Do you need to add MS Word skills to your CV in 2021?

The first time your parents bought you a computer, you may have noticed Microsoft Office. And, Microsoft Word was part of that Microsoft Office suite. We all know it’s a word processing software that is used vastly all over the world for several purposes. This is the most productive application that is used for our official and educational tasks. Moreover, skills in Microsoft Word are required in almost all kinds of jobs, businesses, and professions.

Ever since the launch in 1983, MS Word grew faster and became versatile, and soon people all over the world got to know about it. But the question remains, is MS Word a skill that should be included in your resume?

Adding MS Word as a skill was indeed really cool and demanding back in the 90s. Many people may have gotten their job especially for mentioning they are skilled in MS Word. As time went by, more MS Software was introduced to the world and each application is used for its own purposes.

Now in 2021, you have seen many Job Advertisements that look for candidates who have skills in MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, MS Access, MS Outlook, etc. Besides this most in-demand software, MS Word is still used formally to this day. But do you really need to include MS Word as a competency to CV as it has become very basic and almost everyone has this skill?

So, Should you Add “Proficient in MS Word”?

According to Carlota Zimmerman, a well-known career consultant said, Companies now have the presumption that all of the candidates are computer literate, which means you know the basics of MS Office. She also included, “If a client seriously told me she was going to write ‘proficient in MS Office Suite’ on her resume, I’d ask her, ‘Why stop there? Can you also use a knife and fork?’”

So you can see it’s not really a smart choice to mention MS Word, particularly in your CV. What you can do is you can bring up your expertise in some other Microsoft tools, such as- PowerPoint, Excel, or OneNote. You can add these only if they are attractive to recruiters and relevant to your applied job role.

Even in 2021, many of us still have deficiencies in these MS tools. So if you can learn and be skilled in other tools besides MS Word, mention those, not MS Word. No one, no recruiters want to know that.

As mentioned before, “Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite” is bad. But mentioning “Microsoft Word” as a skill is way worse. So, if I have to answer Yes/No, the simple answer is No.

But, Why Can’t You actually add MS Word to your resume?

Andrew Selepak, who is a communication expert as well as a professor at the University of Florida, claims that, in this modern world, mentioning MS Word as a competency should be removed permanently from every resume. Including MS Word as a skill is similar to bringing up the ability to eat in a resume. If you know how to shake hands with other people you cannot add that in a CV, can you? Indeed, Microsoft Word skill is used to do make job tasks, businesses, and also in every organization to run their regular official tasks.

Many studies showed that candidates often feel obliged to put “Proficient in Microsoft Office” in their CV, despite their level of skill. It’s time you know, “Proficient in Microsoft Office” basically means you are familiar with all the options and functions of MS Word, text editing, documentation, templates creating, automatic TOC, etc. Once you mention that you are good with Excel, it means you can run and create functions, pivot tables, customize charts, etc.

For PowerPoint, it means you can make slideshows, design them, add animation, and the capability to control them when you’re actually presenting.

If you can do all these kinds of stuff you can then, and only then can include that phrase in your resume. But we have seen many candidates bragging about their proficiency in their resume without being able to do anything more than writing a report on Word, Making basic slides in PowerPoint, creating spreadsheets on Excel as tables. If you can relate to what I just mentioned, you definitely shouldn’t mention MS proficiency in your resume.

So, what can you do instead?

There are jobs where you’ll know you won’t have to mention your basic computer literacy. But what if you’re applying for a job where there will be a lot of writing and making reports? In that case, you will understand eventually that you have to mention at least something that will let recruiters know you’ve mastered MS Word. “Fluent in Microsoft Word”, or “proficient in Microsoft Office”—these can be phrased in some other ways in your CV.

But there is one thing you have to remember that it means you’re expressing the fact that you’re capable of doing more than just writing and editing texts. So if you have expert-level skills and not only those basic skills in Microsoft Office, you don’t need to leave them out.

Here’s why:

First of all, nowadays everybody knows the most basic and the essentials of the Microsoft tools, and that includes Word at number 1. You don’t need to include this common know-how, because it won’t make you stand out in the crowd– which is exactly what you need with a CV.

It’s all about being a unique one. Unless you’re super-skilled and possibly solve any issues related to Word and have expert-level competency. Go ahead, add it to the CV. But don’t add this at the very beginning of the list of your technical skills.

Secondly, just mentioning MS Word will confuse the recruiter and they might expect more than you are capable of doing.

So even if you get a job claiming that you have expertized in Word, and when your boss has actually assigned you a task that you fail to do will be really embarrassing.

You don’t want that, do you?

The organization will think of you as a liar when they will see the reality of your practical tasks and the worst-case scenario- You’ll be called a liar!

Biggest nightmare ever! So to save your reputation, come clean, do not jump to list Microsoft Office skills when you only have the basic grasps.

Another reason to not include this in your CV because it creates a poor impression on your recruiters. When they see “Proficient in Word”, they probably think you’re an amateur with no practical skill whatsoever. So, here, the rule to follow is- always being honest while preparing your CV. To avoid any misunderstanding and confusion, and if you’re confident enough, go ahead, add the skill!

Last but not the least, always look carefully at which job role/ position you’re applying for. If it’s nursing, cleaning, graphic designing, or acting job, do not include “Proficient in MS Word”.

It’ll be a terrible decision to list MS Word/ Office on a resume. Jobs, where you have to use Word at least once in a while, doesn’t need this as a skill either. You also don’t need to mention if you’re already a high-tech professional or someone who has full-time jobs for more than 5 years.

Therefore, you will have to scrutinize and see when it’s obvious to list MS Word as a skill and how often you’re going to use it.

Although it’s mandatory to include “Microsoft Word” as a competency if you’re applying for jobs like Journalist, Content Writer, Ghost Writer, Book Editor, Book Publisher, Data entry specialist, Police report writer, Law enforcement worker, etc.

Bringing us the Word skill might come in handy in these job roles, But recruiters will be interested more in your other knowledge and experience over this.

Now, let’s evaluate what “Proficiency in Microsoft Word” really means:

  • Fast Typing: Page setup/ alignment
  • Text formatting
  • Editing
  • Grammar check
  • Spellcheck
  • Creating templates
  • SmartArt
  • Textboxes
  • Quick Access
  • Title and ribbon bar

If you’re confident that you can do all of the things I have mentioned above, feel free to list this in your CV. For example, recruiters will be interested in how fast you write. It doesn’t matter if you are a content writer or do any other jobs, it is a necessary common skill. Grammar and spell check, editing, text formatting; are all important skills to write formal mail and to reply to the consumers. But do remember, recruiters, are only interested in how many words you can type in a minute which making any mistake. So don’t highlight it too much. Good luck!

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