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If you’ve been attempting to land an eLearning or instructional design job or transition out of teaching, you’ve undoubtedly heard that you build an eLearning portfolio. And it’s true! More and more employers are expecting candidates to submit a link to a portfolio in addition to a resume. 

The truth is: having an eLearning portfolio wasn’t always a “thing” like it is today. In fact, if you were to go back ten or fifteen years ago, having a portfolio was really only limited to those folks working in some sort of creative field like photography or graphic design. Eventually, it became standard for freelance eLearning designers and instructional designers to maintain a portfolio. But nowadays, it’s expected that we all have some sort of portfolio.

But, let me ask you this: do you really know why having an eLearning portfolio has become increasingly important within the last few years? Yes, you might have been told that you need a portfolio, and you’ve likely noticed a lot of folks working hard to build their portfolios. However, it’s never a good idea to do something just because everyone else is doing it.

So, in this post, I’ll share with you the two reasons why having an eLearning portfolio is so essential for the success of your career.

The Tools We Use Have Become Easier to Use

You need an eLearning portfolio because the tools we use have become easier to use.

There was a time when instructional designers were focused purely on instructional design. And that meant, if you wanted to create an eLearning course, you likely had to partner with someone who had a very specialized and often expensive skillset to develop that eLearning course using custom code or a complicated program like Adobe Flash or something similar.

However, nowadays, the tools we use to design and develop eLearning have become easier and easier to use and more accessible to the folks within our industry. For example, if you take a tool like Articulate Storyline, it’s no coincidence that it looks and operates a lot like PowerPoint.

As a result of this, more and more employers are starting to expect their employees to be able to these tools. Gone are the days when instructional designers focused on instructional design, or graphic designers focused on graphic design, or project managers focused on project management, or LMS admins focus on LMS administration. If you’re a learning professional working in our industry, there’s a strong chance that you’ll be expected to do a little bit of everything.

And of course, this leads me to the second reason why you need to have an eLearning portfolio.

Employers Want to See Evidence of Your Skills

You need an eLearning portfolio because employers want to see evidence of your skills.

I know I’ve made this point a million times before, but I’ll repeat it until I’m blue in the face. Rather than hiring based on years of experience or education credentials, employers are hiring for the skills a candidate can offer right now. And because employers are looking to hire for skills, it means they want to see tangible evidence of those skills. Which means they want you to have a portfolio!

You see, a resume does an excellent job of listing your job history and education in chronological order; however, it does a really lousy job of validating your skills. And yes, you can list all of the eLearning authoring tools you know how to expertly use, but anybody can do that! Instead, employers want to see living evidence that you can do the things you say you can do. 

And trust me, I used to manage and hire eLearning designers and instructional designers before I launched The eLearning Designer’s Academy, and you’d be shocked at the number of candidates that don’t have a portfolio at all!

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a surefire way to get noticed by a hiring manager and set yourself apart from many of the other candidates, start by creating a portfolio! And don’t forget to link to your portfolio on your resume and LinkedIn profile.

What are some other reasons why it’s so important to have an eLearning portfolio? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

Tim Slade

Hi, I’m Tim Slade, and I’m a speaker, author, and founder of The eLearning Designer's Academy. Having spent the last decade working to help others elevate their eLearning and visual communications content, I have been recognized and awarded within the eLearning industry multiple times for my creative and innovative design aesthetics. I’m also a regular speaker at international eLearning conferences, a LinkedIn Learning instructor, and author of The eLearning Designer’s Handbook.

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