What Computer Skills Are Employers Seeking (Plus Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 24 October 2022
Published 17 August 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Software skills can help you prepare, process and present information on behalf of a company. Knowledge of specific software, devices or applications can help you understand how to operate systems effectively. Learning more about what basic hardware and software skills you can include in your resume can help improve your application process. In this article, we discuss basic computer skills, as well as what skills employers look for and how to include them in your resume.
What are basic computer skills?
Basic computer skills are the ability to understand and use various software and hardware. Understanding hardware can simply be knowing how to turn machines off and on, or physically operate them. Hardware skills may also involve connecting machines together through wiring, or changing parts to help fix broken devices. Other hardware skills include understanding machine maintenance, or proper use instructions. Those who understand hardware may apply for technician specialist positions, understanding how to disassemble or fully repair machines in hospitals, factories or production lines.
Software skills can help employees operate programs, applications and other software within a computer or data system. Some software skills offer prerequisites for employment, such as understanding how to use spreadsheets, presentation software or word processors. Other software skills that employers may look for in a resume include understanding intranet systems, data management and document organisation. For some employers, understanding basic software is a requirement for employment.
What computer skills are employers looking for?
Many jobs may require understanding how to use a computer, mobile device or software applications in order to complete company objectives. While some employers may offer on-site training, others may require you to obtain this knowledge beforehand. Many career paths use software skills to operate daily activities, such as customer, food, technology or manufacturing services. Because of an increase in technology in the workplace, understanding software can make your resume more attractive to potential employers. Some skills that employers may be looking for when evaluating resumes include:
1. Operating systems (Windows and MacOS)
An operating system is software that supports and manages a computer's basic functions. Although there are many operating systems, most employers may use either Windows or MacOS. If you have more experience in one or the other, it may be helpful to spend some time learning the basics of the other operating system. You can often find both systems on computers at a library, although you may also be able to learn on the job as well.
2. Office suites (Microsoft Office, G Suite)
Basic knowledge of productivity software suites can add value to your resume. Office software suites utilise various collaboration and productivity tools, like Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel. Knowing how to use these applications can help you perform tasks on the job.
Word processors, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, are among the most commonly used productivity tools. They are writing programs used to help produce digital documents. Employers may often assume that most applicants know how to use word-processing programs. If you find yourself unfamiliar with how to use word processors, it may be helpful to research the basic skills required to use these programs. You may also want to practise navigating the most common features of these applications. Google Docs is a free word processor that you can access online for practice.
3. Presentation software (PowerPoint, Keynote)
Presentation programs such as PowerPoint and Keynote can help display your software skills. Presentation software is important to have a basic knowledge of in many careers, both for organising and presenting ideas in a company, internally and externally. There are several programs you can use to create presentations, including PowerPoint, which is the most widely used software across industries.
4. Spreadsheets (Excel, Google Spreadsheets)
Spreadsheets are applications used to organise data and other information into tables and quickly calculate numbers. Spreadsheets can help with advanced data analysis. Some employers may expect you to possess a basic working knowledge of spreadsheet software. If you're applying for more technical jobs, you may be required to know how to use advanced spreadsheet features.
Refer to the job posting to understand whether the employer is looking for these skills, and if so, to what level they require you to manipulate data in spreadsheets. If it seems your skills are not advanced enough, spend some time practising. There are many online and in-person classes you can consider taking.
5. Communication and collaboration tools (Slack, Skype)
Many businesses use communication and collaboration tools to help with productivity. If relevant to the positions you're applying to, you might consider listing relevant tools you're experienced with on your resume. Carefully review the job description to understand whether you can include this information. Tools such as Slack and Skype are popular among businesses where workers often telecommute.
6. Accounting software (QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Xero)
Accounting software skills are important if you're applying for positions in the finance or business sectors. If you're applying to work for a small business, accounting software skills may be useful if the company requires you to assume multiple roles in the business. That may include helping to manage accounts, payments or other financial data.
7. Social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)
As companies look to increase and manage their online presence, they may look for those with social media skills. These skills can help in positions such as public relations, marketing and advertising. Employers may often require knowledge of specific social media software like Hootsuite for many of these positions. If you're looking for a career in social media, you might be able to take on small projects at your current company to add these skills to your resume.
8. Data visualisation
Alongside basic knowledge of spreadsheets, having data visualisation skills might also be helpful in a data-heavy role. Spreadsheet programs like Excel may use data visualisation programs, while some others, such as Tableau or Datawrapper, allow you to take data from spreadsheets for more advanced visualisation and analysis. Data visualisation is growing in popularity as data analysis becomes more important for businesses, making this a good computer skill to learn.
Skill listing methods
There are multiple ways you can appropriately list your software skills on your resume. Listing the software skills that you're most familiar with can help your potential employer understand your experience, and where you may benefit from training. Some examples of how to list your software skills include:
Bullet list format: Listing your skills in a bullet listing format can help concisely summarise your abilities in a format that's easy to read. Additionally, using bullets to list your skills can allow you to include multiple skills efficiently, placing those you have the most experience with first.
Basic list format: A basic list format for your software skills involves listing them on a single line, in order of most experience. Using a list format allows you to summarise abilities into divided categories, allowing for relatively more items than in a bulleted list.
Sentence format: Using a sentence list format can help you summarise your abilities in a more detailed way. Showing your employer your skills through descriptive sentences may be helpful if you only have a few software-related abilities to describe.
Description format: The description format for software abilities allows you to summarise any abilities while describing your employment history. This format can be helpful when you want to describe your employment experience in relation to your skills, such as including a technical skill with a computer-related job you had in the past.
Related: What Are Technical Skills?
Software skill list examples for resume
If you're creating a list of software skills on your resume, you can use some of the following examples as inspiration for your list:
Proficient in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Microsoft Excel.
Experienced in social media management.
Understands how to use communication tools like Slack and Skype.
Technical skills: Trello, Microsoft Office Suite, WordPress, Slack
Basic computer software: Understands how to operate Windows' related products and operating systems.
Editing software: Can operate video and photo editing software efficiently to create various mediums of content.
Database software: Has knowledge of how to edit and operate various database systems such as ASQL.
Greenway Technologies | Singapore (April 2019 - August 2020)
Used editing software to prepare images and text for final publication. Used communication methods such as Skype to communicate with clients and coworkers.
The model shown is for illustration purposes only and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed.
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