Podcast | Getting Into (And Smashing) Your First L&D Role

February 10, 2023
June 26, 2023

🤝 Thinking about transitioning into your first L&D role?

​😀 Maybe you’re new to a role and need that early stage advice?

🤔 You might be an old-head who’d benefit from hearing non-traditional L&D perspectives?

Wherever you sit, you’ll learn something from Lauren Scholtz (L&D Manager at intelliHR) and Sarah Cannistra (The Overnight Trainer)

Lauren transitioned from customer success and enablement into IntelliHR’s first L&D role. And Sarah Makes people’s learning and development career dreams a reality by coaching them into their first position in the industry.

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Running order

0:00 Intro to Sarah, Lauren and today’s episode.
5:52 Finding your L&D why.
10:15 Transferable skills to L&D.
15:40 Having the right mindset.
21:37 Work out the context for the role.
25:45 Audience question: Transitioning to a new L&D role
30:10 Audience question: Preparing for an L&D interview
36:32 Building a personal brand
42:29 Audience question: Getting buy-in for L&D
50:17 Leveraging your network as a newbie

6 lessons on getting into and smashing your first L&D role

1. The value in finding your L&D niche

Think about the intersection between your skills, your interests, and your values – this is the sweet spot.

And it’s more than just a job title! It’s about understanding which challenges are out there and which ones you actually want to solve.

Or think about it as which skills you have and which you want to use – then consider those in the context of those challenges.

This will help you picture yourself in a role and how much you’ll enjoy or thrive in it.

If you’re interested in learning more about this, Sarah runs a workshop series on how to Nail Your L&D Niche.

2. Realise that all skills are transferable to L&D

“Pretty much every skill is transferable, that’s the beauty of learning and development… There is not one skill that is specific and owned by it.

“L&D is an amalgamation of all these transferable skills that come together and help people grow in their careers and companies and reach those goals.” – Sarah Cannistra, The Overnight Trainer.

You might not have built experience in an L&D role, but you’ll be able to bring fresh eyes and different experiences to people’s challenges.

“I think of a career as more of a scavenger hunt than a race or an attempt to climb a ladder. No bit of energy or anything you learn in any job is wasted.” – Lauren Scholtz, L&D Manager, intelliHR.

Lauren gave the great example that, having been a cartoon character in the past, she now uses those skills of energising people and getting them to engage without necessarily using words, but through physical presence, enthusiasm, and even a bit of silliness.

So much of L&D is getting people to follow you on a journey or invest in what you’re doing, and there are skills from so many other professions that enable you to do that.

3. You don’t need to be in L&D to test things out

Lauren shared a great personal example of how she spent a lunch break building a one-pager for new recruiters to give them much-needed context.

This was before she was officially in an L&D role and found that the thing she was producing for her own enjoyment was useful to others.

“I could look at this and say, I did this in an hour and a half, with very limited training and zero resources… this is a low-investment thing that I tried out for myself and had a win. Imagine what I could do if I had the full time and energy.” – Lauren Scholtz, L&D Manager, intelliHR.

Taking the initiative in this way means you’re now showing people what you can do, rather than just telling them too.

4. Treat your LinkedIn profile like a landing page

“Use a picture where people can see who you are. A banner that’s not the blank ‘fill in an image here’. Your headline’s niche-aligned: What is it that you do? How do you do it? Where do you want to do it?

“And it’s optimised so that people can find you. Build an about section that actually talks about you and dives into your why, let people behind the curtain a little more.” – Sarah Cannistra, The Overnight Trainer.

5. Act as a facilitator to showcase L&D’s value and get buy-in faster

If we want people to buy-in, we need to cut the time to value and show them what we can bring to the table through L&D.

Lauren gave a great example of doing that internally by simply connecting the right people to the right resources. It’s your low-hanging fruit, so use it!

“Sometimes that fruit is already on the ground, just pick it up! Our customer success team meets every two weeks to talk about all the new features that have come out and how they work. They have a virtual meeting and record it.

“Literally, all I did was take that meeting, put the recording so I automated it every two weeks, and it’ll pop up in a Slack channel for our developers. It lets them know what real people are saying about your product, this is how it works, and the questions they have.

“And I watched that Slack channel light up with engineers saying, oh it’s supposed to work this way, or this is a bug we’ll fix it. And all I had to do was set up an automation that would share a link in a different channel.” – Lauren Scholtz, L&D Manager, intelliHR.

6. The 3 L’s for tapping into your network

How do you want to leverage your network?

How do you want to learn from your network?

And how do you want to lean on your network?

Establishing these three things and being intentional about the people you then bring into your network enables you to create more valuable connections. Which is especially useful if you’re a first-time or solo L&D professional…

For all things LinkedIn, networks and personal brands, you can check out the What to Post on LinkedIn to Land Your Dream L&D Role (Without the Overwhelm)! course over at The Overnight