally, for me, that was huge. The other thing is I was diagnosed with ADHD, after my first masters, and I know one of the things that I struggle with and also sometimes enjoy is I tend to think out loud, That’s great, but not always in an interview. 100% Alejandro what you said about and my career coach said the same thing about.

Put a little at the front door, then back off. You want to draw them in which you practice that, you do that. And that goes to my other analogy. That job searching and interviewing is like dating. That you need to fundamentally know your value and to know that if it doesn’t work out, it’s not always a reflection on you, it’s just the match.

And that helped me too. And the other thing that has really helped me is to keep my morale up. By doing things not related to the job search to know that, yeah, it helps me keep perspective, but one of the things I can speak to is so with the company Bonneville Power Administration, I interviewed for. A recruiter contacted me for a change management position.

I was super excited. The pay is going to be a lot better, not the social worker pay I was used to, so I was super excited. I got out and bought a new suit. Okay, waist up. But. And it was something like 15 questions and 45 minutes. It was not a conversation. It was a like fire squad of trying to be succinct and I really felt defeated.

But I knew I hadn’t interviewed in a while. And it’s a muscle. And so even finding ways to interview for maybe things you don’t want just to like get that muscle honed. But what was really cool is then I didn’t get it. I was really disappointed. And as we all know, when you’re working full time, especially if you’re in school, to the idea of finding magical extra energy to be able to have any brain thinking capacity at the end of the day is a challenge.

But another opportunity came up because I kept the relationship good with the recruiter and I interviewed, and the conversation was totally there was a conversation. And I later learned after I started the job talking to one of the guys hired me and I said, I can do change management at a really strict way if you want. My preference is to do it bringing in different specialties and just more an intuitive way.

And he said, That’s why we hired you. So another thing to think of too, it’s a two-way conversation, because I can tell you there’s interviews I’ve conducted where I am trying to give big signals you don’t want to work here. So if they if you see that they are hiring for the same position, often that’s a clue you may not want to be.

That doesn’t mean you don’t need to maybe take it because you got to pay bills. But yeah, it’s a two-way conversation. So how the rapport between the interviewers or how they treat you is huge to read that sign. And so that’s where it’s helpful to do the things of It’s not about me, it’s about, this is a two-way street, but my challenges are being succinct.

And so part of that is I try to do as much as I can with network or so that they are ready. I have their attention before I start the interview versus just being a cold interview. And sometimes you just got to do it. But just knowing it’s partly a numbers game. Yeah, that, that those are my items.

[Rafael da Silva] So yeah, great stuff here. Yeah I, I appreciate the comments of understanding that doing that job search is a process through which you learn and grow through different strategies. Either it is mentorship and feedback on interviewing practices or keeping notes and re-strategizing, pivoting to a different strategy and understanding what you’re where you could be doing better that process. So thank you all for sharing those perspectives and lessons.

(39:50) Anything else you’d like to share about your experience search for OPWL or L and D roles?

[Rafael da Silva] Our final question is a little bit more open-ended and for that reason we’re not going to go in any particular order here. I just want to leave it open for you to share. Anything else you’d like to share about your experience searching for OPWL, L and D roles. Anything else that comes to mind that is not that was not captured in the previous questions.

[Rachel Tischer] I’ve got something to add. I also saw it is a momentum thing where, you know, where do I get started? Especially again, you’re working full time and you’re in school. I actually it’s through Instagram following different accounts where it’s about job interviewing and also that segued into using Chat GPT which many people did many opinions, but why not harness it?

So I would do I would put the job description and then put my resume and say, how do they match? And that sounds silly, but it would get the ball rolling. And then I could use my frontal lobe to refine it. But that helped. Other thing too, and I’ll drop it in the chat there. There is a woman I shared with Alexis.

She is a recruiter replacement for. Yeah, sorry, Alexis, You get your hand up. But I follow her just to realize that there’s a power dynamic too. In the favor of the candidate, us. And yeah, that’s a morale booster. But the two things I would mention is actually Instagram or social media in a way that because there’s a lot of tools out there so you don’t have to invent the wheel.

Yeah, that would be when I have.

[Rafael da Silva] Thank you, Alexis. I have your hand raised. You’re next.

[Alexis Bolick] Thanks. Yeah. The lady that Rachel was talking about is quite entertaining, but, yeah, I just wanted to mention that again, it’s already been mentioned a couple of times, but I just found it to be really important that it’s a mind game of applying.

Like, it’s really draining for me, there were definitely days where I was talking to Rafael and I was just not feeling great about myself. So having a support system during this time is really important. Never think that it’s you. You’re all very competent people. You’re learning incredible things, you have wonderful experiences, but you don’t know what’s going on the other side of the hiring practices.

It is really hard, but to just keep that in your head while you’re doing it, because again, it can be very demoralizing depending on how long the process goes. But anyway, I also just wanted to mention that it really does help to have a resume that kind of stands out that’s organized. Whenever I was accepted for my job, my manager used to be the manager of the recruiting department, and the first thing you said was, Wow, your resume looked really good.

