Important Technical Skills Everyone Should Have
Do you have the technical skills you need to land the job you want? In today’s job market, having a range of technical skills under your belt is essential.
Why are Technical Skills Important?
A technical skill is the ability to carry out a task using a specific software, web-based application, or other piece of technology.
The more technical skills you have, the more attractive you’ll be to a potential employer. Having a wide range of technical skills shows that you’ll be working at full capacity sooner than candidates with fewer skills.
Let’s look at some of the most important technical skills everyone should have.
What Technical Skills are Essential?
You want to be able to tell every recruiter and hiring manager that you have the technical skills needed to handle:
1. Operating systems
The operating system is the software that supports a computer’s basic functions.
The two most popular operating systems are Windows or MacOS. If you have experience with only one type of operating system, then spend some time getting familiar with the other.
2. Word processing software
Every employer will expect you to know how to use word processing software to create a document that’s attractive, organized, and easy to read. You should also know how to edit documents that are sent to you and how to use basic formatting commands.
The world’s most famous word processing program is Microsoft Office, but Google Docs has been gaining popularity in recent years. Get to know them both.
3. Presentation software
When you need to show or explain your ideas to clients, prospects, or internal stakeholders, then you need to know how to create a presentation.
PowerPoint is the most widely used presentation software across industries. Keynote is another popular option. Developing your presentation skills using either program will impress a recruiter or hiring manager.
4. Spreadsheet software
Are you interested in a job that deals with data and numbers? If so, you’ll want to become proficient with spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel and Google Spreadsheets.
Honing your spreadsheet technical skills using either program will enable you to calculate, sort, organize, and make sense of a ton of data in no time. This is a particularly valuable technical skill as data analytics is becoming more and more important to all kinds of employers.
5. Video conferencing software
Knowing how to use video conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, or Zoom has suddenly gone from a “nice to have” skill to an essential technical skill almost overnight.
Most meetings these days are held via video conferencing so your employer will expect you to know the basic functions. You don’t want to be the only one in the meeting fumbling with your camera or not knowing how to mute yourself.
6. Project management software
Gone are the days of workers shuffling paper and folders from desk to desk. Today, corporations everywhere are using project management software to help project managers and teams collaborate, share work, allocate resources, and track time.
Asana, Trello, Slack, and Workfront are just a few of the seemingly endless options out there. As long as you understand how a couple of these work, then you can figure out any other project management software pretty quickly.
7. PDF software
If you work in any corporate office in America, then you’re going to come across PDFs. A PDF is a file format that enables you to save and share documents that cannot be modified. PDF documents appear the same on all computers and applications, which enhances their appeal.
Adobe Acrobat is the gold standard software for working with PDFs. At a minimum you should know how to create and share PDFs with co-workers. Also, understand how to “markup” a PDF with your comments.
8. Accounting software
It’s a good idea to make sure that you’re familiar with QuickBooks, Xero, Freshbooks, or another type of accounting software.
Accounting technical skills are particularly useful if you are applying for a financial job with a small or mid-sized company where you may have to manage accounts, debits and credits, or financial data. Administrative assistants with accounting software skills are highly prized as well.
9. Social media
Of all the social media platforms out there, you should at least have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is social media for professionals—no memes, no politics, no vacation pics.
Learn how to post content, comment on others’ posts, and invite people to join your network. It’s guaranteed that your prospective employer will search for your LinkedIn profile before hiring you. Not having a profile will make you look like a dinosaur.
This technical skill almost doesn’t need to be mentioned. These days, not knowing how to use e-mail is like not knowing how to use a telephone.
Microsoft Outlook and Gmail dominate the corporate landscape but be sure that you know how to do more than send a simple email. For example, know how to send an attachment, create a calendar invite, organize folders, and format messages.
11. Instant messaging
When e-mail just isn’t fast enough, there’s instant messaging. Similar to texting, you can send messages to coworkers as fast as you can type and get an immediate response. It’s a conversation in real time.
There are dozens of options for instant messaging software. You can’t master all of them, but you should get familiar with the more popular applications such as Skype, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Spark, or Troop Messaging.
Technical Skills Make You a Top Candidate
Employers will love to see a robust list of technical skills on your professional resume and will be more likely to call you for and interview.
As a candidate with strong technical skills, you’ll enter the interview room confidently, knowing that you have a lot to offer your future employer and be able to nail your next interview.
Ben St. Jacques is a Senior Copywriting Manager that is a regular contributor to Empire Resume’s blog. Ben has a strong background in corporate communications, developing newsletters, copy editing, and copywriting for a wide range of audiences.