Learning how to say fast learner on your resume or finding an appropriate synonym to emphasize that you learn quickly is essential in making a job change or starting a new career. Candidates often ask us, “What is another word for fast learner that I can use on my resume?” so we asked leading career counselors, resume writers, HR professionals, CEOs, and career coaches for their advice.
The overwhelming response was that ‘quick learner’ or ‘fast learner,’ among the essential soft skills, doesn’t belong anywhere on your resume and that the approaches below are much better options. In fact, these tips can also help you improve your use of other common skill keywords on your resume, such as hard worker, team player, good listener, communication skills, great leader, proactive self-starter, strategic thinker, strong work ethic, and good time management.
8 Ways to Emphasize Being a Fast Learner on Resume
When it comes to impressing potential employers, highlighting your ability to adapt and learn new skills quickly is crucial. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, being a fast learner is a valuable trait that employers look for in candidates.
Below, we will share eight effective ways to emphasize your fast-learning abilities on your resume, which can help you stand out in a competitive job market. By incorporating these tips into your resume, you can quickly showcase your ability to adapt and excel in any role.
1. Use Quick Learner Synonyms
Adam Rossi, CEO of TotalShield, suggests to MatchBuilt that “quick learner” doesn’t even belong anywhere on a resume and that you should consider another word.
Quick learner synonyms can include the following:
- able to quickly grasp new concepts
This is because it is way too subjective – what defines “quick,” anyway? A more effective adjective to describe yourself would be “flexible” or “adaptable,” as they speak more readily to being able to think on your feet and learn as you go.
Further, Christen Costa, CEO of Gadget Review, believes you should emphasize challenges that you’ve overcome instead of saying you’re a fast learner.
Instead of writing “quick learner” on your resume, show certain obstacles and challenges you’ve overcome and projects you’ve undertaken that can act as evidence that you are a quick learner. You can prove you learn quickly without saying so explicitly. The interview process or a cover letter will allow you to prove you are a fast learner by explaining the various skills you’ve adopted throughout your career.
2. Show, Don’t Tell That You Learn Quickly
Senior Operations Manager John Sturtevant, with Let’s Eat, Grandma, an award-winning professional resume writing service that has produced thousands of resumes that stand out for professionals at every career stage, states that it’s best to show how you achieved results quickly.
Here’s the key: show, don’t tell. I can say I’m a quick learner like everybody else does, but if I show examples of when I took on a challenge, adapted, learned quickly, and achieved results, it is much more compelling because it gives proof.
For example, say you include a specific bullet point like this: “Doubled process efficiency and saved $125K within one year of joining the company by optimizing financial reporting and fine-tuning accounting system.” Rather than telling the recruiter that you’re a quick learner, this causes the recruiter to think, “Wow, this person’s a quick learner!
Dawn D. Boyer, Ph.D., the CEO of Boyer Consulting, shares the same sentiment.
Poorly written resumes will say, “I am a quick learner,” indicating the writer can’t describe what they do in their job and can only get information across in subjective language.
The best resume will “Show, not tell” that they are a quick learner. Using objective language and dates, the resume owner can document how they moved up through positions or tasks assigned, with job dates and/or detailed descriptions of their tasking.
Instead of ’saying’ “I am a quick learner,” showcase how you were quickly promoted to a new position because you were a quick learner inside your backward chronology of job history.
09/04 – 12/10, Manager, Company, City, ST
05/03 – 09/04, Supervisor, Company, City, ST
03/03 – 05/03, Entry Level Clerk, Company, City, ST
Then if you can’t control yourself and still need to brag about your quick promotional history, do it in the cover letter, middle (2nd of 3) paragraphs.
3. Use Specific, Relevant Examples on Your Resume
Andrew Makhovskyi, the CEO of Effy.ai, a software company that facilitates the HR process recommends using specific, relevant examples to show how quickly you learn.
One of the most critical things in a good resume is examples. There’s no space to describe everything in detail, but you can show how a specific role requires you to learn things quickly.
For instance, if you advanced to a new position or had to step up and take on more responsibilities, you should mention that. Every experienced recruiter will understand what’s written between the lines.
Also, if you had to change your role or a whole industry completely, make sure that you explain how well you managed this transition. This is another way of saying you are very adaptable and a quick learner.
These are just a few examples you can use. Basically, the idea is to use concrete situations and show your ability to learn quickly without having to say it directly.
4. Tailor Your Fast Learning Capabilities to Your Audience
Shel Horowitz, a leading resume and LinkedIn writer with Accurate Writing, suggested to MatchBuilt that you should tailor the verbiage on your resume to your audience.
If I use a summary–not every resume calls for one–I might include a variation on phrases like “able to learn new skills rapidly and well” or “thrive on new challenges”; the phrase I use will depend on the client’s personality and what kind of audience they are addressing.
Whether or not I use a summary, I might highlight specific quick-learning achievements like “managed transition to the new accounting system and trained 20 co-workers to use it effectively.”
My resumes are always individually tailored to highlight that particular client’s strengths for the kinds of jobs they’re applying to. Also, because I work while you wait (over Zoom or in-person), I can probe deeply and uncover and spotlight the actual accomplishments that the client might not have expressed or even realized.
5. Polish the Education Section of Your Resume
Chris Lewandowski, the President of Princess Dental Staffing, suggests updating the education section of a resume to demonstrate that you learn fast.
