It's common to see Microsoft Word to be listed on job postings. This type of skill seems somewhat arbitrary and broad, and depends on industry - expectations from graphic designer would be different from a journalist.

However, job postings never mention concrete expectations. Hence I want to know what would be the minimum level where you can confidently put such skill on resume. I find it questionable and uncomfortable to put MS Word on resume, especially if most of the time your experience is via college and high school papers, where most of the time Times New Roman, 12 points, double spaced format is used.

With programming languages, I can at least provide a portfolio of my work ( on github or elsewhere) to backup my claim.While I know there exists certification for MS Office, and that certainly backs up the claim that you have MS Word as skill, the certification costs and may be somewhat superfluous for someone going into IT or engineering, where technical certification is more valuable.

In short, what is the concrete minimum level at which I can put on my resume "Yes, I have MS Word as skill" ?

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    @JoeStrazzere Yes, I agree it depends on the job, and which is one of the reasons why I feel it's too arbitrary of a skill. Still, I'm curious if there's a "good enough" level – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Dec 23 '18 at 23:12
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    It is completely useless to put on your resume, maybe except for jobs where having a semblance of computer literacy gives you an advantage over other candidates – Victor S Dec 24 '18 at 7:34
  • If you see this requirement then stating "I can use MS Word" is usually a good response. This will get you past a tickbox system. If the job requirements are written such that Word looks like a really big deal then you could also give an example of a job where you have used Word. – P. Hopkinson Dec 24 '18 at 11:05
  • Microsoft offer an online training suite for their products. This consists of a few dozen videos and takes about two or three hours. If you work through it you get a little participation certificate. That should be sufficient for 99.9% of what employers want. – Richard Dec 28 '18 at 14:25

Most job postings that ask for this skill fall into the category

You need to use company templates to write MS Word documents and print them or save them in a partcular place. We don't want to pay for a beginner's training course, but we don't want anyone to use Comic Sans in official documents either.

If you know how to format a text with fonts and headlines, how to use the header and footer, how to add pictures and maybe even cross-references and special characters, you can rightly claim to have the skill "Microsoft Word".

If very special features are commonly used in the company, you can usually find a colleague who can explain it to you or find an instruction online.

Asking for "Microsoft Excel" on the other hand, is even more ambuguous because it doesn't have a set of default features everyone uses.

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    The commonly used advanced features of Excel require programming skills, which makes it even more extreme in "ambiguous range" than Word, which rarely needs such. – Juha Untinen Dec 24 '18 at 9:02
  • This answer is spot on. Many roles require basic computer skills and "must be able to use MS Word and Outlook" is the workplace version of: "we want you to be able to use a computer without it being a huge hassle". – P. Hopkinson Dec 24 '18 at 10:52
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    After leaving school I got rejected pre-interview for a number of jobs because I was answering the "MS Word" requirement by stating that I had database and coding skills and could use any computer program. What I didn't realise is that many of the people reading my application had no idea what any of the programming languages were (SQL, Delphi, Visual Basic) and hence were reading it as "this guy can use some computer programs but has no experience with Word or Outlook". These people were also a group that found Word and Outlook hard to pick up so assumed that I would also struggle. – P. Hopkinson Dec 24 '18 at 11:00

As a sometime hiring manager, if I see MS Word listed as a skill I expect it to mean good knowledge of VBA, customising Word for particular integrations and workflows such as report generation, deploying updates/patches to it across an enterprise, and so on. Word as a user is a common enough skill that I would not consider worth mentioning. Especially if the CV I was reading was sent as a Word document and was nicely formatted anyway!


There is no official number for this.

If a company specifically asks for MS Word experience you "probably" should put it in.

If they don't, it won't hurt mentioning it as an IT skill, potentially elaborating with "extensive experience", "standard knowledge", "scripting / macro guru" etc.

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