My clients frequently worry that their computer skills are lacking. In most cases, they don’t need to worry. Here’s an easy test. If you’re seeking a job similar to your most recent jobs, you probably have the right kind of computer skills. You might not have used the same software, but you performed a similar function. As a second test, collect 10 job posts for the kind of positions you to want pursue. Check the computer and software skills that employers require. If they seek experience in a program you don’t know, research that software. In many cases, you have used something similar.
Think of computer skills as your tool box – what tools do you need to know to do your job? Once you have a good answer to that question, you can decide if you need to pursue training. Community colleges often offer reasonably priced computer classes. The Internet offers several online training services, some of which are free. If you need to brush up your skills find the option that works best for you. Don’t let a lack of computer skills be an excuse not to pursue your job search.
Just as some people change fire alarm batteries at the fall time change, the New Year is a good time to look at your resume and update it. The first question to ask is if your resume still fits your career goals. Are you doing the same thing? Looking for a promotion? Attempting to change careers? If you’re not doing the same thing, your resume needs to change.
Even if you’re not making a major change in your career, the New Year is a good time to take stock of what you have accomplished in the past year. Before you edit the resume, make a list of your success stories from the last year. Compare these achievements to those currently listed on the resume. Refresh any dated material and add new elements. You don’t have to add everything you’ve accomplished over the past year. Add only those examples that make your resume stronger.
Finally, test important details that are easy to miss. Is your contact information (address, phone number, and email) correct? Have you learned any new software or technical skills that should be added? Have you completed any new education, training, or certification? Have you joined any professional groups? Give your resume one more good review. This time your goal is to take off any information that is dated or no longer relevant.
The New Year is a great time to plan and make changes. If you’re plans include career advancement or finding a new job, remember to refresh your resume.
I recently asked a client what MS Office programs she used at work. My client asked me, “Won’t they know that? Everybody uses Office now.” There are two problems with her statement. First, not everyone knows the software or uses the same program. The second problem is that it ignores the employer’s message. I’d estimate that more than 50% of job postings ask for specific examples of software. If we as job seekers don’t include a list of software, the employer is likely to assume that we don’t know software needed to do the job. Don’t let your assumptions lead employers to make incorrect assumptions about you. Know what the employer needs and spell out your qualifications.