And I’m sure that helped me immediately with at least talking to him for the first time. And then you, you know, let the rest of your work speak for itself. So and then the last thing is that I wanted to mention is to be open to different types of work. So with my job, I do a lot of virtual or in-person facilitation, and I was not interested in that at all.

That was like the thing I wanted to avoid whenever I started looking for a L&D jobs. But I actually love it now. Very fun. I find trying new things. Staying curious, I think, is something that managers within the L&D landscape really look for new employees. So be curious, right? Stay open. Especially you don’t have the experience yet. It’s always just good to to obtain new experience.

And if you don’t like it, then you don’t like it.

[Rafael da Silva] Great stuff. Thank you. Nahari, you unmuted yourself.

[Nahari Leija] Yes. Like Alexis said, sometimes it could be very draining. One thing I would have done differently is I would have applied a a long time before I graduated during the OPWL program. I during the time, I felt I didn’t feel confidence, like in applying for a full-time job while in school.

But I would have done that differently. I would have been applying since January or December. I would have also used Chat GPT for my resumé. I did use Chat GPT for the to prepare for the interview. Like whenever I didn’t know something about the job, I would ask Chat GPT and Chat GPT would answer and then I would find an example of whatever Chat GPT told me and also having a support system like Alexis said, it could be super hard when you face every single day a rejection, another rejection, you get excited that an email came and it’s a rejection.

And also something I that wasn’t mandatory that I did during my time in OPWL was I took like course I took a course in Adobe and I feel like that really helped me in the interview because I had a scale that like a lot of that not a lot of people have in graphic like graphic design is not a skill you need to have for instructional design, but it’s a good skill to have.

So I took a small course in instructional design and I felt that really helped me in interviews because I was able to show them my work. And I’m by no means a graphic designer, but just knowing how to do a few things can really help you stand out.

[Rafael da Silva] Awesome, thank you. Alejandro.

[Alejandro Maja] Few things here. A shameless plug to use LinkedIn beyond your work anniversary. I think it’s good to do that and share that, but I think I got my role on LinkedIn because I reached out to someone within the company when I was first interviewing. They reached out, recruited me. During that time, I reached out to someone.

I can’t emphasize enough how much it is a tool to connect with people in a genuine way, seek to learn and build a relationship with people. I use LinkedIn also and as a training specialist to build my expertise in virtual facilitation before the pandemic, before it was a popular thing, I was tasked with creating that for my company.

No one else in my company had that knowledge, so I reached out to people on LinkedIn that did, and they helped me learn. They shared their knowledge that I clearly did not have and no one around me did. So connect with experts, also connect with folks that are doing the job, not just folks that are posting every day.

People like myself, I dont post every day, but we have knowledge to share as well. There is a group that I got to know very well during the pandemic, that’s a great global learning program. There called GLDC, Global Learning and Development Community. You can find them on LinkedIn. I put it in the chat in little bit, but they have weekly meetings where you meet different professionals from across the world and they have fun with like-minded people.

And those are the kind of groups you find in LinkedIn and, even other social medias, if your putting something on LinkedIn and put it somewhere else to to get even to a larger network. Like I said, I was recruited and that wasn’t by accident. When I first reached out to me, I put a lot of time and effort, similar to what some of our panelists here have said into my actual profile.

A lot of it went into my resume telling my story on my LinkedIn profile, making it unique to me. This is tedious work, but really it sets you up to be noticed first, I believe and if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready or more academically. Abraham Lincoln said, I will prepare and someday my opportunity will come.

Having that LinkedIn profile, whatever you profile you decide to use is an opportunity for you to build your brand, build a community and share with others. And I can’t tell you enough. Showcase your ID skills in documents like Alexis said, and anything you do show, don’t tell. Anyone can say, I can do this, but show me. And that’s going to speak louder to other people.

Share your designs on LinkedIn. Social media. I think echo what everyone else says. Be patient and kind to yourself. The time that I applied is very different from today. It took me back then 6 to 8 months to actually get the role I wanted, but that’s because I was picky and I was told many times how you can’t expect all these things from a company.

And I said, I’m going to wait and find it. I know right now this may not be the ideal state. You may need to take the job just for the bills to pay the bills. That’s okay. Stay passively searching for the role that you absolutely do want. So I say good luck to that and know that we’re resource here too for you all.

[Rafael da Silva] Awesome. Thank you, Alejandro. And I think that’s a great segue into my next request from our panelists. If you have any contact information that you’d like to share in the chat, this will be included in the announcement that’s going to go out on canvas as well. And those who are here again can then see your email addresses or LinkedIn profiles if you’d like to share them.

We’ve touched on principles of community here, and that’s one of the things that we do very well here at OPWL is build communities. In that spirit, if you would like to share your contact information and the chat, we’ll go from there.

(49:00) Question from the audience.