Revise your education section (add Dean’s List if applicable) to demonstrate that you are a committed learner. In addition to the degrees, add details of the courses, training, and certifications you are pursuing.
Accordingly, use the soft skills section to exhibit your quick learning abilities. Use the terms such as active listener, attentive learner, resourceful, and receptive to training.
Then, incorporate your ability to quickly learn in the work experience section, which is the key selling point of your application. Include solid examples of how your quick learning abilities helped you thrive in your previous workplace.
Here’s an idea to help you get started:
“I got a promotion from the role of a junior app developer to senior app developer within ten months of joining the team. I made this possible by exceeding client expectations and mastering new tools and applications to help me deliver my duties more effectively.”
6. Maximize the Placement of Quick Learner Synonyms
Sharon Dylan, the Co-Founder and Career Coach at Management Help, remarks that “quick learner” or its synonyms should be grouped in particular sections of your resume.
Put it under your experiences. Most of the time, “quick learner” or its synonym is placed under the skills part of a resume.
However, this is not an easily quantifiable skill. Hence, I would suggest that you place it under experiences but make sure to put a project you successfully led and highlight that it was not something of your expertise.
This will clearly show that you did well and learned fast to lead the project successfully. This also does not undermine the skill as it is not grouped with your other skillsets but instead highlights it as it is shown together with your experiences. With that said, the “quick learner” skill is enhanced more.
Bryan Carter, the Founder & CEO, ResumeBuilderPro, who has been hiring people and helping them get hired, agrees.
I suggest that you include it in your skills area. Your talents area is another opportunity to emphasize your accelerated learning rate. You can link this quality to the majority of your skills. Create a list with bulleted points, or use a combination of bullets and a narrative to add context.
Use keywords to guarantee that your resume passes keyword scanners if potential employers utilize them.
7. Relax, Just Say, Quick Learner
Irene McConnel, MD of Arielle Executive, a branding manager for c-level executives and senior managers, loves how concise and straightforward the phrase ‘quick learner’ is.
The first thing we need to establish is that there’s nothing wrong with using the exact phrase, ‘quick learner.’ It’s a concise and direct way to tell recruiters of your capabilities. You can add this quality to the skills section of the resume, where you talk about your personal attributes.
A great way to tell recruiters you’re a quick learner is to use words or phrases synonymous with it. You can use words like adept or some phrases such as “I grasp new concepts and ideas quickly.”
Another excellent method is to show it through your achievements. For example, talking about an accomplishment or promotion that happened way ahead of schedule.
Alan Edwards, a writer and coach at the Undercover Recruiter, has worked as an agency recruiter (beginning in the mid-1990s), coached MBA students in career services, supported practice leads in hiring talent as a VP in a national technology firm, and built and led a team as a CEO. He recommends sharing your commitment to continuous learning.
It’s true that ‘quick learner’ is an overused self-description. My go-to way of saying the same thing is ‘committed to continuous learning and embracing new challenges.’
The best place to put this is in the ‘Summary’ or ‘Profile’ at the top of a resume, mentioned in the brief description of who you are and what you bring to the table. (You can also include a similar statement in a cover letter if you’re sending one.)
More importantly, however, is having experiences that support what you’re saying. If I see that phrase in a resume, I want to see evidence in the work history that validates it – a track record of taking on new responsibilities frequently and quickly throughout your career.
I’d also ask some questions in an interview to understand why you see yourself as a quick learner and how you’ve demonstrated that in your work. In other words, if you’re going to say it, be prepared to back it up.
Ricardo Luís Von Groll, the Content Manager at Talentify, agrees and suggests you mention your passion for learning.
“Quick Learner” is indeed a great soft or human skill recruiters look for when assessing a candidate. That fact is that putting it in your description in the resume may seem a little ‘cold’ to some professionals.
In my case, I prefer ‘warmer’ descriptions, and that reminds me of ‘passion.’ So I would suggest that instead of simply writing ‘quick learner,’ try something like ‘passionate for learning’ instead. At last, there is one more reason I don’t recommend ‘quick learner’ in resumes, and that is the idea of ‘quick’ that differs from one another. What is quick for me to learn might not be quick for you and vice-versa.
What’s Another Word Fast Learner on Resume? Summary
Learning how to say fast learner, similar to saying that you trained someone on your resume, and finding an appropriate synonym to emphasize that you learn quickly is critical to applying to a new job or starting a new career. The overwhelming response from the experts that MatchBuilt asked was that ‘quick learner’ or ‘fast learner’ doesn’t belong on your resume and that the approaches above are much better options.
Perhaps these tips can help you improve other common skill keywords on your resume, such as hard worker, team player, good listener, communication skills, great leader, proactive self-starter, strategic thinker, strong work ethic, and good time management.
A prospective employer or hiring manager will appreciate these specific skills, but sharing them with specific examples from your professional experience or direct synonyms with active statements was highly recommended. In addition, the job description on the job posting might be the right place to find new ideas to achieve this as well.
Hopefully, understanding that there are other words for fast learner and different places you can emphasize them on your resume, especially on an entry-level resume, will help you become an even more desirable candidate and get that job interview (learn how to talk about your weaknesses in a job interview here) you’ve been hoping for.