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Why You Need to Strengthen Your Tech Skills

Jack McCallum
June 20, 2016

When you’re job hunting, you probably don’t realize many employers are looking for tech skills—even if you are not applying for a tech-specific position. Whether your career interest is business management, healthcare or any other profession, there are specific technology skill requirements which employers now expect from their employees. 

If you’re not super tech-savvy, don’t worry. Focus on the basics and work on strengthening your skill set. Here is a run-down of a handful of IT skills that will help you succeed in today’s workplace:

Email: Employers want someone who can go beyond hitting the “send” button. Since email is quickly outpacing the telephone as the primary source of communication, employees need to understand the importance of how to construct a professional email. Emailing is also utilized for far more complex and diversified tasks. Employees must be able to customize their emails with signature lines, logos, and links to additional information. You’ll also need to master the email platform—like Outlook or Gmail—to organize your mail in folders, schedule appointments, create calendars and keep track of contacts.

Spreadsheets: Spreadsheets are a way of life in the workplace. Many positions require the ability to create complex macros, understand and create formulas and know how to connect other systems (i.e. QuickBooks and Enterprise software) to the spreadsheets for quicker access to data.

Enterprise Systems: Many organizations utilize enterprise systems for their operational needs. These systems include Oracle, PeopleSoft, Cognos and more. Healthcare organizations have their own enterprise systems to track inventory control and electronic medical records. These systems are used seamlessly to integrate a variety of departments, such as accounting, human resources, customer management and supply chain management. Because of this, employees will find operating in these systems is an essential requirement of any job.

Microsoft Office: While people use this software at home, the workplace requires a broader list of applications. The MS Office suite of tools includes the go-to programs like Word for documents and mail merges as well as PowerPoint for creating engaging presentations. Knowing how to integrate graphics, sound, video and other files in a PowerPoint deck is a big plus for a job candidate.

Adobe Software: Employers mainly want to see proficiency in Adobe Acrobat. Many professionals need to be able to create files, combine files, export files, sign documents, certify documents, modify PDFs, create forms, add comments and Notes, etc. These skills are a must for administrative, managerial and creative positions.

Of course, some knowledge of social media is also important. As organizations look to expand their footprint in the digital world, employees are sought to provide the necessary expertise and exposure on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and WordPress. Employees who can demonstrate a working knowledge of social media are sought after by employers who want to remain current and expand their visibility.

To be at the top of a company’s applicant list, you need to hone your tech skills, include them on your resume and be able to talk about—and perhaps demonstrate—your expertise in an interview. Even seasoned employees find themselves struggling to climb the career ladder when they are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of social media or the steps to create a budgetary spreadsheet that pulls data from an enterprise system. Developing these skills and adding them to your portfolio will set you apart from the crowd.

Jack McCallum has been with the online business department at Herzing University since 2011. When not teaching, she serves as the President/Principal Consultant for HR Balance LLC—a consulting company specializing in human resources management, organizational development, leadership coaching, and training/development. She started HR Balance LLC in 2003 after years of serving in a leadership capacity for a variety of for-profit and non-profit organizations. A keynote speaker and presenter, Jack has served as an industry expert for radio and print media.


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