These days, most jobs require some computer skills. With technology at our fingertips, we can send emails from our phones, participate in video meetings, and collaborate online.
The question is, do you know what basic computer skills employers are looking for?
Not all jobs are the same, but basic computer skills such as word processing are often expected. More advanced computer skills, such as graphic design, are often desirable.
If you're wondering which computer skills to list on your resume, we’ve created this guide to get you started.
Let’s take a look at the top computer skills for your resume and how they can help you land your dream job.
When you have computer skills, it means you are confident using computer hardware and software.
The basics such as turning on the device, typing, and saving files are standard and don’t usually need to be in your resume.
Advanced skills that are relevant to a workplace can be appealing to a hiring manager. These can include web design, interactive spreadsheet creation, or social media management.
Some computer skills are often essential, while others may only be relevant to certain positions.
Every workplace will have its own systems in place, and if you’re flexible, tech-savvy, and a quick learner, you’ll have a better chance of landing a job.
If you’re a job seeker, always read the job description because the recruiter may have specific computing requirements. If you have any skills that match their wish list, you should feature them in your resume or cover letter.
And don’t forget to be honest when writing your resume. Pretending you have experience in something like web design will backfire if your boss asks you to complete a task that requires those skills.
Read on as we take you through the top computer skills you may need in this digital world.
Microsoft Office is a suite of computer programs, including MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and Publisher.
Most employers expect candidates to have basic Microsoft Word knowledge, so this might not be in the job description.
Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with this word processing software. There are short courses that can help you practice formatting and improve your writing skills.
If you’re looking for an office job, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Powerpoint skills are often recommended. Excel is used to create spreadsheets and databases, and Powerpoint is for presentations.
Once you are competent in these programs, you can add them to your resume.
Every day, we send 306.4 billion emails. As one of the most popular forms of communication, knowing how to read, write, and send emails is often an essential skill for any job seeker.
Hiring managers often assume that you can navigate popular email tools such as Microsoft Outlook and Gmail. You may even apply for jobs via email.
You may also have experience creating and sending email newsletters. Or you may have spent time in tech support and troubleshooting, responding to customer queries online.
You can list these advanced email skills on your resume. For example, you could mention you were part of an online customer support team or responsible for inbound customer service.
Google Workspace, also known as G Suite, is Google’s selection of cloud computing apps. It includes Google Docs, Sheets, Drive, Calendar, and Forms.
Docs is comparable to Microsoft Word, and Sheets is like Microsoft Excel. Drive is for storage and sharing, Calendar is for planning, and Forms is for surveys. These apps are free, and you should have some knowledge of how they work.
You don’t need to list them specifically on your resume unless they are on the desirable skills list.
If you have them, you can add related skills that may use these programs to your resume, such as word processing, online collaboration, data processing, market research, or scheduling.
Social media is a computer skill many of us use in our everyday lives. Hiring managers are probably less interested in your personal profiles and how many friends you have. But most will be interested in business-related skills you’ve gained using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
Remember, most companies have a presence on social media. This could be an advantage if you know how to use management and scheduling tools such as Hootsuite.
Alternatively, you may have experience answering customer queries on Facebook Messenger, creating witty posts for Twitter, or making tutorials for YouTube. You should list these skills if they are relevant to the job.
Accounting software skills can be beneficial in a range of industries. Knowing how to use popular software programs such as Quickbooks, Xero, and MYOB will most likely be essential for finance or business administration jobs.
For other jobs, these skills can be highly desirable. For example, you may be applying for a job in an office or at a small family business.
You can bring something extra to the company if you can input bills, create invoices, and reconcile accounts with these systems.
Are you a Microsoft person? Or an Apple person?
Most companies will have a preferred operating system, and it will be helpful if you have the technical skills to navigate it. Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS are the most common in business, and you should try to become familiar with the basics.
Some companies use mobile devices. Because of this, consider learning how to use both Android and Apple iOS.
Depending on the job, the recruiter may mention the computer system in the requirements. If they do, you can address these criteria directly in your resume.
Alternatively, if it’s an office job, you can mention your competency in your cover letter.
For example, you could say, “I have five years of experience using both macOS and Microsoft Windows operating systems.”
Web development and design are advanced computer skills and require some programming skills, not just computer proficiency. If you have experience in CSS, HTML, Python, PHP, Dreamweaver, C++, or Java, it could help you get a job in programming or other related fields.
If you aren’t applying for a position in a digital industry, web design skills may still be useful.
For example, you may manage the company blog using content management systems such as WordPress, Wix, or Blogger. Or you can make changes and upgrades to their website.
If you have any qualifications or formal training in this field, be sure to add them to your resume.
Graphic design skills may be essential or desirable in different industries, including marketing, web design, and promotions. Businesses of all sizes and types can benefit from having someone on their team with graphic design skills.
If you have experience in any Adobe Creative Cloud suite programs, you can list them on your resume. For example, you may be competent in Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign.
You may also have a portfolio showcasing examples of your work on logos, email newsletters, brochures, and other projects.
