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Which of these three terms is the most relevant in a resume?

Should any be avoided?

For clarity, I do understand the irony of pretending to be a self learner posting questions on StackExchange, thank you.

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seems like a post for careers.stackoverflow.com –  camelbrush Apr 12 '13 at 20:48
The resume is just a context, the question is more about obsolescence / common use. –  MonoThreaded Apr 12 '13 at 20:53
Practically, avoid all three in a resume. –  Mitch Apr 12 '13 at 23:03
Self-learner doesn't make much sense because it's always us, ourselves, who do whatever learning gets done. –  onomatomaniak Apr 13 '13 at 17:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

self-taught: I would use this with reference to a specific subject/technology/whatever which I had taught myself: I am proficient at X (BMgc, Unseen University), Y (Dip, University of Krull), and Z (self-taught) or I taught myself Z or I am a self-taught expert at Z.

self-learner: I probably not use this word, but if I did, I'd use it to describe a general temperament, rather than a specific piece of self-teaching: I am a self-learner. (It would be better, probably, to say that you were a good learner, and self-motivated (or, in the language of résumés, a self-starter).)

autodidact: I like this word, but, depending on what you're applying for, it might be too hifalutin to go on a CV.

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I would recommend using 'self-taught' or 'autodidact' over 'self-learner'. Have a look at this ngram:enter image description here


Hence literary sources suggests that 'self-learner' isn't been used that very often compared to the others.

But in cases where you want to suggest that you have a quality to take initiatives and learn things on your own (like in the future), 'self learner' would fit fine. And for times when you want to suggest that you have already acquired a particular skills or knowledge I think, 'self-taught' would fit better pointing towards those already acquired skills.

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Autodidact should be avoided at all costs. I may be one, but no one understands Greek.

I would prefer self-taught. It's English in origin, gets the idea across, and it's in common use. That's the best of all worlds - you'll be understood.

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