Several people I know put on their resumes that they’re fast learners. I saw another resume today with that on it, and it made me start thinking about what it means to be a fast learner, and why people think it’s worthwhile to include that on a resume. After all, there are many hiring managers who will tell you that being a fast contributor or a steady learner is more attractive than being a fast learner. How do people really know if they’re fast learners in the first place?
I decided to do a little research on this topic, and what I found was quite interesting. Think about all the things in your life that you learned fast, and they are probably the same things that you are passionate about and that you excel at. Think about the things in your life that you didn’t learn fast. Those are probably things you weren’t interested in, right?
One of the keys to becoming a fast learner is figuring out which learning style you are able to comprehend information in best. Many people digest information best when it’s in a visual format (which might have something to do with why infographics have become so popular). Others prefer auditory learning, and other people are kinesthetic learners (meaning they learn from doing the activity rather than reading about it or listening to information about it).
There is even a scientific aspect to being able to learn things fast. According to this article on New Scientist, fast learners (specifically fast language learners) have more white matter and less symmetrical brains than people who are not fast learners. The fear of failure and fear of rejection also affect the speed at which we learn new things.
If you are wondering whether or not you learn things fast, there may be a way to figure it out. According to Funders and Founders, there are seven signs that point to the fact that you are a fast learner. You can view them in the chart below. I notice one underlying thread in this chart, and that is simplicity. As Leonardo da Vinci once said, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and amongst other things, I suppose that applies to learning.
Are You A Fast Learner?
(Click Chart To Enlarge)