How can I build a tool to include self-study in people's resumes?

Most of us do a lot of self-study either for problem solving or to learn new things. These days a lot of self-study is happening thanks to blogs, discussion forums and even Youtube. So why are we not including these things in a resume? If a person spends good amount of time on learning a new thing on his own is it not worth to include in his/her resume even though it is self-study? At the same time, how can I quantify my self-studied learning ?


I recently added a heading in my resume called personal work, under it I put stuff that I have taught myself, or have just learned over time, but that cannot be placed into an actual work environment.

As far as quantifying it, try not to learn things on sites that don't offer you some sort of proof that you actually did something.

I do a lot of learning on, they have a lot of free courses that are very well done, and can teach you a lot, and once you finish a course they give you a certificate of completion. At least that would give you a tangible proof that you took the course.

Answered 8 years ago

Well done for recognising the importance of self-study, and for having the motivation to pursue it. As someone who loves learning and is eternally curious, personally I’m always reading books and blogs, signing up to courses, meeting with people and doing everything I can to keep learning and keep getting better. I’m constantly engaged in self-study, whether it’s making sure that I stay up to speed in the fast-moving digital marketing industry, studying the process of personal development and how each of us can get better, or learning a new language or even a musical instrument.

This will definitely give you an edge compared to others who don’t share that curiosity and are rather passive when it comes to learning, letting their employers direct their training and not pursuing anything additional on their own initiative.

However, I would actually say that this kind of self-study should be taken for granted. Of course you should stay on top of your field, of course you should take responsibility for your own training and development. I would even argue that this is critical for you to thrive in today’s economy and work environment.

If your self-study includes hard skills, maybe a certification or at least a diploma or certificate, then this becomes easily quantifiable and should absolutely be included on your CV. Often, however, your self-study will have an impact rather on your soft skills, and will show up either in the interview for a new job or in the office once you’re in the the role.

I would ask yourself WHY you're undertaking the self-study in the first place - if it's just for brownie points on your resume, then you may be missing the point.

Give me a call if you’d like to discuss the specifics of your situation!

Answered 8 years ago

This is a very relevant question, especially in today's learning environment where taking courses online is fairly common. The general problem is YouTube, forums, etc. are kind of like the wild west. Yes, there is great content out there and you can learn a ton. But there's no vetting process to upload videos or post content. There are also no standards that any of this content has to meet to be distributed to the masses. I think that's why the traditional education systems are still viewed as the most widely accepted methods of learning and demonstrating knowledge.

That being said, there are many websites that offer free, legitimate courses such as Coursera and MIT OpenCourseWare. These would be more acceptable to put on a resume, as long as you don't try to say "I went to MIT" or you took classes at MIT when in reality you just did a few courses.

I think the best way to quantify your self-study is to put the content or skills on your resume and say something like "Self-taught x subject through y number of hours". Even more powerful would be to include projects or successes you've had as a result of your self-study. Anybody can say they taught themselves something, but a proven track record can speak volumes.

I hope this helps. My background includes customizing resumes, successful interviewing and hiring, and proven strategies to increase your income. If you want to chat more about this, feel free to schedule a call with me and we'll go into more specifics on how to present these details in your resume.

Answered 8 years ago

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Answered 8 years ago

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