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How to List Microsoft Office Skills on a Resume in 2020

How to List Microsoft Office Skills on a Resume in 2020

What are Microsoft Office skills? How to list them on a resume? And what does it mean to be a “proficient” MS Office user? Read on and find out.

Listing MS Office skills on a resume feels a bit like writing you can use a mobile phone:


It’s obvious.


But if you’re proficient in Microsoft Office, putting “MS Excel” at the top of your resume skills list is not enough. Hiring managers want evidence. That’s why you need to know how to list and describe your skills like an MOS Master.


This guide will show you:


  • A list of Microsoft Office skills program-by-program. 
  • How to describe Microsoft Office skills on a resume to prove you’re a pro MS user.
  • When listing Microsoft Office skills on a resume is not a good idea.
  • How to get Microsoft Office certified and boost your chances for a job.


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Wondering how to create a killer skills section for your resume? Look at our dedicated guides:




Microsoft Office Skills


Microsoft Office Suite, commonly known as Microsoft Office or simply Office, is a set of productivity tools used by businesses around the world.




It is used for much more than just writing texts in Word and creating tables in Excel.


This brainy batch enables users to perform hundreds of advanced tasks and resolve a variety of complex problems.


True⁠—some jobs require only the basics. But for most of mid- and high-level positions you need to know a few tricky functionalities, too.


MS Office comprises of:


  • Microsoft Word: a word-processing program that allows you to write and edit texts. It features a set of helpful language tools and various accessibility options.
  • Microsoft Excel: it’s a spreadsheet program to organize and manipulating data.
  • Microsoft Powerpoint: brings your ideas to life in the form of presentations and allows you to create designs, slide animations, 3D models, and icons.
  • Microsoft Outlook: it’s your email, calendar, and contacts list.
  • Microsoft OneNote: a digital notebook that helps you gather information in the form of text, drawings, screen clippings, and even audio files.


Microsoft Office Suite offers programs that can be used both in a web browser and on a computer.


The two good oldies below may now be used only on PCs:


  • Microsoft Access: a database management system from which can link directly to other apps and databases.
  • Microsoft Publisher: a layout tool that allows users to style texts, pictures, borders, etc.


Companies very often use Microsoft Office 365 Business with Microsoft Teams and other apps such as Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft SharePoint that make teamwork easier.


Still, when a job ad states “Microsoft Office skills,” they probably mean this quartet: MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.


How to Describe Proficiency in Microsoft Office on a Resume


Fluent in Microsoft Word, proficient in Microsoft Excel—it can be phrased in many different ways on your resume, but you have to remember that it means more than just editing text or summing up cells.


So if you have only those basic skills in Microsoft Office—


Leave them out. Why?


Firstly, everybody knows the essentials of the Office suite. It’s a basic know-how.


Secondly, you might confuse the recruiter. They see proficient in Excel and they think: macros, pivot tables, and VLOOKUP. What you think: adding a row, formatting a table, and removing duplicates.


When given a question about it or even worse—a practical task—you will turn out as a liar. And that means an instant “No, thank you.”


So save your reputation and don’t list Microsoft Office skills which you only have a basic grasp of.


When else listing MS Office on a resume is a poor decision?


When it’s obvious that you can use it.


You don’t need to mention MS Office if you’re high-tech professional.


Or if you’re after a job that won’t probably require MS Office skills, like nursing, graphic design, or let’s say acting.


Now, let’s check what proficiency in Microsoft Office really means.


