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Don't List Basic Computer Skills On a Resume

Don't List Basic Computer Skills On a Resume

By Alison Green

August 04, 2009

A reader writes:

Is it really necessary to list computer skills on a resume? Shouldn’t basic skills be assumed at this point in history? I’m great with Microsoft Office and I know Macs and a couple of other miscellaneous programs, but I don’t know Photoshop or Dreamweaver or HTML or anything specialized. And my most recent position is “Administrative Assistant,” so isn’t computer use implied in the title? Can I save that space for something a little more, I don’t know, stand-outish?

Yes, yes, yes! I totally agree. There is no need to list basic computer skills, like Word, Excel, or Outlook, on a resume.

If you have specialized computer skills — in a program that isn’t being used by everyone in any office in the U.S. — list those. Or if you’re known for something really amazing in these basic programs, you could put that — like “became office Excel guru and trouble-shot all complicated Excel functions.” But otherwise, skip any mention of computer skills; there’s no reason to use up valuable resume real estate with it.

Frankly, in my dream world, candidates would instead list the expected skills that they DON’T have — like: “warning: I’ve never used a word processing program, and I don’t know how to attach a file to an email, nor am I likely to pick it up easily.”

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