Are you looking for an exciting new career? Follow our top tips on how to get a job in Learning and Development.
When you work in an L&D role it’s your job to equip staff with the knowledge, skills and motivation to succeed so it can be a very rewarding career path.
You’ll need to have excellent interpersonal skills, be a great motivator, a strong problem solver and take a collaborative approach to learning. Even with all the right skills and attributes in your cap, it can be tricky to get your first job when you don’t have any experience.
We’re here to help as we share our top tips for landing a job in L&D.
Get CIPD qualified
Having a degree in HR can come in handy when applying for L&D jobs, but what’s even more valuable is a professional qualification from the CIPD - in fact, many L&D job adverts specify a CIPD qualification as an essential or desirable quality.
CIPD qualifications are internationally recognised as the gold-standard in L&D and they will allow you to prove your professional credibility and commitment to high standards to potential employers.
If you’ve had some experience dealing with L&D as part of a managerial role or have a university degree, you might be more suited to starting with the Level 5 Certificate or the Diploma which delve deeper into the core functions of L&D. Make sure you choose the right course for your education and experience level by consulting an experienced CIPD course advisor before enrolling.
When you study a CIPD course you become a student member which entitles you to access their Knowledge Hub of journals, research and articles which will provide additional support while you get to grips with your course.
Later in your career, you may wish to study a Level 7 qualification which will prepare you to transition into the most senior roles in L&D such as Head of L&D or L&D Director.
All of these courses can be studied online so there’s no need for you to take time out to go to college.
Keep your finger on the pulse
A sure-fire way to impress in a job interview is to demonstrate that you’re passionate about L&D and that you keep yourself up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the field.
Keep yourself in the loop by using resources like journals, industry magazines and podcasts to grow your knowledge and find out about new developments.
A great place to start is by signing up to the People Management Magazine and HR Grapevine newsletters which provide up-to-date news articles and think pieces on HR and L&D. You can also sign up to receive the Training Journal newsletter which is fully focused on L&D.
Reading outside of your course materials is also a great way to widen your understanding of L&D - try Kogan Page for a wide selection of quality L&D books.
Use the CIPD Career Hub
The CIPD Career Hub is a fantastic platform which you’ll have free access to if you’ve become a CIPD member. It’s packed with resources and tools that will help you get started in your new career in L&D.
Use the interactive career planner to develop a plan that puts you in control of your goals. It allows you to reflect on your working style and motivations as well as giving you encouragement and advice along the way.
You can also access videos, tutorials and podcasts on everything from interview techniques to tips to increase your productivity. You’ll also find expert advice from employers and business leaders that will give you an advantage in your job search.
Once you’re ready to start putting applications out, you can use the hub’s CV builder to create the perfect way to present your skills and experience and the interview simulator to build up your confidence for the next stage of the application process.
Be creative with your work experience
Just to be clear, when we say ‘creative’ here we’re not suggesting that you lie about or exaggerate your experience; we just mean that you can use your current skills and experience and show how they can apply to L&D duties.
For example, being responsible for showing your colleagues how to perform a new task can be used as experience of training. Similarly, if you’ve ever led a team or project you can use this as an example of your motivational and leadership skills.
If you don’t have any work experience that matches up, you can try seeking out some volunteering opportunities with charities or local groups to enhance your CV. Even something like helping to coach a local sports team will help you to develop essential Learning and Development skills.
Network your way to a new role
‘It’s not what you know but who’ might be an old saying, but it can still be true when it comes to modern job hunting. Knowing the right people can be very valuable when trying to break into a new industry so spending some time networking is definitely worthwhile.
Don’t be put off networking by thinking it’s all about awkward events and being fake, it’s just a way for professional people to get to know each other and help each other out when they can.
You can even start off by joining in with the L&D Connect twitter chat #LDInsight, which is held every Friday at 8am GMT. LinkedIn groups can be another effective way to make new contacts and get some advice from more experienced professionals - why not try joining ours?
Once you feel confident enough you can then attend events organised by your local CIPD branch and larger events like the upcoming Festival of Work, which will combine the former L&D Show with the HR Software and Recruitment show into one blockbuster event.
When you’re networking you should be open about the fact that you’re looking for a new opportunity but focus on ways that you can help others such as helping with a project or introducing them to a useful contact.
Don’t take it to heart if you don’t click with absolutely everyone you meet - sometimes it’s just not meant to be, but don’t be put off! The right opportunity for you could be just around the corner.
Kick start your Learning and Development career with one of our online CIPD courses.