Should you mention self-study on the resume?

What do you think? Is self-study worthy of mentioning on the resume, or should you stick to traditionally achieved certificates?

Because resume strategy has many opinions as it is driven by a subjective point of view, you'll likely find a few people who say that self-study is not valuable. (I am willing to bet that these folks lack the self-discipline required to conduct self study, or are in a field for which they have no passion!)

Of course self-study merits inclusion! It takes a great deal of passion for and commitment to a field of work to conduct a course of study, fueled entirely through interest and dedication.

Where does this belong on the resume? Right there in the Education or Professional Development section, of course!

I have had clients whose self-study led to remarkable on-the-job improvements. One in particular stands out. He was a student of geography with an intense interest in technology. After landing a summer job in a tech role with a large corporation, he continued working part-time when he returned to his formal studies in the fall. A permanent opening came up, and even though he was up against full time employees, because of a few improvements he had brought to the corporation (and armed with a New Leaf resume that defined his value), he landed that full-time opportunity.

He continues his studies part-time (he was in the second half of his last year), but I suspect this young man will not work in geography - he is now well on his way to an excellent career in technology. Last I heard he had purchased a home.

Here's a hint: don't just list the self-study, but show how it has impacted your contribution at work! That's key to making the most of this little used gem!

- on a mission to rescue our world from mediocre resumes, Stephanie