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Written by Paul DruryPaul Drury

Computer skills: The best skills to include on a CV

26 min read
Computer skills: The best skills to include on a CV
In today's job market, computer skills are often a necessity. Whether you're proficient in Microsoft Office or a pro at programming with Python, the right digital expertise can open doors in any industry.

At cvapp.ie, our experts have analysed the latest hiring trends to identify the most sought-after computer skills employers are looking for. But with the rapid evolution of technology, knowing which computer skills to highlight on your CV can be overwhelming. From basic digital literacy to specialised software knowledge, we'll guide you through crafting a CV that showcases your technical strengths and lands you that coveted interview. 

What are computer skills?

In the simplest terms, computer skills are the abilities needed to use computers and related technology effectively. These skills range from basic tasks like sending emails and browsing the internet to more advanced capabilities like coding, data analysis, and cybersecurity.

Certain computer skills are particularly sought after by employers. Proficiency in the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) is almost universally expected across various industries. With Ireland's thriving tech sector, knowledge of programming languages like Python, Java, or JavaScript can open doors to numerous opportunities. Additionally, skills in data analysis, cloud computing, and digital marketing are highly valued as businesses increasingly rely on digital tools and strategies.

Beyond technical skills, "soft" computer skills like digital communication, online collaboration, and information literacy are also essential in the modern workplace. The ability to communicate effectively through email, video conferencing, and project management tools is also important, especially with the rise of remote work. 

Furthermore, understanding how to evaluate online information critically and stay updated on the latest digital trends can significantly enhance your professional value in the job market.

The importance of computer skills

In today's digital age, computer skills are the backbone of countless professions. A strong command of these skills can elevate your career in numerous ways, from securing a job to achieving promotions and even starting your own business. 

By mastering relevant software, programming languages, or digital tools, you demonstrate adaptability, problem-solving abilities, and a commitment to lifelong learning; traits highly valued by employers. 

Here's a glimpse into how computer skills can propel your career across various industries: 

Information Technology: Technical computer skills are essential for IT managers, network engineers, front-end developers, and cybersecurity analysts. 

Business and finance: Data analysts, financial analysts, accountants, and marketing professionals utilise software like Excel, SQL, and various CRM platforms to manage, analyse, and interpret data. 

Creative industries: Graphic designers, web developers, video editors, and digital marketing professionals employ specialised software like Adobe Creative Suite, Figma, and various content management systems. 

Healthcare: Medical professionals, such as nurses and doctors, utilise electronic health records (EHR) systems, while researchers rely on data analysis tools for clinical trials and studies. 

Education: Teachers leverage digital tools for lesson planning, online instruction, and student assessment. 

No matter your field, honing your computer skills can significantly enhance your employability, productivity, and overall career trajectory.

Expert tip

Don't just list your computer skills—quantify them. Instead of saying, "Proficient in Microsoft Excel," showcase your achievements with details like "Used Microsoft Excel to streamline data analysis, saving 15 hours per month." This demonstrates the tangible value you can help bring to potential employers.

Basic Computer Skills

Basic computer skills are the foundational knowledge to navigate the digital world effectively. These skills are often a prerequisite for many jobs, regardless of industry. For job seekers, showcasing these skills on a CV demonstrates a fundamental understanding of technology commonly used in workplaces across Ireland. Some essential basic computer skills to include on your CV are:

  1. Microsoft Office Suite: Proficiency in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is expected in most office and administrative environments. Highlight specific tasks you can perform, such as creating reports, analysing data, or designing presentations.
  2. Email and Internet Use: Emphasise your ability to manage emails effectively, including composing professional messages, organising folders, and utilising search functions.
  3. File Management: Showcase your understanding of organising files and folders, using cloud storage (like OneDrive or Google Drive), and ensuring data backup.
  4. Typing: Mention your typing speed and accuracy, as it's a practical skill for many roles.
  5. Social Media: Highlight your knowledge of platforms relevant to your industry or the job you're applying for.
  6. Cybersecurity Awareness: It is becoming increasingly important in the digital landscape to demonstrate an understanding of basic security measures, such as recognising phishing scams or creating strong passwords.
 Basic computer skills examples
  • Managed the director's calendar and coordinated meetings using Microsoft Outlook, demonstrating proficiency in scheduling and email communication.
  • Proficiently formatted and proofread documents in Microsoft Word, ensuring professional presentation and accuracy.
  • Resolved customer inquiries promptly and effectively through email and phone communication, utilising the company's CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software to track and document interactions.
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Internet Tools

