Many people choose to highlight their skill level with certain tasks on their resume, often using the word “proficient.”
However, the word proficient is vague and doesn’t help recruiters understand your actual knowledge. This can make getting a callback for an interview difficult.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- The importance of a strong experience section on your resume
- Meaning of the word “proficient”
- Synonyms for “proficient”
- How to communicate you’re proficient at something in your resume
- What to use on your resume if you have no experience
At the conclusion of this guide, you’ll have everything you need to clearly communicate your skill level on your resume.
Proficient - Meaning, Synonyms, and Examples
Most people have an experience section on their resume that details each job they’ve held and the responsibilities they undertook in that role.
This is the place the word proficient shows up the most. However, this weakens the overall description of your duties and the role you filled.
It is important to craft a strong “Experience” section. For example, rather than stating you are “proficient at Microsoft Office,” you want to concisely elaborate on your skills by using examples or evidence of them.
In this instance, you could say instead, “I have led monthly employee training sessions utilizing Microsoft Office products.”
This paints a clearer picture of what you know and how you’ve used the tools at hand.
Meaning of the word “proficient”
The word proficient means to have a strong level of understanding of something, usually through experience.
Synonyms for “proficient” - what to use on your resume instead
Some possible synonyms you can replace with proficient include:
Be careful to avoid antonyms for “proficient" on your resume, such as:
How to communicate you’re proficient at something on your resume
It is important when writing your resume that you communicate the real results you’ve been able to obtain throughout your job experience.
It isn’t enough to say that you’re proficient in something. You need to be able to prove how you solved a problem and provide examples of how your actions made a positive impact.
Let’s look at some examples.
- Don’t: I’m proficient in social media.
- Do: I have three years of experience as an acting social media manager, during which I grew the company’s Facebook following by 65%.
- Don’t: I’m proficient in handling money.
- Do: I am adept at processing cash and credit payments with an accuracy rate of 99%.
- Don’t: I’m proficient in leadership.
- Do: I am versed in leading monthly team-building activities for several departments.
What to use on your resume if you have no experience
You can still build a strong resume even without any prior experience. Presentation is more important than anything else.
You may elect to use buzzwords that describe your character, initiative, or active knowledge. Some of these include “persistent,” “industrious,” or “thorough.” These can certainly assist you in your job hunt, but if you really want to make your resume stand out, flesh the buzzwords out and incorporate them into more thorough ideas.
To have the best chance at landing an interview, it is important to write a strong resume. Ditch words like “proficient” and replace them with strong examples of your experience and proof of your impact as an employee.