English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a word to describe the ability to be able to complete tasks without necessarily needing instructions, i.e. finding it out yourself.

It's for a personal profile in a CV.

share|improve this question
Which kind of tasks? Surely it differs from a task order to gathering and classifying some information or suggesting a solution in the management process and solving it without consultant. I think it depends on the task. Could you provide more contexts and specify the kind of task? – Persian Cat Feb 16 '13 at 23:50
This question is ironic, is it not? If you think that you're sufficiently resourceful and self-sufficient to "complete tasks without necessarily needing instructions, i.e., finding it out yourself", then you wouldn't be asking this question; rather, you'd have already translated from your native language. If you're a native speaker of English, then to make the claim implicit in the question would be lying. – user21497 Feb 17 '13 at 0:46
Do you mean you are good at figuring out the solutions to problems on your own, or that you finish jobs assigned to you without having to be nagged? – tchrist Feb 17 '13 at 2:17
@Bill: Except this could be considered a form of research, I suppose. – J.R. Feb 17 '13 at 10:03
@J.R.: Yes, & as a technical editor, that's exactly what I do when I don't understand a word, a usage, an idea, or a technical process. I go to the Internet & research it. When I started editing technical writing, though, I used to ask my clients to explain things: I wasn't resourceful enough to find the information on my own. Now, I ask only if I can't find the information in other technical documents. I'd rather not ask; I'd rather surprise my client, & I often do. Computer programs do data mining, why then, oh why, can't I? – user21497 Feb 17 '13 at 10:21

I often see self-motivated or self-directed used on CVs I receive.

share|improve this answer

self-starter Informal. a person who begins work or undertakes a project on his or her own initiative, without needing to be told or encouraged to do so.

Although it say "informal" there, I see no reason not to use it in your CV.

share|improve this answer
I'd agree, while it's informal it is common as business-speak, so it's a reasonable informality for a CV or job application. – Jon Hanna Feb 17 '13 at 0:09

I don't think that a single word incorporates both the "not needing directions" aspect of your description (which FumbleFingers addresses with self-starter) and the "solving an issue" aspect. If you want to cover both, you might try a phrase such as "creative, independent problem-solver."

share|improve this answer
I do think independent is the word the OP is looking for. – Mr Lister Feb 17 '13 at 9:22

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.