How to List Proficiency in Microsoft Office on a Resume

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Microsoft Office is a suite of applications that enables team members to be more productive in the workplace by completing everyday tasks on a computer. Proficiency in Office tools is a valuable skill that many employers look for in potential employees. Understanding how to describe these skills in your resume can help you attract the attention of hiring managers and gain a job. In this article, we explain the meaning of proficiency in Microsoft Office, list the core MS Office skills, review how to write these skills on a resume, and give tips for improving them.

What does proficiency in Microsoft Office mean?

Proficiency in Microsoft Office means you have a good level of skill and expertise in using the Microsoft Office suite of software products. The common Office programs include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, OneNote, and Outlook. Saying that you're proficient with Office tools on your resume typically means you can perform specific operations within these programs.

Depending on your role, you may use these tools simply for basic functions or you may use them for more advanced operations. You can also develop your skills in other Office Suite tools such as Access and OneDrive that help you improve your productivity in the office.

What are Microsoft Office skills?

Below are explanations of the primary Microsoft Office programs and the skills you can develop in each one:

Microsoft Word

Word is a type of word processing software that can help you create professional-looking documents. It's a popular workplace tool that can receive continuous upgrades, making it a versatile application. For many employers, being able to create and edit documents is often sufficient, but you may consider improving your proficiency by being able to perform these additional actions:

  • Adding graphics, filters, layers, and multiple dimensions to designs, templates, and documents

  • Inserting tables, footnotes, and indexes, creating a table of contents, and inserting direct links to headings to provide a visual guide

  • Implementing Publisher's illustration tools to add elements like graphics, logos, pictures, and decorative fonts to certain elements

  • Using Word with OneDrive to share, store, and sync work files with different devices

Related: How to Insert a Line in Word (With Tips and Skills)

Microsoft Excel

Excel is the spreadsheet software in the Microsoft Office Suite. With this program, you can organize and perform financial analyses using different formulas. You can also monitor business information and present data in visually appealing styles. Useful Excel skills include:

  • Creating pivot tables to sort, aggregate, and compare different data in a spreadsheet

  • Moving rows of data into different columns, removing duplicate data sets or points, and using filters to simplify data sets for ease of working

  • Performing mathematical calculations with Excel's formula functions and implementing specific formulas, such as VLOOKUP, to locate data sets in large databases

  • Using Excel shortcuts to reduce the time you spend performing various actions

Microsoft PowerPoint

PowerPoint is popular in the corporate world for creating presentations. When you're proficient with PowerPoint, you can make slides and produce simple animations. Other PowerPoint skills that build your proficiency in Microsoft Office are:

  • Linking Excel with PowerPoint to transfer charts, improve quantitative data presentation, and simplify slide sharing

  • Using templates to reduce the time required for making presentations

  • Highlighting presentations with animations and transitions and using tools to customize their style

Related: How to Cite Images in Microsoft PowerPoint (With Examples)

Microsoft Publisher

Publisher enables you to create professional documents such as newsletters, invitations, and brochures. With this software, you can use the inbuilt tools to edit page layouts and format visual content without having graphic design experience. Publisher can also synchronize with certain graphics editors to import and export files and transfer projects for formatting, layering, and other text- and picture-styling actions. Other Publisher skills that may be appealing to employers include:

  • Using premade templates to design business cards and promotional materials

  • Utilizing the design checker tool to review graphic content for layout or design issues

  • Applying layers, multiple filters, and multiple design dimensions to pictures, logos, graphics, and decorative fonts

Microsoft OneNote

OneNote is a digital note-taking application that helps gather and store information such as text, drawings, and audio files. OneNote's support for files of various formats makes it a valuable office tool for recording information during team meetings, seminars, and conferences. Its design is similar to a standard notebook, with each OneNote program having multiple notebooks for dedicated topics. Employers typically utilize this feature by relying on applicants to have the following skills:

  • Using OneNote as word processing software to style and format texts and create tables

  • Organizing notes and adding photos, videos, and audio

  • Synchronizing OneNote with other programs such as Outlook to make sharing information quick and easy

  • Creating new pages automatically using commands and linking them to master lists

Other Microsoft Office proficiencies

Other Office skills that can help improve the marketability of your resume and give you a competitive advantage include:

  • Synchronizing Outlook with other Office programs and configuring e-mail settings for business and team correspondences to simplify communications

  • Using Teams alongside Planner to organize audio and video conferencing and to assign, monitor, and change tasks as necessary

  • Implementing Access for database management and basic database operations, such as storage, retrieval, and querying

  • Sharing documents and exporting files for online collaboration

How to list Microsoft Office skills on a resume

Follow the steps below to effectively list your Office skills on your resume:

1. Understand the required skills

Before including in your resume that you're proficient with Microsoft Office, it's important to understand the job's requirements and which skills the employer needs. Professionals across multiple industries use these tools differently. For example, an administrative assistant may use Excel to manage records, coordinate meetings or travel arrangements, and monitor logistics. If you're applying for this type of role, skills such as using Excel formulas, graphs, and data-sorting features can increase your resume's appeal. In contrast, a copywriter position may instead require experience of Word or Publisher to develop and style copy.

2. Highlight skills that match the requirements

After researching the required skills, you can list your proficiencies to see if they match what the employer needs. Employers commonly measure your Office skills in levels: basic, intermediate, and advanced. It's advisable to highlight only those programs where you have advanced knowledge, and you can include specific examples of how you've applied them in the past.

3. Only include skills when they're relevant

When applying for a specific role, it's best to only include relevant skills in your resume. For example, if the job listing only mentions Excel skills as a requirement, focus on your expertise with Excel and avoid mentioning other skills. In certain industries such as technology, where computer skills are a prerequisite, you may decide not to mention your Office skills so you have space to focus more on your other technical skills.

Related: How to List Microsoft Office Skills on a Resume

Tips to improve your Microsoft Office skills

Below are some methods for improving your Office skills to deliver more value to employers:

Pursue certifications

Obtaining Office-related certifications is a useful way of improving your skills with these programs. It can show your passion and commitment to professional and personal development, increase your income, and expand your customer base. Microsoft certifications you may consider pursuing to advance your skills include:

  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification

  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification

  • Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) certification

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certification

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification

Related: Types of Microsoft Office Certifications (With Skills)

Take online courses

Consider taking various online courses to learn about new features in these software programs and discover simpler ways of performing activities with them. Online courses are an effective way to learn the basics and gain confidence in using Office programs if you're a beginner. Online courses can also help you prepare to take the Microsoft certification exams.

Related: OneDrive vs. SharePoint (Differences and Similarities)

Practise regularly

Ensure you practise everything that you learn, both formally and informally. Find internship opportunities that help you apply these skills to real-life situations and solve corporate issues. Practise the different commands and functions in the programs because the more you use these different functions, the more familiar you become with them.

Please note that none of the companies, organizations, or institutions mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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