Regardless of your field or desired professional position, one of your most valued skills as a prospective employee is your aptitude to learn. Here are several ways to use your résumé to impress potential employers by underscoring your learning skills.
The Ability to Learn & Your Résumé
You might think of your résumé simply as a summary of your formal education and work experience. While it certainly performs that important function, it also gives you the chance to highlight more intangible skill sets, known as soft skills.
These include qualities such as your:
- Ability to communicate with others in verbal and nonverbal ways
- Adaptability in difficult or evolving situations
- Talent for resolving conflicts with coworkers
In essence, soft skills don't provide you with direct knowledge or the abilities needed to do your job. Medical coding expertise or the competence necessary to safely drive heavy machinery are examples of hard skills that allow you to carry out your basic job functions. By contrast, soft skills are needed to function smoothly in the workplace as a cooperative employee, congenial coworker, or skilled problem-solver. Your ability to learn is considered a soft skill, one that enables you to keep your hard skills current while acquiring additional soft skills, such as conflict resolution.
Employees with a proven learning ability are a valuable asset to a company and may even achieve greater career advancement based upon their learning skills. You can use each main section of the standard résumé to document your ability to learn.
Your work history should include more than just position titles, dates, and company names. Be sure to feature skills you learned on the job and give concrete examples of how you used those skills to achieve business goals.
For each position you list in the ''Professional Experience'' section of your résumé, try to think of at least one or two new skills you learned and implemented. For example, you might note that you learned how to build an inventory control database, which prevented duplicate purchases, thus saving your employer an estimated $2 million. By citing this accomplishment, you highlight your hard skills—database creation and management—while simultaneously showing off your most prized soft skill: your ability to learn. Training other employees in a new procedure would be an important professional experience to include, since it demonstrates both your ability to learn and your teaching skills.
Naturally, the ''Education'' section of your résumé should showcase your learning ability. Certainly, it's important to document any diplomas and degrees you earned, along with any scholarships you might have won as evidence of academic excellence.
Your résumé should also chronicle your continuing education. Independent coursework you took at a community college, an employee training program, or professional certification classes all exhibit your desire to increase your knowledge as well as your ability to learn.
Your personal accomplishments can vary, demonstrating your ability to learn both in and out of the classroom. For instance, you might have taught yourself to speak Spanish and then passed the PRAXIS Spanish Exam to prove your proficiency. Your Spanish language fluency can not only be a useful hard skill in the workplace but also demonstrate your ability to master a complex subject.
List any volunteer experiences under ''Personal Accomplishments,'' especially if they include new skills you learned while supporting a nonprofit organization. For example, you might have learned how to create an email marketing campaign to reach potential donors or how to socialize foster pets. Although neither of these may be directly related to the job you're applying for, they both demonstrate your ability to learn new skills, ones that can advance the goals of an organization.
How to Enhance Your Ability to Learn
Using your résumé to prove that you're able to learn new skills and master complex information will show potential employers some of your greatest strengths as a job candidate.
To continue developing your learning abilities, take advantage of Study.com's online learning library. With nearly 4,500 courses and over 70,000 lessons, you're sure to find a foundation for lifelong learning, conveniently packaged with dynamic videos and interactive exercises—all at your fingertips, 24 hours a day.