Knowing how to use internet tools like Skype and Trello can significantly enhance your personal and professional life. These tools facilitate seamless communication and collaboration across distances, making them essential in the modern workplace and for individual projects. 

Skype enables real-time video calls, instant messaging, and file sharing, fostering stronger connections with colleagues, clients, friends, and family. On the other hand, Trello is a project management tool that helps teams organise tasks, track progress, and meet deadlines efficiently. By mastering these tools, you can streamline workflows, improve productivity, and stay connected with others regardless of location.

Important Internet tools in the workplace include:

  • Content Management System (CMS) proficiency: Mastering a CMS like WordPress empowers you to create, edit, and publish blog posts seamlessly, manage themes and plugins, and optimise your website's performance.
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) expertise: Understanding SEO principles and utilising tools like Moz allows you to optimise your content for search engines, increasing visibility and driving organic traffic.
  • CSS Customisation: Familiarity with CSS enables you to personalise the appearance and layout of your blog, ensuring a unique and visually appealing user experience.
  • Email Marketing: Leveraging email marketing platforms like MailChimp allows you to build and nurture an email list, engage with your audience, and promote content effectively.
  • Google Analytics interpretation: Analysing data from Google Analytics helps you gain valuable insights into performance, audience demographics, and traffic sources, enabling data-driven decision-making.
  • Content creation and curation: Developing high-quality, engaging content that resonates with your target audience is essential for building a loyal audience.

Social Media Platforms

In the modern workplace, social media platforms have transcended their role as mere tools for personal connection and have become invaluable assets for businesses and employees alike. They serve as dynamic communication channels, fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing among colleagues and providing a direct line of communication with customers and clients. 

Social media platforms also function as powerful marketing and branding tools, allowing companies to reach wider audiences and build brand loyalty.  Employees adept at using these platforms can contribute to a company's success by promoting a positive brand image, engaging with customers, and driving traffic to the company's website or products.  

Moreover, individuals can leverage social media to build their professional brand, network with industry peers, and stay informed about the latest trends and opportunities in their field.

These social media platforms include:

  • LinkedIn: A professional networking platform for connecting with colleagues, industry peers, and potential employers.
  • Twitter: A microblogging platform for sharing news, insights, and industry updates in real time.
  • Facebook: A versatile platform for connecting with colleagues, joining industry groups, and sharing company news and updates.
  • Instagram: A visual platform for showcasing company culture, products, or services through photos and videos.
  • YouTube: A video-sharing platform for hosting company videos, tutorials, or webinars.
  • TikTok: A short-form video platform for creating engaging content that can capture the attention of a younger audience.
Example
  • Utilised Facebook Groups to connect with target audiences, answer questions, and build relationships, resulting in increased customer loyalty and brand advocacy.
  • Boosted following by 55% through visually compelling content, increasing brand awareness and customer engagement.
  • Leveraged LinkedIn to connect with industry professionals and potential clients, creating new business opportunities and valuable partnerships.
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Statistical insight

There are currently an estimated 2 million active TikTok users in Ireland. This number continues to grow rapidly, making TikTok the country's third most popular social media platform behind Facebook and Instagram!

Software skills

Software proficiency has become a fundamental requirement in the workplace, transcending industry boundaries. The ability to navigate various software applications enhances individual productivity and fosters seamless collaboration and efficient workflows within teams. 

Proficiency in software empowers employees to automate repetitive tasks, analyse complex data sets, and communicate effectively across different channels. Whether it's utilising project management tools to streamline operations or employing design software to create compelling visuals, software skills equip individuals with a versatile toolkit to excel in their roles. 

