If you are looking for an internship or graduate role, don’t underestimate the importance of basic computer skills. By this I mean the Microsoft Office suite of programs: Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint in particular; programs like Access, Visio and Publisher would be a plus.

These days computer literacy is a given and obtaining at least an intermediate level of competency in programs like Word and Excel is becoming increasingly important. Not only do you need to do basic operations like prepare a letter, memorandum or essay, you also need to know how to format a very large document, edit a PDF or how to install software on your computer. How to calculate statistics, analyse and organise data and create meaningful graphs of data using Excel is important in order to prepare reports quickly and efficiently. New graduates often need to prepare professional presentations and there is the expectation that they have a good understanding of PowerPoint. Outlook is important for managing emails, scheduling meetings and events, and prioritising tasks. Just last night we held a ‘Careers in Focus’ evening looking at career opportunities in the finance field. Employers emphasied how important it was to be able to use Excel well.

If you are applying for jobs, make sure you list your computer skills and your level of competency in each of them – for example:
Word: intermediate
Excel: intermediate
Outlook: basic
PowerPoint: advanced

Failure to list your skills may result in an employer passing you up in favour of applicants who have listed their skills. If you do not have strong enough computer skills, then start developing them now! You will absolutely need them in almost any employment you go for. There are many free tutorials online which you could do in your own time, many of them easy-to-follow YouTube clips. Just google YouTube tutorials and the program you want to learn – there are plenty to choose from!

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Career advice, Job application, Jobs, Looking for work, Skills development

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