Is is appropriate to mention some books I have read on my cv related to self development like : Getting things done, Couple skills, Rewire you brain ...

In North America?

I am afraid this would look like I am bragging which would be unprofessional

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  • Why not create a portfolio website online describing your thoughts on these books and what you have gained? And it is perfectly acceptable to provide a link to your portfolio on your resume, win-win situation! – Masked May 4 '14 at 20:09
  • In a cover letter, you might mention that you pursue professional development through reading (not specific titles), but self-development reading would seem an odd fit for cover letter or cv. – MJ6 May 5 '14 at 23:47
  • Hey Conrad, welcome back to The Workplace. Could you please edit your question to explain more clearly why you think adding these books to your CV is a good choice? Are you applying for jobs related to self-development where this is relevant to the job? Are you just proud of having read them? If you could clarify why you think these should be added, it will get you better answers. Thanks in advance! – jmac May 7 '14 at 2:55

What is it to read a book?

Do you take your time, making notes, looking for the meaning in every sentence, taking any and every message to heart, making it part of your life?

Or do you just pace through it in a few days, forgetting most it a month down the line? Maybe even skip a chapter here and there?

Reading a book isn't quantifiable, nor is there any assumption for the amount of value any given person will take from reading any given book (especially for someone not familiar with the book), nor is showing such value through achievements better than just putting the achievements on your resume in the first place instead.

I wouldn't suggest putting it on your resume.

If you feel differently, you should definitely have a good answer for a question like "How did reading this book change your life?", because that's what it really comes down to (and you should be able to say a fair amount about the book itself as well, along with why you put it on your resume). And you certainly should be including work-related achievements in your answer - "I learnt a lot about this and that, which led me to better understand clients and become the top salesman at [some company]" or something like that. Something which makes them say "Wow, impressive", not "That's nice. Good for you".

  • To be extremely fair, most of this could equally apply to participation-certificate courses (or even some college degrees). – Weckar E. Jan 4 '17 at 8:46

I don't see the advantage of doing it that way. I could see logic in mentioning books that have impacted you in a cover letter so that you show what you've gained from these books so there is a point. Consider this question, "Why does it matter that you've read this book?" from the perspective of the interviewer.

A couple of other points to ponder:

  1. What if the hiring manager doesn't know of the books? Is this spare space you have in a CV that you want to fill? Is this part of what you used in getting a degree or doing some major project in your life?

  2. How prepared are you to be asked about the book? If they asked for what you disliked about the book, would you have an answer? If they asked for your favorite ideas, what would you say? If they asked how you learned of the book, what would you say? In a way, when you put these into a CV or cover letter this becomes something you can be questioned and while you may not immediately have an answer, one could come to you within a minute or two including why you read the book, what value it gave you, how you would summarize the book and what kinds of issues do you experience in reading the book.


No, the only time you mention books or publications is in the context of being a published author, and then probably only if they are relevant to your work. I Have gone through CV's for job seekers before, and this would be a huge red flag and would end up with the CV dropped at the first stage.

And to be a bit blunt, you mention books that to be honest sound like trashy self help books – that is never going to help – just looks desperate.

  • is this only your opinion or you can back it up somehow? – gnat May 5 '14 at 4:00
  • Well 1 I have never seen any CV advice that suggests this. 2 I Have gone through cv's for job seekers before and this would be a huge red flag and would end up with the cv dropped at the first stage. 3 Oh and Decades of experience in professional work – Pepone May 5 '14 at 12:56
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    I edited this a bit to include what you put in the comments. We are ideally looking for explanations that include why and how, as the goal of our site is to teach, not just tell. Hope this helps. – jmort253 May 6 '14 at 5:53

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