We are all digital citizens, whether using the Internet to book appointments, chat with friends on Zoom, or work remotely. Emphasizing your basic computer skills can help you in a job interview and even put you on a new career path. To discover what computer skills you need to help you land a job, keep reading.
Explore the categories of computer skills and uncover Career Karma’s advice on the top 10 basic computer skills to boost your CV, add to your cover letter, and land your dream job.
Types of Basic Computer Skills
Most people have at least some foundational computer skills, like sending emails or Googling. But the need to be more digitally literate is increasing as we are pushed further into the digital world.
Below are some types of computer skills and what they mean.
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Becoming familiar with digital technology is, in many ways, one of the first steps to building your basic computer skills. Learning how to use technological devices and software means you know how to navigate the digital arena.
For example, using a smartphone phone is vastly different than a laptop. Simple things like moving a mouse or typing can be intuitive to some, but for others, they may take time to learn.
However, digital technology is about more than just computers and smartphones. It can encompass a variety of hardware and software within those devices. Being technologically literate means knowing how to use websites, mobile apps, social media, digital televisions, eBooks, digital cameras, clocks, robotics, and more.
For those who are entirely new to technology and have no idea where to begin, there are plenty of books out there for beginners. Even reading the manual that comes with a newly-purchased technological device can help you gain a better understanding.
Software is one of the most important skills that employers will look for on your resume. These programs are tools that make the technology function. Examples include Microsoft Office, accounting software, and other industry-specific software.
Your digital environment refers to the layouts and software that are available to you. Each digital device has a specific format that you will use to navigate the device. It also refers to the software you use within the digital environment, such as apps, Word, Outlook, and more.
10 Basic Computer Skills for Every Job
It is a good idea to research which specific computer skills are required for your career. Check job postings and descriptions carefully to see if there are mentions of any role-specific computer skills, then practice those skills so you can add them to your resume.
Below are the 10 most in-demand, basic computer skills that employers will expect you to know.
Understanding an operating system like Windows or MacOS is the first skill you will need. If you are unfamiliar with these, getting to grips with how they work should be your top priority before moving on to the rest of this list.
This is one of the top skills required in many jobs, as you will often need to use Microsoft Word to create written digital documents. You may also need to know how to use Outlook to send emails or Excel to create spreadsheets and databases.
Emailing is a necessary skill to have, even before landing a job. When applying for a position, you may have to have an email correspondence with your prospective employer to send them your resume. When you are working, you will most likely need to send out emails as part of your job.
Social Media Skills
The Internet has a culture of its own thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Companies are using social media to help grow their businesses so being familiar with digital marketing and social media is key.
Software programs like Powerpoint allow you to create slides with images and text as part of a presentation. There are plenty of online presentation software options and knowing how to use these will help you in many types of careers.
Programs like Zoom, Slack, Trello, ClickUp, and Skype are commonly used for meetings and work discussions. Zoom and Skype are for hosting video calls and meetings with colleagues, while Slack is for work messaging and Trello and ClickUp are work organization tools.
QuickBooks is accounting software used by businesses to do bookkeeping, manage and pay bills and keep track of payroll.
Graphics and Writing Skills
These days, more employers are looking to create content for digital marketing campaigns. Being able to use Adobe Photoshop and graphic design programs like InDesign are worth adding to the list, even though they are not basic skills.
Being able to search Creative Commons and source images without copyright issues will also be a useful skill for online content creators.
Basic IT Skills
Troubleshooting begins with understanding when you should do routine maintenance, like fixing frozen programs or a damaged USB port. Examples include Diagnostics, Backup Management, Configuration, Client Server Management, and Client Support.
Career-Specific Software Skills
Most careers will require that you use specific software to help do your job. This ranges from computer programmers who use coding languages like HTML editors to movie scriptwriters who use software like Final Draft or data analysis experts who use Data Analytics.
Steps to Improve Your Computer Skills
- Begin by figuring out what skills you need to work on. Do you need to brush up on Excel spreadsheets or learn PowerPoint? Are your emails in need of a professional make-over?
- If the skill you want to learn is a particular software, download it or open it and begin playing around. Practice makes perfect as the saying goes, so familiarize yourself with the software.
- If the software is too complicated for you to figure out alone, why not sign up for a course to help you learn? There are many online courses available on websites like Youtube, Coursera, Edx, and Simplilearn.
- Asking someone is the simplest way to learn how to use anything computer-related. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend, family member, or colleague to show you the ropes.
Conclusion: Digital Literacy Is the Key to Success
There are a whole host of things to learn in the digital sphere, and these technical skills are becoming an increasingly important part of getting a job. Remember to take it step-by-step, practice the skills you need to work on, and seek help if you need it.
Digital literacy is the future as technological advancements will continue. If you think of ways in which technology is part of our lives, the list is endless. From digital alarm clocks to self-checkout machines to online banking and social media, technology is all around us. Now, go out and practice your basic computer skills today, so you can land your dream job.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.