On your resume, you want to ensure that you stand to potential employers. However, sometimes there is an area or skill in which you are “not proficient” but still want to highlight as important. Here we discuss 10 better ways to indicate a “basic knowledge” of something on your resume.
What Can I Say Instead Of Basic Knowledge On A Resume?
- Working Knowledge Of
- Familiar With
- Skilled In
- Introductory Knowledge
- Experienced In
- Fundamental knowledge
- Beginner Level
- Abstract Knowledge
- Key Knowledge Of
- Principal Knowledge Of
The preferred alternative to “basic knowledge” is to say “working knowledge of” because it indicates to the employer that you have the skills to perform the basic functions of the job. You may need to learn about the skill or area, but it won’t prevent you from performing the function.
Let’s look at these alternatives in more detail so that you can utilize them effectively in your resume writing.
Working Knowledge Of
If you say that you have a “working knowledge of” a skill on your resume, it implies that you have done some tangible work within the area indicated, but are not an expert in it. If you have recently graduated, it indicates that you studied the area extensively in school.
In this case, if you were hired by the employer, you could begin the job on the first day and perform the task that was described at a basic level. Along the way you would learn some additional skills in that area and may eventually become an expert.
Let’s look at some ways that use this expression to indicate “basic knowledge.”
- I have a working knowledge of buying and selling stocks, having interned for one summer at the stock exchange.
- You must have a good working knowledge of corporate accounting practices to succeed in this position.
- I have a good working knowledge of Oracle database management, making me a strong candidate for the position.
The phrase “familiar with” means that you have some knowledge about an area or a skill. You should use this phrase if you have been exposed to the skill or area in previous jobs or through research, but might not have substantial work experience with it.
In this case, you would need further training in order to independently complete a project or task within the skill set or area. It can be beneficial to list things that you are “familiar with” on your resume to show the potential employers areas in which you may have been exposed, but might not necessarily have completed actual work.
Let’s look at some examples.
- I am familiar with that method of teaching math, having researched it in my graduate studies classes.
- I am familiar with the general process of checking patients in for their appointments, but have not used that specific software before.
- I am familiar with using Excel, but have not worked with advanced formulas.
Use “skilled in” to indicate that you have broad skills within a certain area or line of work. It would imply that you have worked within that general area in the past, although you might need to tailor your skills to the specifics of the new position.
You should choose this alternative when you are not referring to something specific, like a coding language or computer program, but rather a more general area of knowledge (i.e., sales, customer service, etc.).
These example sentences show some context for the phrase “skilled in.”
- Looking for someone who is skilled in customer service and is comfortable responding to various complaints.
- I am skilled in performing sales calls, having worked the past 3 years performing this job in the field for a mid-sized company.
- Bob is skilled in public speaking and feels comfortable presenting to an audience.
Notice in the examples, that the area in which the person is “skilled in” is a broad area or a specific field (i.e., customer service, sales calls, public speaking). However, the person may need to learn additional specifics to succeed at the role in a new company (i.e., the specific product line or presentation requirements).
“Introductory Knowledge” is similar to “familiar with” in the fact that it also indicates that a person has a general knowledge about a skill or area, but most likely would require some supervision to perform associated tasks at the beginning.
It demonstrates that you have the starting point at which additional knowledge can develop. Thus, prospective employers would know that they wouldn’t have to start with you at the very beginning. You should be able to pick up a mastery of the skill required for the job after a short amount of time.
- I have an introductory knowledge of that specific programming language, but have worked extensively with other similar ones in the past.
- The candidate must have an introductory knowledge of basic sales metrics in order to interpret the weekly reports.
- Laine has an introductory knowledge of floral design, having taken a class locally for several weekends.
If you indicate on your resume that you are “experienced in” something, you mean that you have worked within the skill or area for a bit of time and can jump in to do the job without extensive training.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines “experienced” as “having skill or knowledge because you have done something many times.” You can use this designation if you have worked within a skill or area for a while and have good working competency, but not quite skilled enough to consider yourself an expert.
