I took on the bookkeeping position at my former job, just prior to the firing of the bookkeeper. I knew nothing about the bookkeeping software and had to teach myself the A/R, A/P, payroll and tax payment functions in QuickBooks immediately to stay current. In my other position, I had to teach myself a graphics program to replace one that was becoming non-functional. How do I explain this "self-teaching" on my resume?

  • 1
    This question is closely related; the answers may lead to ideas for you. Showing Coursera Certificates on a CV/Resume
    – jcmeloni
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 12:04
  • Self-taught software can not be explained. It can only be experienced when the self-taught software plugs you into the Matrix for use as a battery. Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 6:54

5 Answers 5


The term, as far as I know is - self learning.

In your cover letter, or in the personal summary, you can post this as a skill - you have a couple of very good examples on this.

Self learner - learned the main functions of QuickBooks just prior to the bookkeeper leaving company X. In another job, learnt the XXX graphics program. I can learn new software by myself.

  • @Downvoter - care to comment?
    – Oded
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 8:43

I've never seen this sort of detail listed explicitly; software skills are typically listed in a section on their own, oftentimes categorized by experience ("Expert in A, B, C, Proficient in D, E, F, Familiar with G and H"). I would simply list the software in the appropriate section, and if someone asks how you learned to use the software I would provide the "self learning" answer suggested by Oded.

  • Glad to see you here.
    – Nobody
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 4:37

Have a section on your resume for formal education and applicable skills gained via them.

Next, have a smaller section (just a sentence or two, no fancy formatting or anything) called "Experience With and Knowledge Of:"

and list them there.

In this competitive market, you need to communicate everything you know and they will appreciate it.


Autodidact is a fancy way to describe a "self-learner". Here is an example of how to use it in a sentence:

I am an autodidact and therefore automatically procure the knowledge to update and improve my skill set. This means that company investment in my skill set is never a necessity, although if fore-coming it's always appreciated.

I have demonstrated this in previous roles where I.... blah blah Quickbooks.... blah blah Graphics package.

If applying for a job in the UK, less-complex language that's part of an extended vocabulary can still possess some allure. Take into account your culture when deciding what sort of vocabulary to use. This extended vocabulary is a more interesting and less-dull way of saying you're a self-learner.

  • Hi Quibblesome, welcome to The Workplace SE. Because of the nature of our topic, we expect that answers provide an explanation of why or how, and that the answers also be backed up either with references or with experiences that happened to you personally. Please edit your post as per the guidelines in the faq and How to Answer, or remove this post. If you need further help, you can always ask in The Workplace Chat. Good luck, and welcome to our site! :)
    – jmort253
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 2:28
  • 1
    That's a fair point, not everyone is going to know the term. However I find often when applying in the UK at least complex language still possesses allure. It's probably because we all love Stephen Fry. In the US perhaps not. Is it seen as insulting to use an expanded vocabulary that others might not be acquainted with in the US? "Self-learning" just seems to be such a terribly dull way to put it. Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 22:03
  • 1
    Is it seen as insulting in the US? I suspect that would depend from person to person in the US, and I don't believe I would personally be offended. However, I've seen people say things like "He thinks pretty highly of himself" or use some other derogatory remark in response to people using what others might consider "big" words. I don't think my workplace would respond in that manner, but places with "brogrammers" or institutions with the frat-boy/sorority-girl mentality I could see possibly responding in a negative manner. :)
    – jmort253
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 22:12
  • 1
    BTW, I paraphrased your last comment in the last paragraph in your post. Feel free to put in your own words if you wish. Thanks again for helping to fill our site with awesome content! :)
    – jmort253
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 22:17
  • 1
    Ah that's sweet. I think it adds nicely to the post. Thanks for the edit and the conversation here. Highly appreciated :) Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 23:38

If the people you're interviewing know QuickBooks (for instance) then you need to drop a hint about functionality you used that is only in QuickBooks. That way they know you know it. If not, all you can say is 'QuickBooks', since it's not of much interest anyway. If you spent most of your time Invoicing, the emphasis should be on the Invoicing process, not on what software you used. They'll be more interested in knowing whether you can keep track of business details than they are as to what program you did it with.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .