When attempting to land a job, it’s no secret that most recruiters are primarily interested in your skillset. Indeed, it’s a simple truth that while personality, experience and drive can take you fairly far in the application process, nobody is going to hire you if your CV’s skills list comprises a lone tumbleweed rolling across the page. Luckily, technical skills are a great way to plug this potential gap. They are always in demand, regardless of the industry or profession that you are involved in, and they demonstrate to potential employers that you have your finger on the pulse when it comes to workplace developments.
You don’t have to work in IT to possess many of them, either; basic computer skills can be easily attained and developed, while many companies are now offering internal training courses in order to get their workforce up to speed. So, if you’re looking to spruce up your CV and you want to get yourself ahead of the competition, pay close attention – these are the tech skills that need to be on your CV in 2019.
Despite being released all the way back in 1987, there’s a reason why nearly all the world’s largest corporations continue to rely on Excel – there is simply nothing else that is as intuitive, powerful or flexible out there. Yet when you consider the scope of what can be built on Excel, many people tend to overplay their knowledge; executing simple stock tables or basic bookkeeping calculations no longer cuts it. Instead, you need to delve a little deeper; Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), macros and charts are just some examples of the areas that you might want to explore. The good news is that updating your Excel skills is easier than ever, with numerous web forums, YouTube tutorials and print books offering a wealth of insightful tips and tricks. With Excel so widely used by a range of diverse organisations, there will always be somewhere that your newfound expertise can be utilised, too.
Hypertext Markup Language – or HTML, as it’s perhaps better known – is a standard programming language that is used for creating web pages, and while you don’t need to be an expert (unless, of course, you’re a web developer), many employers will look favourably on you if you possess a basic working knowledge. This is because most organisations now have a strong online presence or are certainly striving for one. Being able to use HTML allows for company websites to be managed and updated far more conveniently, and without the need for additional programmers to oversee relatively straightforward changes or uploads. It is an increasingly key competency for designers and writers, too, so make sure you brush up your skills. Don’t forget to focus on the most up-to-date version. At the time of writing, HTML5 (version 5.2, to be exact) is the latest incarnation and contains a wide range of new syntactic features.
In theory, if you have a personal Facebook page or an Instagram account, then you can claim to have social media skills (especially if you boast a high number of followers). But from a business perspective, social media is a totally different animal. For instance, knowing when is the best time to post, which trends and hashtags to target, how to construct valuable content and campaigns, and how to get your posts shared are all aspects of social media that require intricate knowledge and experience. Indeed, when utilised correctly, they can provide invaluable exposure for your employer’s brand, making these skills highly sought after – especially in smaller companies where you may not have a dedicated social media team. There are numerous online courses and literature that explain many of these concepts in greater detail, so educate yourself and make a point of getting involved in your company’s next social media campaign.
As the internet search giant continues to increase its power and influence on the online domain, establishing a level of fluency with its wide array of communication and analysis software is becoming hugely important. For instance, Google Analytics is a free, intuitive and powerful tool that can tell an organisation a lot about their online practices – as well as how to improve them – while supporting tools such as Search Console can tell you how well your organisation is performing in the Google search results. Using GA also demonstrates that you understand the basics of how to interpret data visualisation, serving as a strong springboard for more niche software. The best part is that it is easy to prove your technical proficiency; Google offers free, and official, online training courses for all its suite software – some of which even include a certificate. It costs nothing to attain, and the courses can be done in your own time, so why not add these valuable strings to your bow?
Much has been made recently of the importance of data to organisations; subsequently, employees who can translate said data into actionable and valuable information are always going to be at the front of the hiring queue. This is where Python – a popular programming language – comes in. Although it has multiple uses, it has proven most effective as a means by which sizeable quantities of data can be processed and managed; as with HTML, those with a basic grasp and understanding of the language are useful assets for any kind of company that possesses information and databases. You don’t need to enrol in an expensive class, either. As with many of the skills on this list, there are numerous online resources (many of which are free) where you can learn and practise Python, while, again, many companies are keen to upskill their employees through internal training programmes.
As the years go by, debate continues to rage back and forth about the significance of SEO, yet it’s an undeniable truth that a company on the first page of the Google search results – especially for a strongly performing keyword – are getting essentially what is free and potentially enormous exposure. Understanding how to achieve this exposure is important for any business, large or small, and having people who understand the processes, techniques and tricks involved means that the company’s marketing output is always going to be moving in the right direction. By its definition, SEO trends tend to evolve quickly, but keeping yourself up to date on developments through established blogs such as Moz and HubSpot is a good way to stay abreast of the curve.
Although we’ve already touched on Excel, which is so powerful that it’s deserving of its own spot, it’s important not to ignore the rest of the MS Office family as well. In fact, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook are so established and widely used that it is almost a basic expectation that any jobseeker is fluent in these tools. That doesn’t mean that you should underplay them, though. PowerPoint, in particular, is still an important component of any modern workplace, yet many people still struggle with putting together a basic presentation. There are plenty of online tutorials and guides on how to get the most out of these tools, so don’t just lazily list them on your CV and then end up embarrassing yourself when your presentation falls to pieces. Always ensure that you back your claims up with an actual knowledge of how the software works.
Although technology moves notoriously quickly, having a good grasp of the skills on this list will stand you in good stead for a few years to come, even if new trends mean that you always need to remain adaptable.
One thing is for sure, though: those that don’t learn and develop their tech skills will certainly be left behind, especially in an increasingly digital modern workforce.
So, whatever your profession and whatever your industry, make sure you stay up to date and show employers that you’ve got the basic proficiencies they’re looking for, and don’t let a lack of technical literacy ever hinder your career.