Is it ok to put the courses that I have self-studied in my resume? what should be the wording?

I'm going to compose a CV as a network engineer I need to know if it's OK to have self-studied courses in resume and what should be the wording like?

For example, I have studied Cisco CCDA course by myself, I mean that I have attended no class, just got some free online training like video training or stuff like that, studied books on that topic, and spend doing lab and I'm sure that I have covered almost every aspect about that and I'm fully comfortable with that, I mean I could do interview on that and answer related questions.

  • 5
    Did you get the cert? If so, the cert goes on your resume. If not, then nothing does. – Wesley Long May 23 '14 at 16:27
  • Self-study of Cisco materials doesn't mean a thing. Certs are tangible and verifiable. – Vietnhi Phuvan May 23 '14 at 16:40
  • You could put down as a skill... just be ready to answer questions about it. – d'alar'cop May 23 '14 at 16:45
  • You should only put information that will help you get the job. You putting a "self-studied" course its unlikely to do that. – Donald May 23 '14 at 17:16
  • Related: workplace.stackexchange.com/q/2074/12896 – WAF Jun 24 '14 at 16:00

Is it ok to put the courses that I have self-studied in my resume? what should be the wording?

Sure. Put it somewhere near your other skills, perhaps under a heading of "Self-Taught Skills".

That way, you indicate all these things you have studied on your own, apart from the other more formally-attained knowledge.

However you express it in your resume, make sure you don't write it so that it looks like you have actually attended a training class, certification course, or college course. You don't want to mislead the resume reader - that could lead to outright rejection if discovered. Nobody wants to hire someone who is lying or trying to mislead them.

And of course be ready to answer questions about the courses. An interviewer will likely want to probe the depth of your understanding, since "studied on my own" could mean anything from "skimmed a web page" to "spent 52 weeks in intensive study".


The first thing potential employers want to see on your resume is experience and degree or certifications. If you have those, specific classes taken just take up space, and aren't mentioned.

If you have no formal education and no experience, then you'll need to put on something to catch their interest. In that case it could be worth listing: partial but not yet finished formal education or specific classes you've taken, if they are pertinent to the applied job.

However, you're probably competing against people who do have certifications, degrees, and education. Your cover letter will have to say why you're also worth their interest, and in a more than compelling manner. Because, if you're reduced to listing classes you've taken on your resume, it's still pretty weak.


As others have mentioned, if you have done self study make sure it is labelled as such. Be aware that watching some online videos for a CCNA course don't mean much. Have you downloaded Packet Tracer and experimented with it? How about having a test environment at home where you purchased some old switches and/or routers? If so, say what you did. Further, if you've studied the courses behind getting certain qualifications, back up that knowledge by getting the certification.

Otherwise if you can, focus on doing study through options like Coursera or edX where they have options for some courses which show that you passed their exams in an exam like environment and essentially have more credibility behind them because the experience you gained from them is more quantifiable.

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