How To List Microsoft Office Skills On A Resume (With Examples)

By Abby McCain
Jun. 27, 2022
Skills Based Articles

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Microsoft Office is the backbone of many companies and organizations. Because of this, HR departments want to know that if they hire you, they won’t need to train you on the basics.

In this article, you’ll learn which Microsoft Office skills are worth brushing up on and featuring on your resume.

Key Takeaways:

  • The top three Microsoft skills that employers are looking for are Microsoft Excel Skills, Microsoft Word Skills, and Microsoft PowerPoint Skills.

  • When applying for jobs, start by checking the job description to make sure you highlight any specific skills listed there.

  • If you haven’t used many Microsoft programs and don’t have an understand of it, don’t lie and list skills on your resume that are not real.

How to List Microsoft Office Skills on a Resume with examples.

Examples of How to Include Microsoft Office Skills on a Resume

When it comes time to show off your Microsoft Office skills while you’re applying for a new job, it can be difficult to know how to present them. As always, start by checking the job description you’re applying for to make sure you highlight any specific skills listed there. Then, incorporate them into your job experience if they fit well. You could say something like this:

  • Managed department’s budget and purchases with intermediate skills in Microsoft Excel

  • Coordinated with three other offices to complete projects using basic Microsoft Teams skills

  • Compiled, formatted and distributed quarterly reports to all staff using advanced skills in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook

Something like the above section is perfectly fine, but it’s not exactly going to stop and make hiring managers go “wow.” For that, you’ll need to demonstrate your Microsoft skills with quantifiable achievements, like:

  • Saved Product department $20,000+ annually on metallic resources and contractor spending by creating budgeting sheet with Microsft Excel

  • Increased efficiency of cross-team projects by 12% through effective weekly memos drafted on Microsoft Word

  • Created PowerPoint presentations for Sales staff, leading to a 8% higher conversion rate and 6% boost in subscriber retention

The above experience section showcases proficiency in Microsoft Office by showing examples of achievements, rather than telling the recruiter basic job responsibilities.

If your work experience doesn’t lend itself to featuring your Microsoft Office qualifications in this way, you can add them in a separate skills section. Try to give the hiring manager a picture of what you can do with each platform instead of simply saying that you can use it. If you have any relevant certifications, be sure to include those as well.

Your skills section might look something like this:

Relevant Skills

  • Microsoft Word: Advanced skills creating and editing company memos, reports, and newsletters so that formatting remains consistent with company style guides. Used mail merge to create and send personalized emails to company employees and customers.

  • Microsoft Excel: Basic skills entering and sorting data. Used simple formulas and filters to organize customer contact information for the department.

  • Microsoft Outlook: Intermediate skills using Microsoft Outlook to send and manage emails and calendar events.

Types of Microsoft Office Skills

Some of the more specific Microsoft Office skills you need to hone depend on your job, but the basics tend to stay the same across industries. No matter what you do for a living, you need to be able to easily throw together a nice-looking document, spreadsheet, or presentation.

Having a working knowledge of each platform will also allow you to more easily pick up on the more specific ins and outs of the programs you will be using for your particular job.

  1. Microsoft Excel Skills

    Even if you aren’t going to be making complex data reports in Microsoft Excel, you still need to know how to interact with this program on some level.

    You should especially make sure that you can list these skills on your resume if you’re going to be working with data, finances, or in any administrative setting. Here are some more specific skills to hone and then mention on your resume:

    • Creating and editing formulas. Formulas are some of the most useful features in Excel. They can be tricky to get the hang of, though, so being able to create and adjust these quickly will make you a much more valuable employee.

      Once you know the basics, work on learning how to connect formulas across documents, between graphs, and more.

    • Using pivot tables. Pivot tables allow you to read and manipulate large amounts of complex data quickly and accurately.

      Being comfortable with these will set you apart from other applicants, especially in an administrative or data-driven position, so make sure you work on your skills in this area and then list them on your resume.

    • Formatting graphs and charts. Knowing how to use and manipulate the charts and graphs in Excel is important to being able to present data well.

      Beyond the technical aspects of this, it’s also important that you know which styles are best for the information you’re trying to present. Choosing the right type and then designing it to be easy to read can make all the difference when you’re trying to present data.

    • Sorting data. Even if it’s just making a simple alphabetical list, it’s important to be able to sort data in Excel.

