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How to Choose Which Computer Skills to List on a Resume

How to Choose Which Computer Skills to List on a Resume

By Theresa Neal

Listing technical skills can be one of the hardest parts of writing a resume. On one hand, you don’t want to be overlooked because you forgot to include your extensive knowledge of Microsoft Excel or your long list of Adobe skills. On the other hand, the real estate space on your resume is limited, and your knowledge of C++ or QuickBooks easily outshines basic experience in MS Office.

Identifying which skills are most important to your career is of the utmost importance. For example, a receptionist should be able to type quickly and have a basic understanding of Microsoft Office. A marketing professional should have some experience working with social media and digital marketing tools, such as MailChimp and Zendesk, and a smartphone repair technician should have an understanding of Apple products. If you’re a receptionist running an IT networking business on the side, your networking skills might be worthy of valuable resume real estate, but then again they might confuse readers. Read on to learn more about when to list your unrelated skills and when to cut them out.

Focus on the Key Skills

Job descriptions can provide keen insight into the technical skills that are of greatest value to your potential employers, and it’s a good idea to scan them frequently to identify trends. A trend wouldn’t be a trend unless it was likely to change. As technical skills and roles evolve, new technical priorities emerge, so it’s important to review job postings frequently to see what changes are occurring in the industry. As you research, it’s also important to read between the lines. When you know the direction of an industry, you know what emerging skills may be of value and may even set you apart.

What Not to Include

Unless you are a technical professional, you don’t need to include every operating system you’ve ever used on a resume. Most employers will assume that you have a basic understanding of computers. This includes:

  •  Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and other browsers.
  • Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines (“Search Engine Optimization” and “Search Analytics” are both exceptions)
  • Social media platforms (with the exception of marketing)

You also shouldn’t include anything you aren’t comfortable using on a professional level. For example, if you took a Microsoft Access class in college but haven’t used it in a long period of time, you may want to consider leaving this skill off the resume or taking a refresher course. However, it’s important to note that you don’t have to have had professional experience using a tool to list it on your resume. As long as you would consider yourself proficient in the program, you may include it in a “technical tools” or “areas of expertise” section.

Deciding what is worthy of your resume and what isn’t can be very difficult. Professional writing services can help you determine what technical skills employers are currently looking for in a resume. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your resume’s technical skills.