Please endorse me for microfiche operation and Dewey Decimal expertise.

I was on LinkedIn the other day; I’m not sure why, other than it’s a thing I’m supposed to use to connect to people, most of whom I hope never to need to contact and never need to contact me, and some of whom I have already forgotten completely. Networking!

(Not you; I remember you well and would gladly recommend you for content strategy or budgeting or cheese-mongering or underwater basket-weaving, or whatever the hell you do.)

Anyway, this isn’t about LinkedIn; it’s about Microsoft Word.

I remember a time back in the day, when I had little experience or education, few marketable skills, and computers were less ubiquitous than they are today, when I would non-ironally list things like “Proficient at Microsoft Office” or “Skilled at Internet Research” as actual qualifications on my sparse, 19-year-old’s résumé.

(I’m old, so this was when unpaid internships were still partially understood by the masses as being exploitative unpaid labor; my father would have goggled if I’d announced that I needed to be bankrolled for a summer or intended to spend my own savings to live somewhere, work, and not be paid.

Anyway, this isn’t about unpaid internships either.)

I no longer list those things on my résumé, and I’d assumed that the vast majority of non-19-year-olds also avoid taking up precious résumé real estate touting their word processing facilities.

(Don’t get me started on 19-year-olds with multi-page résumés. This is also not about them.)

While I was browsing LinkedIn, I noticed that several people had listed “Microsoft Word” as a discrete skill, some also seeking endorsement of their word processing prowess. It causes me to ask: Are these people misguided, has LinkedIn simply freed people from the need to pare down and focus their experience, or has the idea of knowing how to use Microsoft Word become so retro that claiming expertise is now quaint in a vintage, crafty way, the way foodies are curing their own meats and pickling anything that stops moving for five minutes?

I mean, you have a master’s degree and five years of work experience. If your prospective employer’s offer hinges on how quickly you can change text from left-aligned to justified, I might suggest moving on.

Has Word come full circle as résumé fodder? If so, should I be seeking recommendations for other outdated skills, like playing the harpsichord, daguerrotype processing, or accessorizing ability with slap bracelets and/or charm necklaces?

Just wondering. I like to be up-to-date and hep.


  1. I dunno … I’d assume if you were a “personal assistant” or in some support role – OR – a legal secretary – it might be worthwhile to mention Word proficiency. Lord knows I can left/right/center-justify with the best of them. But ask me to insert legal citations, create an index/appendix and so some other “fancy” stuff – and I’m spending 2-hours to do it, because I don’t do it. (does that make sense, that’s not the way I use Word).

    Also? We some some “older workers” who find word processing (not to mention Outlook calendars & room booking) to be “new fangled” technology … and not very adept. (ps: sadly I work for a tech company).


    1. Point well taken. This isn’t the case for the folks I noticed, but you’re totally right. I’d still assume that it’s only needed if you have some kind of Microsoft SuperSkill, tho.


  2. Clearly – I am falling into that demographic myself – since I cannot compose a complete sentence on the intertubes. *sigh*

    It should read, “We HAVE some “older workers” ….


  3. When I was looking to switch jobs awhile back, I noticed that nearly every ad I encountered listed proficiency in Word as well as typing, basic math, and internet surfing. These were for jobs with 10+ years marketing experience!

    I include Office on my resume, and several people have endorsed me on LinkedIn for it…people who have received an e-mail via Outlook and thought, “Damn. That girl can e-mail.”

    I did have a boss (an executive level dude who made 250K a year) who couldn’t figure out that the coffee machine didn’t work because it wasn’t turned on. So maybe it does need to be said?


  4. I recently blogged about the day my computer almost killed me. Microsoft Word froze after I wrote two blog posts and had completed a 200 page revision of my book. In my defense, I didn’t back it up since I was still high on a general anesthetic. Long story short, I reverted to two days before and got rid of the glitch. Lucky me. Now I back everything up on an external drive and the cloud. I hate Microsoft Word! I will never understand it…


  5. You should see the antiquated job application forms some employers still use. Right after the place to fill in your typing and ten-key skills, they ask what “computer programs” you use, and how proficient you are in each. This is where I face a conundrum. Should I mention Word and Excel? And what the hell is a “computer program?” Does this include programming languages? Should I admit to having once taken classes in FORTRAN, COBOL and BASIC? They can’t ask your age anymore, but this would give that away quite nicely. And then I recently discovered that some employers out here in Zombieland still use those programming languages! Please, someone tell me which end is up.


  6. LOL, I joined LinkedIn because someone invited me. Clicked a few things, and now I’m getting endorsements. Did I ask for these? No. But I did put Microsoft Word as one of my specialties because I have a mastery certificate in it at an advanced level. Now I feel like my whole job (the glorious being-a-secretary one) is kind of a funny list of things to put on a resume, like who COULDN’T do this job? 🙂


  7. I learned daguerrotype processing! I mean, I sat in a class while the professor showed us how to do it so theoretically I could actually manage it. And I know Word processing. So according to you, I’m the perfect employee. I feel pretty good about that, you know?


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