Therefore, this phrase is a step above “basic knowledge,” but a step below “expert.”
Let’s look at some examples.
- I am experienced in the Spanish language, having studied and lived in Mexico for three years.
- Many people who are experienced in their current jobs, are still lacking certain skill sets that could improve their performance.
- I am experienced in the basics of PowerPoint, having created numerous slide presentations.
When you have the “fundamental knowledge” of an area or skill, you have an understanding of the essentials and basics. However, you do not have enough in-depth knowledge to be considered an expert in the area.
You may want to use this phrase on your resume to indicate that you have “book” or “research” knowledge in an area, but might not have extensive real-world experience in the discipline at that point.
- He had a fundamental knowledge of human biology, but was not yet ready to practice as a doctor.
- I have a fundamental knowledge of the mechanics of a vehicle engine and could easily transfer this knowledge into figuring out the problem.
- Having just graduated law school, Mark had a fundamental knowledge of the rules and principles of the law, but had not yet gone to trial on his own.
You have a “beginner level” understanding of something if you have just started performing this skill or working in this sector and have done the tasks required of it in the real world, but only for a short period of time. This phrase is useful if you are an entry-level candidate.
Saying that you are at a “beginner level” can indicate that you do the job or skill well or correctly, but just have not done it for a long enough period of time to quantify how well you perform it.
See how these sentences show the individual is new at the skill or field.
- I have beginner level knowledge of computer programming, having only worked as a technician for less than a year.
- After nursing school, Lisa took a beginner level job at the hospital so she could grow more comfortable working with various types of patients.
- This teaching assistant position is a beginner level and perfect for the new graduate to familiar themselves with the basics of running a classroom.
Having “abstract knowledge” is another way of saying that you have a general knowledge about an area or skill. You understand the broad picture of it, but might not have applied it to real life actions or objects.
Use this phrase to indicate on your resume that you have studied or researched the area or skill, but haven’t yet used it in a real job setting. It would indicate that you may be capable of utilizing it effectively within the workforce if given the opportunity.
- Jane has an abstract knowledge of art from that time period, but has never specifically examined actual pieces from the era.
- You could tell by the politician’s speech that he had an abstract knowledge of the problems facing the citizens, but had never really worked on plans to remedy them.
- I have an abstract knowledge of beekeeping, having researched and written several papers on it for school, but have not yet had the opportunity to tend to my own hive of bees.
Key Knowledge Of
Say “key knowledge of” to show the employer that you know the main elements of the area or skill and based on that central knowledge, could independently work to complete a basic task before moving to more advanced ones.
The examples here illustrate this concept of “key knowledge of.”
- To be a business analyst, you must have a key knowledge of analysis, business domain, soft skills, and technical domain.
- It is important to have a key knowledge of hotel management to apply for the front desk supervisor position.
- To pass the class, you need to demonstrate a key knowledge of the main writers of classical English literature.
Principal Knowledge Of
Similar to “key knowledge of,” the phrase “principal knowledge of” also assumes that you understand the main concepts or most important parts of the skill or area. It may indicate that you have a good knowledge of these important areas.
If you are referring to a technical skill, it means that you know the part of the skill that is highest in importance and there may be other less priority aspects that you do not know well, but could potentially learn based on your full understanding of the main parts of the skill.
- Juan has a principal knowledge of programming, but hasn’t worked extensively with that particular program.
- The candidate should have a principal knowledge of wealth management and experience working with various investments.
- I have a principal knowledge of operating a forklift, having operated one in a large home improvement store.
What Does It Mean To Have Basic Knowledge?
Having a “basic knowledge” can mean anything from just being familiar with an area or skill to having worked within the area or skill in a real-world setting. It indicates that you have not achieved expertise in the area.
When listing skills and competencies on your resume, it is of course important to highlight disciplines or skills where you have an expertise, but at the same time, calling attention to your other areas of knowledge or exposure is also beneficial as well.
Consider incorporating one or several of these terms on your resume to accentuate skills in which you are “not proficient,” but capable of completing the core work along with expanding your current skill set through new experience.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.