One of the most common questions job seekers have is whether to include skills like Microsoft Word on a resume. Including relevant skills on a resume is really important for two reasons. It quickly shows the hiring manager that you have the skills required for the position. It also allows you to get past an ATS system which is a software used by most employers to automatically screen resume.
(You can read more here on how to get your resume past an Applicant Tracking System.)
So should you list Microsoft office skills like Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook on a resume?
We’ll discuss which of these skills to include on a resume.
Should you include Microsoft Word as a skill on your resume?
Why? Because nearly everyone knows how to use Microsoft Word and including it on your resume does not give you an edge. Any employer would expect you to be proficient in Word.
It’s like saying you know how to operate a cell phone on your resume – it just doesn’t belong on a resume. Including it on your resume will do more harm than good.
We’ll discuss more later in this post on the types of skills to include on your resume to stand out but Microsoft Word is certainly not one you should be including.
(Here is an article worth reading if you don’t know how to use Microsoft Word.)
Should you include Microsoft Excel on a resume?
Microsoft Excel is a little more complicated than Word and can be a useful skill to include on a resume. This is especially true for positions that require you to use Excel like accounting.
There are two things you need to keep in mind when listing Excel on a resume.
Here is a good article that outlines the basics of Excel. If you don’t know how to use Excel at an expert level, there are many classes available online that may be worth looking into.
Should you include PowerPoint on a resume?
PowerPoint like Word is fairly simple to use and doesn’t require advanced knowledge. Including PowerPoint on your resume adds little to no value.
Should you include Outlook on a resume?
Outlook (like Word and PowerPoint) is fairly easy to use and any employer will expect you to know how to use email. Listing these common skills on a resume will do more harm than good.
If you know how to use all of the programs in Microsoft Office and it’s listed as a required skill in the job description – then you can include it. Otherwise it’s best left off your resume.
So Excel is the only skill you should consider listing.
So what other skills should you be listing?
We wrote a good detailed post here – Skills to include on a resume.
Just to cover the basics:
You want to include hard skills on your resume that are relevant to the position you’re targeting. Remember that the purpose of your resume is to show how you’re qualified for that particular position. Listing irrelevant information and skills on a resume will do you more harm than good.
Look at the job description to see which skills they require or prefer and list those on your resume.
Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Outlook are fairly simple to use and any employer would expect you to be familiar with them. Listing it on your resume does not give you an edge over the other candidates.
Include skills that show your employer you have what it take to get the job done. Including relevant hard skills will also help get your resume past ATS systems which most employers use today.
Good luck with your job search!