The world has turned digital, and the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed traditional workplaces into more virtual ones.
To be competitive in a modern workplace, you need to be comfortable using online collaboration tools. For example, you should be able to connect to Zoom or Skype for video chat.
You may even need to use video chat for an online interview.
Other collaboration tools, such as the workplace chat platform Zoom or the file-sharing app Dropbox, may be part of the job. So having software skills in that field is important.
If you have experience using virtual collaboration tools relevant to the job, add them to your resume skills list.
Analytics is an important computer science skill used to collect and analyze data to find patterns. There is a range of different platforms available, and the information can be useful for targeted marketing, trend prediction, and goal setting.
If you have experience interpreting data using analytics software, it could be a key skill employers are looking for. This is most relevant for jobs in the tech space.
One of the most common applications is Google Analytics for websites. Understanding this data can help increase web traffic and give you insights into SEO.
Don’t let the word ‘cybersecurity’ intimidate you. Cybersecurity isn’t only for IT professionals and software engineers.
In short, cybersecurity (or computer security) protects computer systems and networks from damage, theft, or information leaks. Suppose you’re applying for an office job where you’ll be using a computer. In that case, basic cybersecurity is an important skill since employees who understand these basics may need to take fewer resources from an IT department.
So, what type of cybersecurity skills are important to know?
First off, it’s crucial to know how to install and use virus protection software. Viruses can slow down your work computer, leak files, and even damage the hardware if it’s serious enough.
It’s also important to understand how to be proactive when trying to avoid viruses. For example, you should learn how to detect a fraudulent email or a fake popup that contains a virus.
But cybersecurity goes way beyond virus protection. Password management is another important cybersecurity skill that is quite simple to learn.
Instead of using the same password for everything (or writing them down in a notepad, virtual or physical), consider learning how to use password management software if you haven’t already. Password management allows you to create unique, hard-to-guess passwords for every login you have.
This matters because all of your other accounts will remain safe if there’s a security breach or password link in one of your accounts.
With the Internet, everyone now has virtually unlimited access to find out just about anything in a single Google search.
But this unlimited sea of information is a double-edged sword. While online research is useful for finding out truthful, trustworthy information, you’ll also find many untrustworthy sources.
And knowing how to tell the difference is a valuable skill.
If you know how to verify sources, search beyond the first page of Google’s search results, and cross-examine different sources, you’re already steps ahead of many others who use the Internet for their research. So consider adding it to your computer skills list.
At first glance, problem-solving may not seem part of your relevant computer skills. Knowing specific computer software and hard skills is important. But it’s also important to know how to solve problems with technology as they come up.
This doesn’t mean you should know how to fix every single computer problem or have tons of hardware skills. However, the more problem-solving skills you have, the more information you can gather about your problem to inform the IT department adequately. Even having basic skills in this regard can help you stand out.
A frequent question IT professionals will ask you if you’re running into a computer issue is: “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” This may sound silly, but simply having the problem-solving skills required to think of trying this yourself is a highly valuable skill.
For example, let’s say your computer is running ridiculously slowly. To start solving the problem, you could see what programs are running in the background. If this doesn’t solve this issue, you’ll be able to tell the IT department that you have already verified this.
In some cases, your potential employer will use project management software like Trello, Asana, monday.com, and others to manage a plethora of tasks. These types of computer applications can do much more than manage projects.
For instance, you can use a Trello board to store standard operating procedures — the repeatable procedures used in the company to perform a variety of tasks.
If you’re brand new to project management software, start with a simple one like Trello, which is free to use. Asana is also free to use and more powerful, but it has a steeper learning curve.
In the same vein as project management, it’s important to know how to manage your time when working from a computer.
There are endless distractions that will pop up at you when you’re working at your computer. Knowing how to use project management software matters, but it won’t be much use without time management skills.
Some companies will block certain websites like Facebook or Youtube so that you can’t access them on your own, but some won’t. While it’s fun to access these websites during your breaks, they’re also a huge distraction.
One way to get deep focus is by using a free online Pomodoro timer. This timer lets you time yourself doing deep work for 25 minutes, then take a short or long break before starting again.
Not every job will require all of the computer skills on this list.
However, it would help if you had a basic understanding of word processing software, email, and operating systems.
Think about your career goals to determine if you have the right computer skills. If not, there are online tutorials and courses available. It’s never too late to learn new skills, and all you need is a computer to practice on.
If you want to dive deeper and learn some coding skills, you can check out a free resource like Code Academy.
Want even more free online resources where you can expand your skill set? Discover five free online resources to take courses, or check out our list of free online certifications that you can add to your resume.
Your local community center, council, or school may also offer training in essential computer skills.
Basic computer skills are essential for most jobs. Most employers will expect you to send emails, open Word documents, and upload files.
But what computer programs look good on your resume, and what should you list in your skills section?
Microsoft Office, social media, Google Workspace, Quickbooks, and Photoshop are just a few software skills on our list.
Don't forget to include computer skills in your resume that are relevant to the job posting.