4 Ways To Highlight Self-Taught Skills On Your Resume

Master the art of highlighting self-taught skills on your resume.
Reviewed by:
August 22, 2023
0 min read time
Ayesha Noor
Content Marketer | CopyWriter

Looking back at the pandemic lockdowns, many of us stayed home taking up hobbies and acquiring new self-taught skills to make use of our time more productively. Whether the motivation to learn at home was a conscious decision or not, some self-taught skills have a measurable worth when it comes to building a resume.

What are Self-Taught Skills?

Self-taught skills refer to abilities and knowledge that individuals acquire on their own initiative and without formal instruction or structured education. These skills are typically developed through personal exploration, practice, and learning from various resources such as books, online tutorials, videos, experimentation, and practical experience. Self-taught skills can be diverse and cover a wide range of subjects, from technical and creative areas to personal development and life skills.

Recruiters and employers recognize and value candidates who have an abundance of self-taught skills in anyone applying for a new job, shifting to a different career, or looking to improve their employability. And the good news is that it’s never too late to learn new skills or to change the course of your career. 


How To Highlight Self-Taught Skills On Your Resume?

With this in mind, it is worth taking the time to improve your resume if you want to stand out and secure your perfect role. Whether upskilling for a new position, or online training at home, here are four reasons why adding self-taught skills to your resume can help.

1. Upskill for a new role

Whether you’re upskilling on the job or in your own time, skill acquisition can make a business more agile and efficient in terms of talent acquisition or job retention. In recent years, there has been an upward trend for people giving up their jobs and redirecting their careers. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics job leavers reached an average of almost 4 million each month in 2021 with people looking at new careers to provide more fulfilment from their jobs.

Anyone looking for a career move or retraining might well be doing this at home and remotely via digital programs. There are more online classes and home-learning opportunities than ever before in any field. For instance, for people interested in teaching but without the time to do anything about it before, online teaching courses allow prospective learners to gain the qualifications they need to become a teacher in their own time. 

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2. Transfer talents from home to work

New and standout skills will often rank you higher in an active job market and with resume trends constantly changing, adding unique talents to your resume can elevate it instantly in a competitive market. From learning a new instrument to a new-found interest in sport, self-taught skills are transferable and can be highlighted as ‘skill currency’ on anyone’s resume. Recruiters can translate such successful attributes into a role they are keen to fill.

HR teams and people interviewing candidates can also learn more about a potential applicant’s personality from the skills they have developed away from work, such as their commitment to be taught or a willingness to try something outside their comfort zone.

There is practically no limit to the professional skills everyone can learn at home. From embarking on a coding career to graphic design and advanced leadership qualities, it’s all readily available. The most important decision will be choosing which direction to take professionally with so many possibilities. 

When hiring professionals look through a resume, they recognize the value in a multitude of home-learning achievements from photography and musical instruments to golf and gardening. Today’s employers are also interested in a candidates’ hard and soft skills, so if you are able to showcase that you have a curiosity for learning or a penchant for storytelling, you might already have the edge over another applicant.

From a home or college environment to the workplace, consider how the following home-based hobbies and acquired skills can help you add value to your resume?:

  • Editing images and digital photography: The world outside is a beautiful place, but some of us like to appreciate it from indoors. One way to enjoy the best of both is to learn how to develop photography skills outside and then improve your editing talent at home. Editing software like Adobe Photoshop proves someone’s interest and aptitude for technology, and these are great skills to highlight on a resume and replicate in a new job.
  • Learning a musical instrument: Learning an instrument is common on people’s lists of skills they wish they had, so why not make it happen on your own and add a new talent to your resume. From picking up common instruments like the guitar, keyboard or violin to something a little less ordinary, like the ocarina or the theremin, there's an instrument for everyone. Experts at music workshop, The Guitar Social, explain, “We’ve taught thousands of beginners across the city and taken them from quivering wrecks to knowledgeable and confident players and performers”. Learning an instrument takes confidence, dedication and patience; three valuable workplace skills. 
  • Taking up sport: Keen tennis players or new golfers might agree that while joining a tennis club or visiting an attractive golf course is great exercise and sociable, taking up a difficult sport as an adult can be quite challenging, as golf expert and advocate of simulation practice systems, Steven Joy, adds, “Golf is widely considered to be one of the most difficult sports in the world but you can practise it at home with the right equipment.” Employers are impressed by people who engage in sport, rise to a challenge and have the drive to keep striving for perfection. 
  • Gardening is eco-friendly and on-trend: With the rising costs of living and the impact of climate change on the environment, learning to grow produce and plants at home may well become the norm. Nurturing and growing plant life doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but these attributes prove to a potential employer that you have integrity and principles. But, there are plenty of ways to improve gardening skills. Websites offer their own courses and advice, while there are tutorials and helpful hints and tips across social media. There is also plenty of gardening literature that can help a budding horticulturist bloom.
  • Writing and being more creative: Similar to learning a musical instrument, many people feel as though they have a good book in them somewhere. But, it can be hard to unleash all of that creativity (a valuable soft skill) when they’re stuck on that first sentence. Writing is a skill that can be nurtured and developed from a sofa. There are online courses designed, while people can join a writing group or community through social media. 

3. Stand out from other applicants

If someone is upskilling at home at the weekend to prepare for a new job or learning something meaningful in their spare time, they can and should stand out among other candidates for all the right reasons. Alternative and positive skills should be identified by talent seekers because when it comes to business, impressive home-learners speak volumes about that individual’s work ethic.

While becoming more accustomed to working from home or having a flexible work-life approach, people’s time remains something to value and bonus marks should be afforded if their hours are spent productively. Whatever our age, and having had a taste for home-learning, some of us continue to seek out a new skill to master at home. 

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4. Merge industry with education

Companies and higher education establishments are more onboard than ever with a proactive approach to upskilling at home. They actively encourage young graduates, and potential candidates to adopt a more flexible manner to learning and home-learning techniques by offering flexible and online platforms to fit in with people’s modern lives. Taking a proactive approach is key for employers and recruiters who are keen to help future generations better their chances of entering the workplace and creating brighter futures.

Whether you’re hoping to train for something new as an intern, develop new transferable skills or upskill for a shift in career, there are many ways to introduce yourself to an unfamiliar skill or activity at home before applying for a new role or updating your resume. HR professionals will draw out what an applicant has learnt outside the parameters of their office environment as well as at a particular job.

Online courses taken at home or newly acquired skills are a good developmental move on your career path. If you’re updating or creating a resume today for that dream job, don’t be shy to show off the talents you have. Whether it’s a conventional one or a video resume, highlighting your self-taught skills will add value to the school and/or college qualifications and standard skillset expected. For that winning job application, ensure your unique talents, alternative home-learnt skills and hobbies make an appearance on your resume. 

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