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How to List Microsoft Office Skills on a Resume: Best Skills and Examples

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Microsoft Office is often one of the top skills that employers list in job postings. If you are applying to jobs in an office environment, you will most likely need to include your Microsoft Office skills on your resume. However, even if you have used Microsoft Office programs in the past, you should take care to list certain skills and avoid listing others. Learn how to list Microsoft Office skills on your resume and what to highlight so that your resume stands out from the rest.

Why employers want to see Microsoft Office skills on your resume

Employers want to see that you have a working knowledge of Microsoft Office because it is one of the most widely used productivity software programs and it is used by many businesses. If employers ask for Microsoft Office skills, they typically want to know your capabilities in four core Microsoft Office programs: Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Word. Employers may also list proficiency in specific Microsoft Office programs as a requirement for the position, in which case you should include examples of your expertise in the specified programs.

Employers may assume you have basic skills in Microsoft Office, but you can make your resume stand out by including more advanced skills and specific examples of how you’ve used them in previous positions. 

How to list Microsoft Office skills on your resume

Here are several effective ways you can list relevant Microsoft Office skills on your resume:

1. First, list advanced Microsoft Office skills by program

This is a straightforward way to communicate what you know to the employer. Rather than listing programs or skills you have a basic understanding of, focus on specific programs and applications that you can use proficiently. You can provide a list of skills per program in the ‘Skills’ section of your resume.

2. Then, highlight basic Microsoft Office skills by providing context

If you have a basic understanding of a Microsoft Office program, such as Excel which has many specific and technical functions, you should avoid listing the program as a general skill on your resume so you don’t mislead the employer into thinking you are a proficient Excel user. Instead, you can highlight basic Microsoft Office skills in the bullet points of the ‘Experience’ section of your resume by including how you used Microsoft Office software at previous jobs. 

3. Finally, prove advanced Microsoft Office skills by providing context

If the job description asks for a strong understanding of a particular program, like Excel, you can better highlight your level of proficiency by including examples of where you used advanced Excel skills in previous positions. 

Best Microsoft Office skills to add to a resume

These Microsoft Office skills can add to your resume if they are relevant to the position you are applying for. Certain skills, like creating documents in Microsoft Word and sending emails in Microsoft Outlook, are too basic to mention directly on your resume. If you list more advanced skills such as the ones listed below, the employer can assume that you also understand the basic functions of the given program. 

 Here are some of the best Microsoft Office skills to include on your resume:

Microsoft Excel skills

  • PivotTables: A data analysis tool in Excel that allows you to select and manipulate columns of data in a spreadsheet. 
  • Formula functions: Useful calculation functions include IF/AND/OR functions, Lookup functions and statistical functions. 
  • VLOOKUP: An Excel function that allows you to look up data from a column of a table. 
  • Macros: An action in Excel that allows you to record and create a shortcut to perform routine tasks. 

Microsoft Outlook skills

  • Share and configure calendars: Create calendars of your personal schedule, a project schedule and special holiday or vacation calendars that you can share with colleagues. 
  • Plan meetings: Set the time and location of a meeting and invite required and optional attendees. 
  • Assign tasks: Assign tasks, set due dates and view in-progress tasks. 

Microsoft PowerPoint skills

  • Slide formatting: Add transitions, animation and narration to slides. 
  • Formatting and creating templates: Create and customize templates to suit a presentation and reuse for future presentations. 
  • Adding hyperlinks and embedding data: This allows you to move between different parts of your presentation to open links and documents without exiting your presentation. 
  • Broadcasting and sharing slideshows: A feature that allows you to present your slideshow to a remote audience. 

Microsoft Word skills

  • Compare and merge documents: A feature that allows you to compare the differences between documents and merge revisions from one document into another document. 
  • Track changes: A tool in Microsoft Word that shows editing changes, markups and comments on a Word document. 
  • Mail merge: A function that pulls names and addresses from a database into Microsoft Word to facilitate a mass mailing. 
  • Developer tab: A tab in Word that gives access to XML mapping, macro creation and Visual Basic editor. 

How to improve Microsoft Office skills

Here are several ways you can improve your Microsoft Office skills when you have limited or basic knowledge of a program or need to practice skills you haven’t used in a while:

1. First, take a course in a Microsoft Office program

You can improve your Microsoft Office skills through online tutorials and classes. Microsoft Office offers free online self-study and paid instructor-led prep classes for the certification program to become a Microsoft Office Specialist. 

2. Then, become certified

You can improve your Microsoft Office skills and have a new credential to list on your resume by completing a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), MOS Expert or MOS Master certification. Certificates are available at different levels for Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word. 

3. Finally, practice at work

Once hired, you can use the training process to ask questions and practice specific tools and functions you’ll be using in different Microsoft Office programs.