Nowadays, corporate offices are littered with computers, laptops, tablets, and a slew of other electronic devices. We rely on technology more and more with each passing day, and it’s never been more critical to list essential computer skills on your resume than it is right now. That goes for whether you’re applying for your umpteenth corporate role or drawing up a high school resume. The rise of the electronic age and the way it permeates our daily work and home lives has forced nearly every role out there to require at least a basic understanding of computers and digital tech. When you can, you’ll increase your chances of landing a job by compiling a list of essential computer skills for your resume, and we’re going to examine what you need to know in this article
Let’s face it, technology has made it easier for us to work – but the speed at which things change brings more onus to keep on top of skills and learning. No time in history has illustrated this quite like the recent COVID-19 pandemic. For many organizations, things have changed overnight. For some, that’s meant pivoting to take advantage of an opportunity to improve efficiency, but in the case of others, digital transformation was a way of surviving lockdowns.
What Are Computer Skills?
Computer skills can be broken down into two primary categories. The first is hardware, including any physical devices, peripherals, and any ports or physical network connections. The second is software, which is generally considered to be the programs and applications used on different devices.
Specific industries and job titles will require different hardware and software skills. Understanding and mastering certain hardware skills won’t make you an expert in the software and vice-versa. Depending on the role and position you’re applying for, you will need to ensure that you have the correct level of either hardware or software skills.
Why Are Computer Skills So Important?
The vast majority of organizations are set up for the digital age. We increasingly utilize the cloud and operate across time zones; businesses are connected digitally – both internally and to the outside world. Our communication, correspondence, and processes depend on that. With the rise of technology and the way it is powering the modern, global economy, it’s impossible to ignore or neglect the need to have digital skills.
While a basic understanding of these computer skills is admirable – and a good place to start – there’s no doubt you’ll stand a better chance of landing your preferred role if you qualify as an expert in any specific field. Competition for jobs is as strong as ever. The more real-world and in-depth experience with computer systems you can gain, the higher up the pecking order you’ll sit. Digital isn’t going away any time soon. The demand for computer skills will only grow as we move forward. Developing your understanding and knowledge will make your day-to-day work life, your career – and your career progress – easier and quicker. That’s not to mention the fact that the more qualified you are, the more future-proof you are, too – and that’s exceptionally relevant heading into 2021.
Essential Computer Skills for Your Resume: Get with the Program
Common computer skills get used, and indeed are more popular, amongst most companies and industries. These computer skills are generally common across many devices, and your mastery of the skill can be easily transferred. Understanding and mastering one of these skills will only ever be helpful when you’re searching for most jobs – and in fact, you might consider that a basic requirement. Some basic computer skills are machine-specific, while others relate more to an individual industry. Others can be strongly associated with something like a marketing practice or bookkeeping, for example:
- Operating Systems
- Office Suite
- Presentation Software
- Communication Tools
- Digital Marketing
- Computer Programming
- Graphic Design
- Business Analytics
- Social Media
Learn Your Way Around Operating Systems
Operating systems are the software that manages the functions of an electronic device. Each device or platform has its own operating system, which enables it to run. The two most common computer operating systems are Windows and macOS. It’s useful to have at least a basic understanding of both systems, but you should aim to be fluent in one as a minimum.
Get Comfortable with Office Suite
Generally, Office Suite gets used to describe the Microsoft Office suite of products. That includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Each Office Suite program has its own function, capabilities, and offerings – and perhaps its own place. Office Suite is one of the most popular corporate programs. It gets used at all major companies. Most employers require candidates to have at least a basic understanding of Microsoft Office programs and functions.
Show off Your Presentation Software Skills
Presentation software skills give employees the ability to create, design, and showcase a deck. The most commonly used application out there is Microsoft PowerPoint. Understanding how to create and design beautiful presentations will help you when you need to convey information in an easily digestible format.
Talk the Communication Tools Language
Interoffice communication has evolved rapidly in recent years, and we work less and less on the phone these days. Understanding basic communication tools such as Slack and Skype are beneficial in communicating with colleagues, co-workers, and your manager.
You Can’t do Without Spreadsheets
A sound knowledge of how to use spreadsheets is one of the most crucial computer skills you can possess. That includes being proficient using Microsoft’s Excel and the Google Spreadsheets application. Spreadsheets are useful for organizing large datasets and consequently get used for fundamental data analysis. With more technical and advanced positions, understanding how to parse large datasets and handle complex information are requirements of the job.
Digital Marketing is in Demand
Digital marketing utilizes social media and the internet to target clients and customers. It involves maintaining and understanding the impact of certain digital marketing channels. That can include website analytics, email marketing, and search engine optimization.
The Rise of Computer Programming
Get Behind Graphic Design
Graphic designers create visually attractive and aesthetically pleasing content for documents, posters, presentations, and marketing materials. Their work can be used for both static images, as well as video and animation. Understanding Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator are two common computer skills. Many modern graphic designers have skills explicitly related to web design, like user experience (UX) and user interface design (UI). These days, many businesses use a website as their storefront, and the way customers interact with that can define how successful they become.
Buy into Business Analytics
Understanding how to parse and contextualize data beyond spreadsheets is the job of business analysts. It’s an important role within any company, and like anything else in the modern office, much of it requires a high level of digital competence. Experience using software such as Looker, Tableau, and SAS are highly desirable skills.
Get Social Media Savvy
Social media platforms have been about a lot more than staying in touch with friends for a long time now. They also allow businesses to connect directly with their customers and gain much knowledge about their shopping behavior. Understanding how to use social media tools effectively can help you to sell yourself in a highly competitive job market – because the rewards for organizations are well known. While social media skills include the bigger players such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, it’s also a massive plus to have experience with social media management platforms because even smaller companies utilize multiple platforms. Even if your role doesn’t require social media, it’s a great idea to be on top of LinkedIn because that’s a great place to build networks and advance your career.
There’s No Escaping the Need to Update Your Digital Skills and Keep Your Resume on Message!
Essential computer skills for your resume aren’t an optional extra, you really need to include them. It doesn’t really matter what you do these days; the digital transformation is almost all-encompassing. You need digital skills if you’re applying for work in a customer service role. In a recent study by McKinsey, respondents said they are three times likelier now than before the crisis to conduct 80% of their customer interactions are digital in nature.
If you’re in administration, the same survey found that 54% of companies think remote working will continue after the pandemic. For retailers, 53% expect online sales to remain the norm, and even if you work near the top of an organization, there’s no escaping computer literacy – with 49% of respondents predicting an increased use of advanced tech in business decision making.
Conclusion: It’s Never Been More Important to Think About Essential Computer Skills for Your Resume
Amid uncertain times, one thing has become frustratingly clear. With so many different collaboration and communication platforms being employed, it can be challenging to assess which ones you should put on your resume. Generally, the best computer skills to include are the ones which are most often used and are more popular at the time of your job application. Sometimes, employers will specify requirements for aptitude with specific software or systems, so be aware of that when you tailor the technical aspects of your resume for each role – as well as making sure to talk up your soft skills too.
Try to keep your resume as relevant and current as you possibly can. For instance, back in 2006, waxing lyrical about how you knew the Blackberry inside-out might have been enough to land you an interview. That’s unlikely to happen in 2021, so do your research – and top up your skills where necessary. When you’re compiling a list of the most essential computer skills for your resume, think about the programs, software and devices most prevalent in today’s workplaces.