Woman working on a computer in an office.

One of the best ways to pickup new skills and knowledge is on the job. However, the workplace isn’t likely the only place you learn new things. You may have a passion you pursue outside of work which rewards you with valuable skills. Or perhaps you decided to sign up for an online course. Self taught skills are no less valuable than those learned on the job, as long as you can back them up. If these self taught skills align with a job you want, it’s smart to include them on your resume. We’ll help you integrate them into your resume in a natural way. We’ll also discuss how to talk about about them during the hiring process.

Which to Include

Before you can begin adding these skills to your resume, you have to first decide if they are worth adding. To include them on your resume, you have to be skilled enough to demonstrate proficiency. Thinking of a hypothetical situation is a good litmus test to decide if they should be included. Imagine you are in an job interview, and the interviewer notices that skill on your resume and asks you to elaborate on it. Would you be nervous about explaining it? Or would you confidently explain how you learned about it and what you know? If you’re not sure how you’d answer, it’s better to leave it off. If you feel strongly about your ability to discuss it in the interview, include it. So now that you know what skills to include, the next step is actually integrating them into your resume.

The easiest ones to add to your resume are those you actually have experience utilizing. For example, if you began your own blog and learned how to use WordPress and manage a blog on your own, you can explain that (as long as it is relevant to the job). You can add a short section that explains your role and how you utilized that skill. Break down what you did and your responsibilities. This shows that you not only have a skill, but that you utilized it. If you can showcase these self taught skills, they are a great addition on a resume.

Explaining Self Taught Skills

On the other hand, if you simply taught yourself and have yet to apply any of those skills in a professional setting, you can still include them. Most resumes have skills sections, and this is a great place to place them. You don’t have to break down your experience, you can simply add them and show that you have some background. This isn’t as powerful as a full explanation, but it shows that you do possess those skills. There is also no need to indicate that they are self taught. The time will come to explain, but that will be later in the process.

As stated previously, just make sure you only include skills that you can back up. If you are brought in for an interview you may have to discuss them, and if you are hired, you will have to put those skills to work. When they are discussed in the interview, you don’t have to be shy that they are self taught. Talk about what inspired you to pursue the knowledge or skills, and when you’ve utilized them. This illustrates that you are a continuous learner, and should score you some extra points with the interviewer.

That’s all the advice we have on self taught skills! They shouldn’t be discounted and definitely have a place on your resume if you are skilled enough. They may even give you an advantage in a job interview!