Basic Computers Skills You Need on Your Resume: Examples, and Tips for Learning Common Software

Chelsy Meyer  | 

Because our world is becoming increasingly more reliant on technology, the job market is reflecting that change. Computers and digital applications are used in almost every industry, and will be necessary for everything from entry-level work to advanced leadership opportunities, or even for entrepreneurial endeavors. For this reason, having some basic computer skills is necessary in order to qualify for many available positions.

Not only is it important to understand which computer skills are considered to be basic, it’s also important to understand how to list those skills on your resume, and how to build your basic computer skills if yours are lacking.

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What Are Basic Computer Skills?

The very bare bones of basic computer knowledge includes things like: using email, navigating the internet, using social media, word processing, creating and reading a spreadsheet, and basic computer troubleshooting skills. However, definitions of “basic” may vary depending on the industry in which you’re applying to work. A job in the tech industry will demand a lot more experience with computers or specific programs than many other types of industries that require less technical knowledge. However, there are some programs and skills that are almost universally relevant in today’s job market.

Software and Application Skills You Need Most

In order to utilize many of these basic computer skills, you’ll have to use many popular software programs that correlate to each type of basic computer skill. Some common software programs include:

  • Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint are all common programs within the Microsoft Office software that are used for many of these basic computer skills.
  • QuickBooks: This is a popular accounting software that many businesses use for payroll and finances.
  • WordPress: WordPress is a popular website management system created for website and content creation.
  • Google Drive: This application is a file storage service that allows users to share files online using docs, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.
  • Adobe: Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, etc. are all software programs focused on design and editing images. These are slightly more specialized than the other programs listed here, but they are generally considered the standard for any graphic or design work you may do.

Though many of these software programs and applications won’t be used by every industry or career opportunity, they are common, and thus the best starting point for building or listing on your resume.

Software & Computer Skills to List on Your Resume

Your resume should be an accurate representation of who you are as an employee. However, it’s best to remember that your resume shouldn’t have the same content or description for every job you apply for. For instance, if you’re applying for a tech job, you don’t want to outline all of your basic computer skills. Instead, talk about your technical skills. Read closely into the job description of the position you’re applying for and match your keywords to theirs. Be careful not to offer too many skills that don’t apply to the position, but don’t sell yourself short, either.

There are a few options regarding where you’ll want to include your software and computer skills on your resume. You can include them in your experience section, work history section, in your training/certification section, or a skills section. Make that decision based on which section holds your narrative the best. If you learned that skill and received a certification for it, tell that story by including it in your training/certification section. However, if you utilized that skill in a work setting, you may want to include it in your work history section. Be sure to be consistent and have purpose with that decision.

How To Build and Improve Your Computer Skills

If you realize that your understanding in basic computer knowledge is lacking, it may be important to build on those skills in order to improve your resume. Because these skills are so prominent and common, learning them will give you and extra hard skill set that is highly transferable between industries. You can do this in a number of ways depending on the resources available to you.

  • Utilize a friend or relative: Whether you’re looking to gain more basic computer skills in general, or you’re looking to learn a specific software or skill, you might utilize someone close to you. If you have a friend or relative who is a computer whiz, ask for help.
  • Teach yourself: There are videos, books, and articles all over the place that can teach you some basic computer skills. Though not everyone learns best this way, some are great at teaching themselves these skills through these resources.
  • Adult learning opportunities: Local universities, adult learning centers, or your local Department of Labor may offer some local learning opportunities aimed at adults looking to broaden their skill set.

The career landscape is changing as technology becomes more prominent. It’s touching nearly every industry in one way or another, making basic computer skills necessary for many entry level positions in a wide array of careers. In order to keep up with the trends and make yourself a marketable attribute for these positions, it’s important to note which computer skills are considered to be basic, how to list them on a resume, and how to gain more skills if your knowledge is lacking. Like many useful soft skills, basic computer knowledge is becoming highly transferable. For that reason, it’s important to brush up on your basic computer skills in order to qualify for more career opportunities.


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Chelsy is a writer from Montana who now lives in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She enjoys talk radio, cold coffee, and playing Frisbee with her dog, Titan. Follow Chelsy on Twitter @Chelsy5

This post was updated October 17, 2018. It was originally published September 26, 2018.