How to Properly Display Office Skills for Resume
Written by Sarah Edwards, Author • Last updated on May 17, 2024

Office skills on resume: A comprehensive guide

Crafting an effective resume is critical for any job application. No matter what field you’re in, adding the right office skills can showcase your administrative capabilities and give you an edge in the hiring process. Here are some insights and guidance to help you select the office skills that are appropriate for your resume and will set you apart from the crowd.

Office skills: What are they?

Unless you work in a purely physical job (such as manufacturing or warehousing), you will likely need office skills to accomplish your daily tasks. Office skills are administrative responsibilities that help employees function in an office setting. 

While these can certainly encompass computer-related skills like working with word processors or database software, they also include skills like time management, organization, communication, and a positive attitude.

Office skills may seem trivial on the surface, but they actually play a crucial role in helping office employees work efficiently. In many roles, it’s impossible to do the job without them. 

Including the right office skills for resumes lets hiring managers know that you have the necessary expertise and tools to be effective in the position. When done right, it shows those reviewing your resume and cover letter that you will be an asset to the team.

Why office skills matter on a resume

According to the prestigious multinational management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, social, emotional, and technological office skills are becoming more crucial in an age when machines have taken over repetitive physical tasks. As many as 31% of HR professionals report difficulties recruiting candidates with robust communication skills. (1)

Meanwhile, 40% of companies have prioritized addressing basic digital skills, interpersonal skills, and adaptability. And 50% are looking to address project management, decision-making, and leadership skills. (2)

Because companies are actively looking to add or develop these types of office skills within their workforce, having them on your resume can act as a differentiator in the hiring process. It sets you apart from others when you have what hiring managers need.

Additionally, these and other office skills contribute to your overall job success. Having skills with office technologies ensures that you can use the necessary tools to input and process data, gain insights, and make proper decisions. Tailoring your resume examples to include soft skills like communication and collaboration shows hiring managers that you can work with others on your team to accomplish a common goal.

Expert Tip:

Do some research and see what new initiatives the company is working on. On your resume, list a few office skills that can help the company achieve those goals to show the hiring manager that you’re perfect for the role.

Top office skills any employer looks for

In this day and age, many employers are looking for the following skills to help their company achieve strategic goals:

  • Leadership: Ability to manage yourself and lead others toward a specific goal
  • Critical Thinking: Ability to properly assess situations and make good decisions
  • Project Management: Ability to complete tasks within given constraints
  • Adaptability: Ability to gain and apply new knowledge in unfamiliar situations
  • Basic Digital Skills: Ability to use tech tools like word processors and databases
  • Interpersonal Skills: Ability to communicate, collaborate, and build relationships
  • Complex Information Processing: Ability to interpret and analyze data

General office skills like scheduling appointments, creating presentations, managing suppliers and inventory, providing customer service, and paying attention to detail are important in a variety of settings. It’s important to know how to develop these skills and to know which specific office skills to put on resumes.

"Office skills may seem trivial on the surface, but they actually play a crucial role in helping office employees work efficiently."

Identifying the right office skills to put on your resume

While many office skills are universally helpful when it comes to many different types of jobs, you need to pinpoint the right office skills to list on resumes for the specific employers you want to work for. Each workplace will have different needs, and as most resume articles advise, you should tailor your resume to show that you can meet them.

One way to develop a list of office skills for resumes is to research your target industry online. Even a quick Google search will help you identify skills that are most important for your role and industry. Some examples of these might include:

  • Management: Communication, motivation, decision-making, strategic thinking, problem-solving, forward planning, and organization
  • Graphic Design: Collaboration, customer service, project management, decision-making, and tech skills to use programs like Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Sales: Communication, account and database management, email and word processing, negotiation, customer service, collaboration, and organization 
  • Marketing: Data analysis, empathy, collaboration, organization, research, listening, attention to detail, adaptability, and critical thinking
  • Accounting: Communication, data analysis, problem-solving, critical thinking, integrity, and the ability to use software like QuickBooks

Another tactic you can use when formulating office skills for resumes is checking the job description for any necessary skills that the hiring manager has already listed. If you decide to apply for the job, those skills should definitely make it onto your resume template, as doing so can help ensure your resume makes it past electronic tracking systems.

Finally, consider connecting with other employees via LinkedIn or other social media platforms. This will allow you to ask questions about the office skills they use in their everyday work and help you decide which ones you can and should include on your resume.

How to effectively showcase office skills on a resume

You have a few options when it comes to showcasing your office skills on your resume. Some candidates like to create a dedicated skills section for this purpose. You can lump all your skills into one bulleted list or separate them by category. For example, you may decide to list your general office skills and key skills for the job separately or differentiate your technical and soft skills.

You can also choose to discuss your skills in a more narrative fashion. This is best accomplished in your professional summary section or by tweaking your cover letter templates to include it so that you can add additional context.

One last option is to sprinkle information about your office skills throughout your resume. For example, you can include a separate bullet point for skills you learned in each position when you list your job history in reverse chronological format.

In some cases, you may need to provide evidence that you actually possess the office skills you’ve listed on your resume. One way to do this is to present degrees or certifications that cover that skill set. 

It puts hiring managers at ease when a legitimate institution has put its stamp of approval on your skills. Additionally, you may want to provide a portfolio with evidence of projects you have completed where you used the skills you have listed or references that can vouch for your skills. If you include a separate list of references, don’t forget to adjust your cover letter examples to indicate that the list is attached.

Common mistakes to avoid when including office skills on a resume

When formatting your office skills for resumes, there are some common pitfalls you need to be aware of and seek to avoid, including:

  • Including skills that are irrelevant to the job
  • Including skills that are too general
  • Not backing up your claims with evidence
  • Embellishing your professional skill set
  • Making grammar or spelling mistakes

To avoid these types of mistakes, align your list of skills with the job description. As most resume and cover letter articles will tell you, always be honest about your skill set and proofread your application before submission.

Use relevant office skills to create a standout resume

Choosing the right office skills for resumes is crucial to stand out. It shows hiring managers you have the necessary knowledge to be efficient and effective in your day-to-day work. To optimize your resume with office skills, make sure to research your industry and the company to see what skills are important for the job. Additionally, align your list of skills with those included in the job description. Don’t forget to back up your claims with evidence.

No matter how extensive your skillset is, seek to keep growing. Employers’ needs change constantly. Developing a love for continuous learning and improvement ensures that your skills are always up-to-date and in demand.


(1) McKinsey & Company: Soft skills for a hard world

(2) McKinsey & Company, May 11, 2021: Soft skills, strong impacts

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Sarah Edwards
Sarah Edwards
A seasoned HR writer with more than a decade of experience, Sarah crafts insightful guides and timely articles that help people grow their skills.

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