      Knowing how to use multiple filters is ideal, as even the simpler spreadsheets you use may need to be sorted in a few different ways. Practice adding and using these filters quickly and without mixing up the cells.

    • Creating workbooks and sheets. While it may not be a highly technical skill, knowing how and when to separate sheets and workbooks is vital. Each situation may call for a different setup, but knowing how to do this makes your document usable.

  2. Microsoft Word Skills

    Microsoft Word is one of the most versatile Microsoft products. You’ll need basic skills in this program no matter where you work, since reports, memos, and project plans are created in Word. Plus, it works well across Macs and PCs, making it easier to share documents without having to worry about converting files.

    Make sure to add this to the skills section of your resume regardless of what position you’re applying for. Here are some more specific areas of expertise you should have as well:

    • Formatting documents. Few things look more unprofessional than a poorly formatted Word document. From font sizes to spacing, you should know the general norms and features of proper formatting.

      Knowing how to create a document with multiple columns, appropriate headers and footers, and professional fonts will save you from embarrassment and make you a more valuable employee.

    • Using proofreading and editing tools. Microsoft added some very handy tools to Word that allow you to catch errors and changes that you wouldn’t normally be able to as easily.

      For example, you can show every line break and space so that you can troubleshoot your formatting or compare two different documents to see what changes have been made. Knowing how to use these tools and others like them will help you be a more efficient and effective employee.

    • Making and using templates. Whether they’re helping you do your job more efficiently or they’re an organization-wide requirement, Word templates are common in many workplaces. Knowing how to use them is vital, and knowing how to make them is even better.

    • Incorporating text boxes, photos and other elements. You might find yourself needing to know how to add pull quotes, photos, and charts and graphs into your document. Being able to insert, create and format these elements will help you reach a higher level in your Word skills.

  3. Microsoft PowerPoint Skills

    You might associate Microsoft PowerPoint with lectures and conferences, but this program is useful for the layman presenter as well. Companies also use PowerPoint to provide training or announcements to employees, even if they simply email the presentation out.

    Even if the position you’re applying for doesn’t require you to use it very often, knowing your way around PowerPoint only adds to your value as an employee. If you’re comfortable with this program, be sure to include it on your resume, as well as any of these more specific skills:

    • Creating and working with custom templates and themes. Many organizations make PowerPoint templates and themes to match company branding. Depending on your job, you’ll either need to know how to use them, how to create them, or both.

    • Using the notes feature. Although the technical aspects of putting notes in with your slide aren’t complicated, the real skill comes in knowing what types of information should go there instead of in the slide itself.

      Some of this is a style choice that varies from person to person, but knowing the basic principles is beneficial.

    • Printing the presentation in handout form. Whether your job is to assist your boss in preparing for a presentation or giving updates to important investors yourself, knowing how to print out a PowerPoint presentation in handout form is a valuable skill to have.

      Thankfully, the program has presets for this; you just need to know how to find them on both a Mac and a PC.

    • Designing an engaging presentation. This is also a skill that requires a good amount of practice, but as a professional, you should know the basic principles of a quality PowerPoint presentation.

      Take note of good presentations you watch and work to hone your communication skills in this area, as this will increase the value that you bring to a business.

    • Incorporating animations and multimedia elements.To have truly effective PowerPoint skills, you should know how to incorporate multimedia elements like videos into your slides.

      Similarly, knowing the different animations you can add to a presentation and then using them tastefully is also a valuable skill to have.

More Microsoft Office Skills

While Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint are some of the most widely used Microsoft Office products, you may want to consider building up and listing these other skills on your resume as well:

  1. Microsoft Outlook. This email platform is a common one for companies to use, as it works well for large groups.

    Getting to know not only its mail functions, but also its more detailed scheduling and sorting components will bring you extra favor with a potential employer, especially if you’re going to be working in a communication-based role.

  2. Microsoft Publisher. Microsoft Publisher is used to create materials like event programs and newsletters, so it’s good to be at least familiar with it. Learn the formatting techniques that come with printing booklets and other multi-page documents to really make an impression.

  3. Cross-platform functions. One of the benefits of Microsoft Office is how well each program works together. For example, you can use the mail merge function to create and send out personalized emails using the data you’ve entered in an Excel spreadsheet, all without leaving Word.