Six essential software skills include: 

  • Word processing: Creating, editing, and formatting documents is a core skill for communication and documentation.
  • Spreadsheet management: Organising, analysing, and visualising data is crucial for decision-making and reporting.
  • Presentation software: Effectively conveying information through engaging presentations is vital for sharing ideas and influencing others.
  • Communication and collaboration tools: Utilising platforms like email, instant messaging, and video conferencing facilitates seamless communication and teamwork.
  • Cloud storage and file sharing: Storing and accessing files securely from anywhere enables remote work and efficient collaboration.
  • Proficiency with industry-specific software: Depending on the industry, proficiency in software like graphic design tools, accounting programs and other specific industry software can be invaluable.
Example
  • Deployed advanced Excel formulas and functions to analyse large datasets, streamline financial reporting, and identify cost-saving opportunities, leading to a 15% reduction in operational expenses.
  • Developed custom scripts in Python to automate repetitive tasks, resulting in a 30% increase in team productivity and freeing up valuable time for strategic initiatives.
  • Implemented a new project management system (Asana) to streamline workflows, improve communication, and ensure the timely completion of projects, resulting in a 20% reduction in project delays.
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Hardware Skills

Lastly, hardware skills are just as essential as software skills. A strong understanding of computer hardware ensures smooth operations and empowers employees to troubleshoot common issues, optimise performance, and make informed decisions about technology upgrades. 

Whether it's setting up a new workstation, connecting to a network, or maintaining a printer, hardware skills are invaluable for maximising productivity and minimising downtime. These skills also contribute to a safer and more efficient work environment by ensuring proper electronic equipment handling and maintenance. 

Six essential hardware skills include: 

  • Basic troubleshooting: Identifying and resolving common hardware problems like connectivity issues, display errors, and peripheral malfunctions.
  • Hardware installation and configuration: This involves setting up new computers, printers, scanners, and other devices and configuring them for optimal performance.
  • Network connectivity: Understanding network infrastructure, connecting to Wi-Fi and Ethernet networks, and troubleshooting connectivity problems.
  • Device maintenance: Performing routine maintenance tasks like cleaning, updating drivers, and replacing consumables to ensure longevity and optimal performance.
  • Data backup and recovery: Implementing backup strategies to protect critical data and knowing how to recover lost or corrupted files.
  • Peripheral management: Connecting and configuring external devices like monitors, keyboards, mice, and webcams, as well as troubleshooting any compatibility issues.
Example
  • Upgraded and replaced faulty hardware components (RAM, hard drives, motherboards) across multiple office locations, reducing downtime by 50% and improving overall system performance.
  • Successfully diagnosed and resolved a complex network connectivity issue by identifying and replacing a faulty network switch, restoring internet access for over 100 employees and minimising business disruption.
  • Assembled and configured high-performance workstations for the creative team, enabling them to seamlessly work with demanding software applications and improve efficiency and output.
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Expert tip

Always tailor your CV to the specific job you’re applying for. Research the company and the role to identify the most relevant hardware skills. For example, if the position emphasises network administration, highlight your experience with routers, switches, and firewalls. If the job description focuses on hardware maintenance, showcase your ability to diagnose and repair faulty components. 

Where to showcase your computer skills on your CV

There are several strategic places to showcase your computer skills on a CV. These include:

Personal statement

The personal statement is your chance to spotlight your computer skills and illustrate how they enhance your candidacy. Start by weaving specific examples of your technical prowess into your narrative. You may have used coding to automate a tedious task, leveraged data analysis to uncover valuable insights, or created stunning visuals through graphic design software. By grounding your skills in real-world applications, you demonstrate your competence, initiative, and problem-solving abilities.

Furthermore, instead of merely listing your skills, showcase how you've used them to achieve concrete results, such as developing a website, analysing data, or designing graphics. Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible (e.g., "increased website traffic by 15% through SEO optimisation").

Connect your computer skills to your broader goals and aspirations, and explain how your technological proficiency has shaped your academic journey, career ambitions, or personal projects. We recommend highlighting your eagerness to learn and adapt to new technologies, demonstrating your commitment to staying ahead in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. 