Proficient in Microsoft Word:


  • Page setup
  • Text formatting
  • Editing
  • Creating templates
  • Textboxes
  • SmartArt
  • Quick Access
  • Title and ribbon bar
  • Spellcheck
  • Grammar check


Proficient in Microsoft Excel


  • Spreadsheets
  • Workbooks
  • Formulas
  • Data Linking
  • Pivot Tables
  • Charts
  • Data Analysis
  • Macros and Automatization (VBA)
  • IF Statements
  • Data Validation


Proficient in Microsoft Powerpoint


  • Presentation design
  • Templates
  • Custom slides
  • Animation
  • Manuscripts
  • Creating graphs and charts
  • Presentations troubleshooting


Proficient in Microsoft Outlook


  • Navigation
  • Archivization
  • Assigning tasks
  • Tasks distribution
  • Configuring email settings
  • Email filters
  • Calendar management
  • Scheduling


Plus, other general skills that a proficient MS Office user needs to have:



See? That’s quite a lot of skills. And if you can tick only some of those points for each MS Office component, it means you’re not proficient.


Looking for examples of other computer skills to put on a resume? Check out this guide: Computer Skills: Best Resume Computer Skills Employers Want



How to List Microsoft Office Skills on a Resume


You could pick all the MS Office program functions that you know and list them in your resume skills section.




That will work if the hiring manager gives you the benefit of the doubt.


Otherwise, it won’t prove much.


Plus, your skills list needs to cut to the chase: long-winded lists may corrupt your resume layout.


So how to list Microsoft Office skills on a resume?


1. Put your MS Office skills in a resume skills section: list only those MS Office abilities you possess.


Like this:


  • Microsoft Excel (Pivot Table, Macros, Data Analysis)


2. Incorporate your MS Office into your resume experience section. In bullet points describing your job experience⁠—show how you put the MS Office skills into practice and what were the results of it.


Here’s how to do it:


  • Generated Excel pivot tables to compile key company data and reports.
  • Designed a set of useful Excel macros that automated manual processes and increased the team’s productivity by 20%.
  • Used Excel formulas to add necessary formatting to report spreadsheets and gained 25% reduction of overages.
  • Designed shop management routine in Excel that automated income analysis process. 


The above examples show facts and results and back them up with numbers.


It’s a proven formula to show efficiency.


And how will you know which MS Office skills are relevant for the position you’re targeting?


First, create a master list of all the MS Office skills you think you have.


Then, read the job offer carefully and highlight the skills they’re looking for.


Finally, pick only the relevant skills from your draft list that match the skills listed in the job posting.


Pro Tip: Another reason why you should tailor your resume to the job ad? Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Many companies today use it to scan candidates’ resumes for skills. MS Office skills in the job ad are almost always reiterated in the ATS settings.


Still not sure how to prepare a custom-made resume for a job? Check out our dedicated guide: 6 Tips on How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job Description (Examples)



MS Office Courses and Certifications


LinkedIn lists data science, business analysis, writing, and editing among top 25 skills companies need most in 2020. It means a basic understanding of MS Office is not enough.


If you want to demonstrate your proficiency in Microsoft Office in a formal way, prove your advanced skills, and increase your chances of landing a job interview, consider joining one of the Microsoft Office Certification programs.


These include:


  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)
  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Expert
  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Master


The programs all end with a final exam and certification.


There is also plenty of MS Office courses available online (try Udemy, Coursera, or Skillshare).


Want to list your certifications on a resume in a professional way? Here’s how to do it: How to List Certifications on a Resume: Guide (+20 Examples)


Key Takeaway


Here’s a short recap of how to list your MS Office skills on a resume:


  • Follow the master list of all Microsoft Office skills to get started. Pick the skills that are relevant to your future position.
  • Prove your skills in your job description. Show the recruiter how you use them in practice and what you achieved thanks to them.
  • If you’re not “proficient in MS Office,” don’t say that on your resume. Be honest about your skills levels.
  • Consider getting Microsoft Office certified. It’ll help you stand out from other candidates.


Still not sure how to describe proficiency in Microsoft Office? If you have any thoughts on how to list Microsoft Office skills on resume, give us a shout in the comments. Thanks for writing in!

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Emilia Mucha
Emilia is a career expert sharing all kinds of job hunting advice. At Zety, she writes dedicated guides that help readers create job-winning resumes and cover letters.

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