What Are The Basic Computer Skills Required for Most Jobs?

by B. Steele

With the majority of companies moving to online-only applications, just applying for a job can be difficult unless you have fundamental computer skills. While you don’t need to be a technological wizard to survive in today’s workforce, there are several basic skills critical to obtaining and keeping many types of employment.

Word Processing and Typing

Many jobs will require you to use some kind of word processing program, even if it’s just an email editor. You should have basic typing skills and be able to enter information into a word processor, save the file and reopen it later. You should also be able to perform basic text editing such as adjusting margins, spacing and formatting text. If you can touch-type, you have a definite advantage over people who have to hunt and peck at the keys and your job will be much easier.

Using the Internet

You’ll have to find your way around the Internet no matter what job you have. You should be able to use a Web browser like Internet Explorer to research information. Additionally, many companies today are moving to Web-based solutions to save money and increase efficiency, so being able to use Web-based applications is very important. For example, if you’re a payroll clerk, you might have to log into your payroll provider’s website and upload information when processing the company payroll. If you travel for your job, your company may not accept paper mileage reimbursement forms and might require you to submit a Web-based form instead.

Using Peripherals

Aside from keyboards and mice, you’re also likely to use printers and other computer peripherals in any job. You’ll need to know how to send a document to a printer at the very least, although knowing how to change an ink or toner cartridge also helps immensely. With many companies discovering the benefits of paperless filing systems, you may also need to use a scanner to convert paper documents into computer files.

Password Management

Most companies will at least require that you log in to your computer with a username and password. Depending on your job function, you may end up with several usernames and passwords to remember for various systems and websites, and many IT departments require you to change them on a set schedule -- especially if you work in healthcare where security of personal health information is critical. While everyone forgets their passwords occasionally, if you start forgetting yours regularly, you may face disciplinary action. Therefore, you must develop a system to remember them -- one that does not include writing them down on a sticky note attached to your monitor. If you must write them down, keep them in a safe place like a locked desk drawer.

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About the Author

A writer and proofreader since 2006, B. Steele also works as an IT Help Desk analyst, specializing in consumer and business user tech support. She earned a B.A. in English and journalism from Roger Williams University. Steele also holds certifications as a Microsoft-certified desktop support technician, Microsoft-certified IT professional, Windows 7 enterprise support technician and CompTIA A+ IT technician.

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