[Rafael da Silva] And we have a few minutes left, five minutes before we wrap things up. So if anybody in the audience has any questions, you can just unmute yourself and and we will go from there.

[Missy Krupp] Hi guys, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your knowledge. One of the questions that I think for me is a little bit different. I’m in the middle aged area, I’ve been teaching for a pretty long time and I’m ready, probably in four years, to get a huge shift out of education. I’ll hit my 25 years and move on.

A lot of things that — I think it’s like the ghost in the closet. No one wants to talk about money. So Alejandro, I do really appreciate you talking about you got to pay your bills. Is there any way you guys would be willing and open to discuss what is a good instructional design position or whatever positions, doesn’t have to be your position directly?

But when I look on it and I look on LinkedIn, the salary guide’s quite different. So it’s in $50,000, $80,000, it’s $80,000 or $120,000. If you could like maybe touch on at where what separates you from getting a $50-$80,000 job range to $80-$120,000 to a $120-$170,000, if you have any experience about that, whatever you’d like to share, that would be awesome.

[Rafael da Silva] Good question And anybody, if you’d like to.

[Alejandro Maja] I wish I would have remembered this. There’s a website out there that helped me negotiate a higher salary. When you enter everything into it, I will do some search right now. But I think part of it is sectors. You have to understand the background of the sectors. A nonprofit is not going to be able to afford to pay you that much as a tech company or a processing company.

It really depends on the industry a lot of times. But part of it is your experience and how you can sell it to the company because they’ll give you a price range. But it’s really about how much can you actually do and do it. So there’s a difference between a level one and level two, let’s say instructional designer where you probably can do the job, but you need some coaching and some help along the way.

They’re not going to pay you those higher ranges as opposed to the person who can come in, be autonomously and do their job very well and probably get projects out sooner than this other person. So I think experience plays into it, industry plays into it, and honestly ask for higher whatever they give you, the initial raise or the initial offer, always ask for more.

But have a reason for it, be knowledgeable about searching online again as other people share. I’ll try to find the website that I use, but it was really good about telling me whether my offer was a fair offer or it was below market depending on salary, bonuses, stock options, and also what else is it? Remote or location?

Location was the thing. But let me search and if I can find out I’ll share with you.

[Rafael da Silva] Rachel.

[Rachel Tischer] Yeah. So based on my experience working at LSI, which your Nahari you’re there is so just the I’m glad you phrase the way you did, Missy. I’m 50, I’m 50 and I can kick. But what I saw at LSI in terms of like mid-career change, there are a whole lot of teachers out there who are transitioning to ID.

That’s just a fact. The numbers are huge. So with that and what I also saw is teachers work really hard for a lot of hours and poor pay as IDs because they’re just happy, because anything’s better than teaching in terms of how intense it is. My suggestion is going back to some other things is how to differentiate yourself of, okay, so you figure out what the standard is.

Everyone else is learning. Can you learn a programming language on top of that? Does that thrill you? Probably not. I’m saying rhetorically you, but it’s how what’s what can you do that say maybe a little more difficult that you can add to your portfolio that the the majority of people are not doing because the reality is there is just a huge amount of teachers who’ve gone into being instructional design.

And so figuring out how to differentiate yourself partly on the skill set you have. The other thing is I took years ago, a class on portfolio and how can you brand your portfolio in a way that reflects the industry you’re interviewing in is a lot of work, but let’s prep and then once you’ve gotten there, you’ve gotten their attention, then yeah, absolutely.

Lean in at the negotiation skills. Yeah, but that would be my suggestion is like figure out maybe some programming language or something where it really it’s not easy to learn, but I’ll make you stand out because if you see that repeatedly in jobs, yeah, that’s key.

[Rafael da Silva] Thank you. Thank you, Missy, for the question. And thank you, Alejandro and Rachel, for your insights.

(54:01) Conclusion

[Rafael da Silva] Unfortunately, it is seven, so we are out of time. But all of these speakers have shared their LinkedIn profiles on the chats. If you have any follow up questions or just would like to connect if you are not yet connected and feel free to add them and reach out to on LinkedIn or with your questions or just a shout out for a great presentation here.

You also are encouraged to reach out to our speakers to talk about our OPWL program and career opportunities in L and D and OPWL, just so that you can get more insight into the program, especially if you are a prospective student or has just joined the program. Sometimes you just join the program and you don’t know what’s quite available yet.

All of the opportunities, and not just as far as resources, but also opportunities to connect our speakers are a valuable resource where that in that regard as well. The recording, as I mentioned, will be available as early as tomorrow on Canvas via the Student Union announcement. I will make sure to link all of yours LinkedIn profiles in there as well so that anyone who can see the recording can also reach out to you and connect with you and for the audience.

Thank you all very much for being here and for listening to you this amazing experience that our speakers have brought in. And on that note, everyone, have a good evening or rest of the afternoon, depending on where you are in the world. And I’ll see you around Canvas. Thank you. Thanks. Thank you. Bye bye.