Whatever industry you work in or your professional level of experience you have, computers are a part of everyday work life. While you might not need advanced skills, most jobs do require at least some level of proficiency in both hardware and software skills. So what’s the difference?
Hardware skills involve understanding how to operate a computer. At higher levels and in more technical fields, it might involve troubleshooting issues or changing or fixing broken parts. However, even at the most basic position, it includes knowing how to turn a computer or other device on and off and use it properly.
Software skills, on the other hand, are those skills that revolve around actual applications and programs. If you don’t know what a particular employer uses, they will generally train you on their different software systems. This is part of the onboarding process. If, though, you’re able to demonstrate experience and proficiency in a software system they already use, this can help set you apart from other candidates.
Bottom line? Whether you work in IT, or in manufacturing, law, medicine, food service, hospitality, customer service, or a different industry, you need computer skills on your resume.
Which are the most sought-after computer skills employers look for? Here’s a look at the top 5.
#1: MS Office or G Suite
Most companies use Microsoft Office or G Suite in some capacity, so being proficient in one or both of these will help you get up and running faster on the job. This includes applications like Google Docs, or Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.
If you’re applying for positions in administration or as an office manager, for instance, then these programs will be even more important to highlight on your resume or in your cover letter. Likewise, if you’ll be working in sales or another position in which making presentations or reporting data are important, then proficiency in programs, like Excel and PowerPoint, or Google Spreadsheets, will be key.
#2: Communication Tools
Whether a company uses Slack, Skype, Meetup or Zoom, experience with these programs will help position you as a strong candidate. If the position is telecommute, hybrid or remote, then highlighting your knowledge in these areas is especially important. Likewise, if the job description lists one of these, such as Slack, then including your experience with this application will help increase your chance of getting a call for an interview.
#3: Accounting Programs
Other programs that are important to know for certain finance-related positions include FreshBooks, QuickBooks, Sage50, Zoho Books, or Xero. Whether you’re an accountant, office manager, or accounts payable assistant, knowing one or more of these will be helpful in your future role.
#4: Social Media
From Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and more, knowing your way around these and other social media sites is crucial for certain positions. Think marketing, public relations, and communications. However, if you’re working in an administrative role for a small business or a start-up, for instance, you might also be charged with managing these channels.
In addition to knowing how to navigate your way through these sites, it’s also important to be able to analyze the results, such as from software like Google Analytics or Hootsuite. These are social media management platforms that enable you to monitor the effectiveness of your social media strategy and make changes when needed.
#5: Computer Programming
If you’re applying for a position in IT, then you’ll need to showcase your technical skills. However, other positions, like those in marketing, can benefit from computer programming skills, too.
So, if you’ve get them, flaunt them on your resume and in your cover letter. For more technical positions, like the role of computer programmer or web designer, it’s important to demonstrate proficiency in areas like HTML, Java and UI / UX.
How to List Computer Skills On Your Resume
Now that you know the top skills to showcase on your resume, the next step is writing about them in the best way. For instance, rather than just listing your social media skills on your resume and the sites you’re familiar with, write in your cover letter about a certain project you spearheaded and the results you achieved. This will not only communicate that you have the right-fit skills, but also the proven track record to add value to a future employer.
Another way to showcase your computer skills is to create a “Computer Skills” section for them on your resume. Use a subhead and create a summary of your skills with bullet points for the relevant programs you know. You can also include them in your “Work History” section if a particular program was important for your current or a previous role.
For instance, you can state something such as:
“Used QuickBooks to manage business finances, process invoices and payments, and supervise all aspects of bookkeeping.”
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