How I Got a Job as a Corporate Trainer

by | Dec 12, 2023

Every now and then, it helps to hear the stories of teachers who have transitioned out of education and successfully moved into the corporate world. How does a teacher become a corporate trainer, though? Where does one start?

I asked Leslie Claiborne for insight. I worked with Leslie for a number of years as a consultant. Prior to my knowing her, though, Leslie transitioned out of the classroom and worked with several other companies as a trainer. I specifically asked her to tell us more about her time training on Microsoft products since that seemed like an area that teachers might be interested in but be unsure how to make that leap. Here is our interview:

What made you decide to leave the classroom and go into the corporate world?

Leslie: My husband was climbing the corporate ladder and that meant moving every two to three years.  With each move, I had to get certified in the new state we moved to.  While waiting on my certification in one of the states I just started to look around for other opportunities outside of the classroom that would allow me to still stay connected to education and use the skills I had developed as a teacher.  It helped that I had a husband in Human Resources that helped me recognize my transferable skills. My first job outside of the classroom was as an Educational Consultant.  It wasn’t until we moved to Iowa that I went to work with the MS training company.  It was actually my third company after leaving the classroom.

How did you get a job training on Microsoft products? What did you have to do to become a corporate trainer for them?

Leslie: I didn’t actually work for Microsoft, I worked for a Microsoft-certified training company (Productivity Point Inc.) in Cedar Rapids, IA.  We had just moved to Iowa and I was working as a consultant with Computer Curriculum Corporation and saw an ad for the Microsoft trainer position.  I wanted to stay at home more, so I applied.  When I interviewed I only had a small understanding of the MS Office products.  I had a basic understanding of a couple of their products and I was familiar with LAN and WAN setups but not to the depth I would eventually need for my role.

They assured me that the programs were something I could learn and what they wanted was my teaching skill set. In order to train on the MS products, we were required to go through Microsoft’s online training (it was all video back then) and complete certification requirements. They even provided certificates.  I was trained on all the Office products and worked directly with businesses wanting to implement them – law firms mostly, however, John Deere was one of our biggest clients for their rollout of Outlook email.

What was the most difficult thing about the transition from the classroom to the corporate world?

Leslie: The most difficult thing was getting out of the Teacher/Classroom mindset and developing a business mindset and understanding that business focus.

Do you have any advice for teachers considering moving into corporate training roles?

Try to learn about the company and responsibilities you will have with the position being applied for.  Ask how your skill set fits with those responsibilities and what more may need to be learned.  Is there some learning I can do during my job search to enhance my skill set and make me a more viable candidate for the position?


For more in, check out these resources:

Do you need help with knowing how to transfer your soft skills and increase your hard skills for the corporate world while still in education? Sign up now for my On the Hunt course and learn how you can grow and communicate your skills to recruiters. You will also learn how to format a great resume, network, stand out on LinkedIn, and prepare for interviews.

Want to add Microsoft Certification to your resume? Check out the Microsoft Credentials page and get started today! (You probably already use some of the MS tools. Why not get certified and show that off to recruiters?)

Do you know you want to work as a corporate trainer but want to make sure you stand out? Consider the Association for Talent Development training and facilitation certificate. (Although this does have a cost to it, the cost is significantly lower than another degree. I am an advocate of college degrees, but getting another degree is not necessary for success in the corporate world. That’s a post for another time!) 




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