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How to Put Self-taught Skills on Your Resume — Like a Pro!

How to Put Self-taught Skills on Your Resume — Like a Pro!

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On a resume, listing relevant self-taught skills is good because it shows the recruiter you are willing to learn. 

It also paints you as someone independent with discipline and the ability to self-manage.

All of which are desirable traits for any company and especially for leadership positions. 

If you are switching fields and do not have much relevant work experience, it demonstrates your ability to adapt and excel at various things.

You may even include self-taught skills that are not as relevant to the job position but would be useful for the company or somehow contribute to the industry.

Just like a one-month job, you may not have gained in-depth experience, but if it is relevant, it is good to include it regardless. 

The important thing to keep in mind is that you stay true to your proficiency in that skill. 

Do not exaggerate or claim to be better than you are because if you are later asked to prove your abilities, it might backfire.

If you think that your proficiency is not impressive enough, it’s okay to leave it out. 

So, keeping that in mind, it is a good idea to mention self-taught skills on a resume. 

Now, let’s discuss where they should go.


Where to put self-taught skills on a resume?

Self-taught skills can be placed in the ‘Education’ section. They can also be placed in the ‘Skills’ section if you would like to just list them. Put them in the ‘Work Experience’ section if you want to give details of professional goals achieved using these skills.


Regardless of where you decide to add your self-taught skills, try not to just list them, show what you accomplished.

Recruiters want to know what you’ve done with these self-taught skills.

Adding these details will also demonstrate that not only are you passionate enough about something to teach yourself, you are also able to apply what you’ve learned.

So, here are the best ways to add self-taught skills to show you’ve made good use of them.


How to put self-taught skills on a resume

Decide which skills are the most relevant by self-assessing your proficiency level and only add those. Include evidence of your capabilities to use these self-taught skills. Also, show that teaching yourself a skill resulted in a positive impact on a personal or professional project.


1. Only list the most relevant and impressive self-taught skills

There are many skills that we pick up on our own throughout our personal, professional, or academic experiences. 

However, you may only be a beginner at one but an expert at another.

If both are required for the job, add the one you have more expertise in.

Instead of crowding your resume by listing any skill you can think of, put the ones you are proficient enough in to be confident about.

Also, make sure to tailor your resume to a job description by only adding self-taught skills correlating to it. 

If you doubt that a hiring official will think your skill is transferrable or beneficial, there is no point in adding it.

If you want to mention a less applicable skill that you taught yourself and are proud of, save it for your cover letter or the interview.


Sample of self-taught skills on a resume



Self-taught Photographer

Trenton, New Jersey

  • Learned to use DSLR and film cameras to capture landscape scenery and portraits.


Self-taught Photo Editing

Trenton, New Jersey

  • Mastered Adobe Photoshop
  • Advanced in Adobe Illustrator


2. Include evidence that shows your proficiency in a self-taught skill

Recruiters have every reason to doubt whether you are being honest about your abilities if you don’t have official certification for your self-taught skill.

Many times, people lie on their resumes with such things, and then they are incompetent when tasked with something related.

To avoid any uncertainty, provide evidence.

Mention undertaking any independent projects, freelance work, volunteer experience, competition entries, or anything likewise that proves you live up to your claim. 

It will be even more appreciated if those experiences are related to the job position.


Sample of self-taught skills on a resume


Work Experience

Self-taught Artist

Freelance | Chicago, Illinois | Dec 2020 – Present

  • Sold 15 paintings priced at $2500 of hyper-realism on mixed media.
  • Won local art exhibition by creating mixed media collages using wax paint.



Self-taught Developer

Independent Project | Seattle University, Washington State | March 2021

  • Developed an application that helps university students track their coursework.


3. Prove that teaching yourself this self-taught skill was beneficial

The main thing that recruiters want to know when looking at your resume is if you will make a good contribution to their company. 

Give them your reason for listing a self-taught skill on your resume.

Demonstrate how a previous employer or your personal projects benefited and what they gained from your abilities. 

Explain that it is useful for them to have a candidate with a self-taught skill like yours. 


Sample of self-taught skills on a resume


Work Experience

Self-taught Copywriter

ABC Inc. | Portland, Oregon | August 2020 – Present

  • Developed creative content for ABC Inc.’s social media that rose engagement by 85%.
  • Ensured that all copy deadlines were met for assigned projects in all departments.


There are some more tips to take note of when putting self-taught skills on a resume.

Here they are!


Tips for listing self-taught skills on a resume


Market self-teaching as a love of learning and personal growth

Sell these self-taught skills as something desirable and impressive. 

Make these skills reflect the fact that you can take initiative and can show versatility to improve yourself.


If you’ve reached expert levels, use ‘mastered’ instead of ‘self-taught’

If you’re at the highest proficiency, make your capability stand out by using words such as ‘mastered.’ 

Sometimes, recruiters might think being self-taught means that you do not have enough theoretical or practical knowledge to apply that skill in the workplace.

‘Mastered’ sounds better and removes the stigma around the word ‘self-taught.’


When using the phrase ‘self-taught’ specify curriculum and outcomes

If you choose to use ‘self-taught, add details and accomplishments that support your claims and demonstrate the benefits of your competency.