Remember, your personal statement is an opportunity to showcase your unique strengths and potential, so don't be afraid to get creative and passionate about your computer skills.

Skills section

Within your CV's skills section, concisely list your most pertinent computer proficiencies. Organise them into clear categories (e.g., software, programming languages, operating systems). Include specific software (e.g., Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office), programming languages (e.g., Python, Java), and any noteworthy technical competencies (e.g., data analysis, web development).

To further clarify your abilities, indicate your level of expertise for specific software (e.g., proficient, intermediate, beginner). This allows potential employers to gauge your suitability for the role. If space allows, briefly mention any certifications or relevant coursework that bolster your skillset, showcasing your commitment to continuous learning and development.

Do

Showcase a wide range of computer skills, especially those that are transferable across different industries. 

Don't

Over-exaggerate your skill level. Be honest about your proficiency with different software or programming languages to avoid misunderstandings during the interview process.

Work history section

In your CV's work history section, seamlessly integrate your computer skills by showcasing how you've applied them in previous roles. For each position, highlight specific instances where your technical prowess played a pivotal role in achieving positive outcomes. For example, instead of simply stating "managed social media accounts," elaborate on how you "leveraged social media analytics tools to increase engagement by 20% and drive website traffic." This demonstrates your computer skills and your ability to use them strategically to achieve tangible results.

Furthermore, remember to use numbers and percentages to illustrate the impact of your computer skills. For instance, you might mention how you "streamlined data entry processes through automation, saving 15 hours per week" or how you "utilised graphic design software to create eye-catching marketing materials that boosted sales by 10%." 

By using numbers and data, you help paint a compelling picture of your value to potential employers by providing concrete evidence of your technical contributions.

How to learn computer skills

If you want to upskill your computer abilities, several resources are available to help you on your learning journey. For a comprehensive and internationally recognised certification, consider pursuing the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) offered by various providers like ICS Skills.

If you're seeking a more flexible and affordable option, Learn with NALA offers free online courses at various levels, while Kilroy's College provides a range of IT and computer skills courses, including Microsoft Office and more. Digital Skills for Citizens also offers free introductory classes for those new to the internet, helping you take your first steps into the digital world. 

By exploring these resources, you can enhance your computer skills and unlock new opportunities in today's technology-driven society.

Tips to improve your computer skills

To enhance your computer skills, start by identifying areas for improvement and setting specific goals. Explore free online courses or tutorials on platforms like Coursera or Udemy to learn new software or programming languages at your own pace. Practise these skills regularly by applying your newfound knowledge to real-world projects or personal tasks. 

Seek out online communities or forums where you can ask questions and learn from others. Additionally, consider taking advantage of free resources like the ones provided by your local library, such as access to learning software or workshops. By actively engaging in these activities, you can steadily improve your computer skills and become more confident in navigating the digital landscape.

Key Takeaways

Before you begin formatting your CV, don’t forget the following tips: 

  • Computer skills are essential: From basic tasks like email and file management to advanced capabilities like programming and data analysis, computer skills are no longer just desirable but necessary in today's job market.
  • Highlight sought-after skills: Microsoft Office, programming languages, data analysis, and digital marketing skills are in high demand.
  • Quantify your impact: Instead of merely listing your skills, provide concrete examples of how you've used them to achieve tangible results in previous roles. Use numbers and percentages to illustrate your contributions.
  • Utilise various CV sections: Weave your computer skills into your personal statement, list them clearly in the skills section, and provide detailed examples of their application in your work history.
  • Tailor your CV: Research the specific requirements of each job you apply for and highlight the most relevant computer skills to demonstrate your suitability.

Ready to make your computer skills shine on your CV and impress potential employers? cvapp.ie's expert CV builder is here to help you every step of the way. 

With tailored templates, industry-specific examples, and professional guidance, you can effortlessly create a compelling CV highlighting your digital expertise and opening doors to exciting career opportunities. Don't let your computer skills go unnoticed – start building your winning CV today!

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