“So Dave, I see on your resume that you’re proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Well, there’s obviously no need to read further… You’re hired.”
Said no hiring manager ever.
In the 21st century, it’s a skill that every grown adult is assumed to possess, and hiring managers regard as a given. But if you think you might want to brush up your skills (or maybe even learn a thing or two), then training on Microsoft Office certainly can’t hurt.
Here are a few of the most common scenarios where familiarity with Microsoft Office products can legitimately increase your chances of success at landing that new job.
When it’s an entry-level position.
If you’re starting out at the bottom rung of the company hierarchy, knowing your way around Word, Excel, or PowerPoint are reasonable minimum requirements.
Think of it as a driver’s license for your computer. If you can’t use something as widely used as Microsoft Word, then operating a company workstation is a potential danger to the company’s documents and electronic records, if not society as a whole.
By mentioning your familiarity with Microsoft Word, you have at least let your future employer know that you weren’t raised by wolves.
When the job requires it.
Recruiters and HR specialists will often use an Applicant Tracking System, software designed to scour resumes for certain keywords and ruthlessly discard those lacking the required skills.
Don’t let your application be passed over because you thought your Microsoft Office skills were implied. Be explicit and list all the Office products with which you are comfortable .
You might even want to truly prove your Microsoft proficiency with a certification. At the very least, tell the resume robot about your CBT Nuggets Microsoft Office course certificates of completion.
When you can use Office software well.
Some skills are worth showing off even though they are not relevant to your field. If you have truly mastered Word, Excel, Access, or another Office product – whether through training, experience, or sheer boredom – then by all means, flaunt it!
To emphasize your prowess, share a few details on how you have used Microsoft Office to solve a business need. For example:
- Created and maintained a database application using Access and Visual Basic to keep track of company inventory, sales orders, and staff information.
- Wrote and designed quarterly technical reports in Microsoft Word for review by senior management.
Experience using the more esoteric products in the Microsoft Office suite such as Microsoft Exchange Server also will suggest to hiring managers that you can be trusted not to break a company’s carefully designed systems, as these skills demonstrate greater technical ability.
When you will be collaborating with others.
Microsoft SharePoint is one of the most popular team collaboration tools used by medium- to enterprise-level companies. If you’re comfortable with SharePoint and the job requirements state that a working knowledge of SharePoint is preferred but not required, you’re a healthy step ahead of your competition.
The same goes for other Office products – few employers will want to train you up in the basics of Office, unless they love the rest of your resume or your in-person charm. And, let’s be honest: no one wants to be that person who needs help editing a shared Word document.
Start training in Microsoft Office today if you have the slightest inkling that you might be that person.
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