How to List Office Software Skills on Your Résumé

Tips for building the 'Technical Skills' section

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With technology skills ranking among the highest that employers are seeking, articulating those skills you've gained through education or experience can pay off in a literal way.

If you're searching for a clerical or office job in management, administration, or other popular fields, there are several guidelines you can follow, like being really specific about your skills and ensuring that your grammar and spelling are top-notch.

See these free résumé templates for MS Word if you don't yet have one.

Screenshot of a resume example with technical skills

Details Matter

Always write out each and every program in which you are you proficient. You don't want the people reading your résumé to have to guess what you're talking about; they might assume you know more than you do, or underestimate how skilled you are.

For example, if you want to list on your résumé that you know a lot about LibreOffice, instead of just stating "LibreOffice," tout your skills more specifically by writing something like, "LibreOffice Writer, Calc, Impress, Base, Draw, and Math."

Always Maximize, but Don’t Embellish

While you should never list office software programs you've merely heard of or dabbled in, don't hold back with those you do know. Find ways to bridge the gap and get it on your résumé.

The rule of thumb on whether to include an office software program is to picture yourself either answering interview questions about it or using it by yourself on the first day of the job. You don't want to go through all this trouble only to disappoint your new boss.

Open the program. If you see tools you haven’t used, take the steps to learn them, or don’t list the program.

For example, maybe you've used Microsoft Word for years but you've never done a Mail Merge. While you don't necessarily need professional experience using it, you should take interactive tutorials, attend a local community education course, or find some other practical way to really know an essential tool such as this before stating that you know Microsoft Word.

When building your résumé, also keep in mind that if the job you're after needs someone who's, say, proficient in building charts and graphs in a spreadsheet program, blend that same wording into your résumé to show them that you not only know how to do it but that you know what the job entails.

To use the graph example, you might write "Microsoft Excel Charts and Graphs" instead of just "Excel" or "Graphing Experience."

Prove It

To really prove to yourself and others that you know certain programs, make it official with an Office Software Certification. Anyone can write “Microsoft Excel” on a résumé, and most probably do, but most résumés in the stack probably don't say “Certified Microsoft Office User Specialist in Excel.”

Typically, you attend these courses locally, followed by a test, but some you can even get through online participation and testing.

Be Savvy With Spelling and Capitalization

Even excellent spellers and grammarians stumble when it comes to software names, such as listing Microsoft’s PowerPoint as "Power Point" or "Powerpoint." Sometimes we see words written incorrectly so often that we think we know the spelling when we don't.

For that reason, when listing office software on your résumé, double-check the software publisher's primary website for proper treatment of a program's correct spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, and spacing. Missing these little details can sabotage all the other wonderful details you have featured on your résumé.

Diversify and Get More Skills

Microsoft Office is still the most widely used office software program worldwide, but an increasing number of employers have adopted alternative office software suites. Being able to list more than one suite puts you at a great advantage.

Not only does diversification increase your chances of aligning with what the company uses, but even if it doesn't align, it shows that you can learn a new product because you have experience outside of MS Office.

Beyond the Software Suites: More Tech Skills to Incorporate

Office software suites are used within a larger productivity context, so show employers you know that. Consider the following additions to your "Technical Skills" section:

  • Operating systems: List desktop and mobile operating systems in which you have productivity experience. Examples include Android, Windows, BlackBerry, iOS, macOS, and Linux.
  • Cloud computing: List all environments or online storage solutions you've used, including OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox.
  • Social media skills: Again, only list those for which you can show work-related experience. Social networking sites include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Pinterest, as well as aggregators such as HootSuite or TweetDeck.
  • Additional software: If relevant, include financial software, animation software, desktop video programs, collaboration and meeting software, graphics software, content management systems, and others.
  • Web design: You might be knowledgeable about a number of web design areas like HTML, PHP, JavaScript, or CSS.
  • Typing speed: This is typically listed in terms of words per minute (e.g., 60 WPM). Take a typing speed test if you're not sure.