    Even if this skill isn’t mentioned in the job description, it’s good to bring up since it shows that you’re an efficient employee who truly knows Microsoft Office.

  4. OneNote. OneNote is a virtual, shareable notebook. It also allows you to add links, photos, and documents to your notes, making it a valuable tool for sharing research and other information with your team. While this isn’t as commonly used as Microsoft Word, it is worth at least having a basic understanding of the program.

  5. Office 365. With the rise of remote work and Office 365, it’s important that you know how to use some of the more popular programs within it such as Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft Teams.

    OneDrive is a shared storage space, and Teams is a project management system that allows you to message and video chat with your team members. Knowing your way around these will make you more attractive to employers, as they will have to spend less time training you if they use these programs regularly.

Proficient in Microsoft Office

Many candidates opt for the phrase “Proficient in Microsoft Office” on their resume. While this is a useful phrase to include, we should take a moment to discuss the meaning of “proficient.”

Someone who is proficient in Microsoft Word should easily be able to create, design, and format documents that look professional and error-free. A proficient Microsoft Excel user is someone who can develop and run a variety of functions, create meaningful pivot tables, and design charts that look great and convey data in an easy-to-understand way.

Don’t make the mistake of bragging about proficiency if you’ve only made spreadsheets to track static data or used PowerPoint to create super basic presentations in school. A few well-placed interview questions about any of these programs will reveal the limits of your knowledge, which is a bad look.

Everybody knows the basics of Microsoft Office, and that’s why we recommend leaving it off your resume most of the time. For example, if you’re a high-level tech person, hiring managers will assume you know how to operate the most universal program suite on the planet.

And if you’re applying for a job that doesn’t use computers whatsoever (they do exist), then you can also leave off this irrelevant skill set.

The main demographics that gain value from listing Microsoft Office skills on their resumes are entry- and mid-level office employees. For these individuals, highlighting advanced skills with Microsft Office, like those listed above, can be just the thing to put you a cut above the competition.

Beyond Your Resume

It’s usually a good idea to mention your Microsoft Office skills in your cover letter and interview as well, especially if the position you’re applying for puts an emphasis on them. Have a few examples ready of projects where you used your abilities and what you can do on each platform.

Be ready to demonstrate your skills by brushing up on any rusty areas before your interview. If your interviewer asks you about something that you don’t know how to do, be honest. Tell them that you don’t know and then explain how you would figure out how to do it. This shows that while you aren’t perfect, you are able and willing to teach yourself new skills.

Ways to Improve Your Microsoft Office Skills

If you want to step up your Microsoft Office skills and really earn that “Proficient in Microsoft Office” title, there are several good routes to take.

  • Take a course. There are countless online courses dedicated to teaching the most advanced ways to utilize the Micorosft Office suite.

    Microsoft itself offers a Microsoft Office Certification program, which can be a major asset on your resume if you’re applying for an administrative role. You can become a Microsoft Office Specialist, Expert, or Master through these programs.

  • Find a mentor. You can also find a mentor who has more advanced skills with Microsoft Office (and a desire to share those skills). Mentorship doesn’t have to be a super formal thing — it can be as simple as meeting with someone for an hour once a week to learn how to do something new with Excel.

    The great thing about these focused sessions is that you can get help with specific on-the-job tasks or figure out how to perform your day-to-day job more easily. Plus, you can put your new skills to the test immediately, helping solidify your lessons in your memory.

  • Use YouTube. Don’t sleep on the power of YouTube tutorials. There’s an endless amount of content creators who’ve put together videos explaining just about everything you could imagine using Microsoft Office for. Whatever specific skill you’re hoping to gain and wherever your current skill level is, there’s a channel for you.

  • Practice. There’s a good chance you regularly use Microsoft Office in your personal life anyway. These programs are super useful for organizing your life outside of work, after all.

    To up your skills, give yourself a project. For example, try making a budget that tracks your spending and categorizes it (yes, we know there are apps for that — the point is to make it yourself!) In the process, you’re likely to learn a handful of useful functions that could apply to your life at work.

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Abby McCain

Abby is a writer who is passionate about the power of story. Whether it’s communicating complicated topics in a clear way or helping readers connect with another person or place from the comfort of their couch. Abby attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she earned a degree in writing with concentrations in journalism and business.

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