This is an illuminating post from Segun Akiode.
In my line of work as a recruiter, when I interview candidates, a question I often ask is, “What is your level of computer proficiency?” To this seemingly simple question, various shocking answers come up and the most ridiculous among them is, ‘I am good at browsing and I can chat on BBM.’
Unbelievable, right? Take it from me, when you interview people, expect the worst of answers, but never take it personal.
Back to the discussion. Is browsing the Internet and BlackBerry Messenger chats the same as computer proficiency? After all, how can you browse without a computer connected to the Internet? Follow me please. I’m trying to build a case here.
In today’s 21st century job market, it would be almost impossible to believe that job seekers would exist without having computer proficiency and hope to secure an employment opportunity. With technology changing quickly and constantly, employers worldwide are looking for tech-savvy job candidates for even non-tech related positions. The implication of this trend is that job seekers are required to have relatively strong tech backgrounds and skill sets to stay competitive.
Given the rapid pace at which technology is advancing, a smart job seeker is expected to evolve along with changing technological trend; otherwise, your job search may be dead on arrival!
Candidates that plan to be successful in their job search have to learn fast, creatively think outside the box and be ready for new technological tools. These tools go beyond smartphones, Android devices, tablets and the likes. We are talking more than these tools — you must know your way around a computer system (desktop or laptop) and its accessories.
Highlighted below are five of the most sought-after tech skills employers are hoping applicants would possess to add value to the job:
Emailing in the business world can be described as the life-blood of business communication. The days of physical letters are long forgotten! This may seem as an obvious fact, but don’t be surprised that a few job seekers have no clue how well to send emails, what manner of language and manner of written communication to adopt.
A certain candidate responded to an interview typing his response ALL CAPS. If you do such, it is assumed you are SHOUTING! How many of our job seekers know this?
Email is the contact hub for the workplace; it is the main way of contacting clients, connecting with customers and communicating with co-workers. As a job seeker, it’s important to know the basic features of composing, formatting, sending and organising your email. Use of Social Media abbreviations such as BR (Best Regards), LOL (Laugh Out Loud), URW (You are Welcome) and the likes are NOT accepted in business email communication. Emails are taken as formal communications, so job seekers must learn such to excel.
Microsoft Office suites
Microsoft Office suites are the de-facto office productivity software and job seekers MUST, at least, be familiar with how to use them. Key among the Microsoft Office suites is MS Word, MS PowerPoint and MS Excel. These three software have great benefit within the workplace. Interviewers have formed the habit of asking fresh graduates this question at interviews: ‘how good are you with Microsoft Office suites?’ A suitable answer to this question tells a lot about your readiness for the workplace.
It is believed that you’ve probably already used these for your university assignments/projects, presentations or calculations. Once you can demonstrate this at the interview or at a practical computer skills assessment, then your chances of getting a job just got better. This skill is always a bonus for employers and saves them a lot of training time.
Computer keyboard shortcuts
Ability to confidently type on a computer keyboard should be second nature for job seekers that hope to secure a job in this 21st century. As a plus, keyboard shortcuts save a lot of time if you know how to use them. Shortcuts exist for copying, pasting, printing, switching windows… you name it. Here are a few basic ones to get you started:
•Microsoft PC: Copy: CTRL + C; Paste: CTRL + V; Cut: CTRL + X; Undo: CTRL + Z; Redo: CTRL + Y; Print Screen: Print Screen, CTRL + P, etc.
•Apple PC: Copy: Command + C; Paste: Command + V; Cut: Command + X; Undo: Command + Z; Redo: Command + Shift + Z; Print Screen: Command + Shift + 4 etc.
These are a few basic computer keyboard shortcuts that job seekers must know.
Basic computer storage tools
As a job seeker, do you know what a USB flash drive is? Can you use it effectively? What about an internal or external hard drive? And cloud storage? Let me help you briefly:
A USB flash drive is a data storage device that includes flash memory with an integrated Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface. USB flash drives are typically removable and rewritable, and physically much smaller than an optical disc. They are used for storing computer generated data.
A hard disk drive (HDD) is a data storage device used for storing and retrieving digital information. When it is located within the computer system, it is known as an internal hard drive; and when it is not, it is known as an external hard drive.
Cloud storage is a model of data storage where the digital data is stored in logical pools. The physical storage spans across multiple servers located in a ‘cloud,’ which is not at your physical location, which is owned and managed by a hosting company. Examples of cloud storage apps are Gmail (Google drive), Dropbox, SkyDrive etc.
Social media skills
Now, I intentionally put social media skills as the last, for obvious reasons. Many job seekers spend all their time here and leave out the first four basic technology skills. Use of social media must be balanced with the initial four highlighted above. Many job seekers fail to realise that computer proficiency is not the same as social media proficiency.
Job seekers need to know that social media is a plus and not a break-skill.