Read any survey that tries to identify what skills employers are looking for in job-seekers and invariably computer skills will be near the top of the list. Because of this, resumes and cover letters often become a dumping ground for long lists of software and assertions of technical know-how. Since many job-seekers claim similar levels of computer knowledge and expertise, an employer who is inundated with resumes may have difficulty recognizing your technical qualifications even if you are the most tech-savvy applicant.
So how do you stand out from the crowd and demonstrate to a prospective employer that you know your way around a computer ? Simply stating that you have computer skills and knowledge of Microsoft Word 2003 is not enough in this competitive job market – here are four ways to demonstrate your skill:
1. Stake out some special ground. Many workers are comfortable in using Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. Many employers use alternate operating systems and office productivity software. Knowledge of Apple operating systems, Linux, Open Office and Google Docs is one sign of a job applicant who is very interested in technology and comfortable working in a variety of applications.
2. Take it to the next level. While many people can use Microsoft Access for data-entry, fewer people know how to design a simple database. Even more rare, is someone who can update a company website or maintain a blog. Being able to create a pivot table in Excel or to prepare a mail-merge in Word are other examples. Having these types of next-level skills on your resume will help you stand out.
3. Be Social. Some larger companies employ social media experts or brand ambassadors to manage their social media presence, but smaller organizations do not have that luxury. By listing your various social media skills (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) on your resume, an employer may realize that you bring value-added skills that may be used to help the employer with social media campaigns.
All of these employer expectations place extra pressure on job-seekers to stay current and to learn new technologies. Luckily, the Internet is an amazing resource full of free online courses, textbooks, software and tutorials that would allow a motivated individual to check off a number of the boxes mentioned in this article. Most job-seekers have some dead time in their job search schedule. Using three or four hours a week to learn a new skill or brush up on an old one can make all the difference in the world to an employer who is looking to hire someone who thrives in a digital world.