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Two important personal qualities employers look for are being willing to learn something new and being fast at learning it, according to the career advice website Quintessential Careers. Employers want to know especially how long it will take you to master new skills. How you word these qualities on your resume can have an impact on whether an employer calls you in for an interview.
When It Is Important
If you are trying to change careers or have been out of the workforce for a long time, being willing to learn new skills is important to getting a job. You should be able to prove in your cover letter and during your interview that you have taken the initiative to learn new skills during your time away from work.
Why It Is Important
Employers have to spend money training you. They spend money sending you to training sessions and having a person oversee your training who otherwise would be doing his regular job. They also have to invest time and energy in seeing that you fully understand your job and how to do it. If you convey the impression that you take too long to learn a new skill, the employer may feel you are not the best person for the position.
Where It Is Important
Include the ability to learn new skills quickly in your summary of key skills at the top of your resume. You might also include it as a skill category in a functional or combination functional-chronological resume. If you use it as a skill category, the jobs you list in this section should clearly demonstrate how quickly you learn new skills. In a chronological resume, list the skill under the particular job to which it pertains. Include information about how you used this skill beneath the jobs you list. For example, you might write, “Was the first in my training group to be promoted to manager after six months as a customer service representative. Completed training successfully in record time for the company.”
How To Word It
Quintessential Careers suggests wording similar to the following to convey your ability to learn quickly and your willingness to learn: “Enthusiastic, knowledge-hungry learner, eager to meet challenges and quickly assimilate new concepts.” The phrases “fast learner” and “quick to learn” are overused in resumes. Kick your wording up a notch, and incorporate some upbeat phrasing to interest the employer.
Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.