When writing a CV, it’s easy to forget about some important details or include something you’re not supposed to. But that won’t happen to you ever again—if you read this study.
Let’s face it—
In this day and age, computer skills are expected of you regardless of the position you’re seeking.
So the question isn’t whether or not you should put computer skills on your CV, but rather which ones to pick, and how to make the most of them on your CV.
Well, this is exactly what you’re about to learn.
In this guide:
- Comprehensive computer skills list for any job seeker.
- Which computer skills are best for your CV and how to make the most of them.
- How you can improve your computer skills.
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If you’re looking for advice on how to describe computer skills for a particular profession, we have a selection of CV writing guides for various IT specialties:
- IT (General)
- Data Scientist
- Computer Science
- Software Engineer
- Web Developer
- UX Designer / UI Developer
- Web Designer
1. What are Computer Skills
Computer skills (or computer literacy) refer to the knowledge and set of abilities that allow you to use computers and new technology efficiently and effectively. Basic computer skills include: word processing software, access the Internet, manage files, or create presentations. Advanced computer skills include: accessing databases, advanced spreadsheets knowledge, and coding.
Computer skills comprise the vast majority of hard skills that companies desire from their employees.
For example, a recent survey conducted by LinkedIn reveals that such skills as cloud and distributed computing, statistical analysis and data mining, data presentation, or marketing campaign management are among the top sought-after computer skills. Let's see in detail what the most important computer skills are.
2. Computer Skills List for a CV
The lists below present some of the most popular and useful computer skills to put on a CV. It includes basic and advanced skills.
The basic computer skills lists include the abilities and software packages most job seekers should be at least casually familiar with. The advanced computer skills lists focus on more specialised skill sets and software solutions.
You can use these lists to familiarise yourself with what computer skills there are or think of them as a master list to help you identify the skills you want to include in your CV.
Expert Hint: Don’t just copy-paste lists of skills into your CV. Learn how to identify the best skills for your CV.
Here are some software skills to list on your CV:
1. MS Office
MS Office skills are arguably the most common computer skills. Almost every position requires you to have at least a basic ability to use one or more of the following applications:
In the modern workplace, Google’s office suite has almost entirely taken the place of the MS Office. That’s why the familiarity with such tools as these listed below is often taken for granted.
- Google Drive
Yes. Knowing how to write and send emails counts is a computer skill. In fact, there’s much more to email than meets the eye, especially in the context of email marketing and email automation tools.
- Constant Contact
- Mail merge
4. Web and coding
If your job has anything to do with the web, a basic grasp of the computer skills listed below will definitely come in handy.
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- Code libraries
5. Social Media
Social media has become part and parcel of our day-to-day life. Most companies have social media profiles, and people who know how to manage them effectively are always in demand.
Expert Hint: It’s not enough to list the names of social media you’re familiar with. Tell the employer what it is exactly you can do: manage ad campaigns, develop audiences, drive user engagement, etc.
Ever since we stopped using typewriters, writing has become a computer skill. As a skill, writing encompasses a variety of abilities and knowledge of different tools, including:
- Data-driven storytelling
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Technical writing
- Touch typing (eg. CPM or WPM rate)
There’s no escaping spreadsheets in today’s professional reality. Whether you like it or not, the familiarity with certain simple spreadsheet functionalities should have its place on the list of basic computer skills.
- Google Sheets
- OpenOffice Calc
Expert Hint: Be specific about what you can do. Listing such skills as advanced formulas, conditional formatting, advanced charting, pivot tables, or VBA and macros can really give you an edge.
8. Computer Hardware Skills
- System Administration
- Network Configuration
- Software Installation
- Tech Support
- Project Management
- Vendor Management
- Virtualized Networks
- Network Automation
- Cloud Management
- AI/Machine Learning
9. Computer Software Skills
- Ruby on Rails
10. Database Management
- Aiven PostgreSQL
- Amazon SimpleDB
- Help Desk Migration
- IBM DB2
- MS Access
- Navicat Premium
- Oracle Database
- Quick Base
- Redis Enterprise
- SAP HANA
11. Data Visualisation
- ACDSEE Photo Editor
- Adobe Indesign
- Affinity Designer
- Cinema 4D
- Corel PaintShop
- Corel PhotoImpact
- Google Sketch-up
- Serif Drawplus
- Xara Xtreme
13. Collaboration Tools
- Google Docs
It’s never enough to simply paste a list of skills into your CV, you must tailor your entire CV to the job offer by highlighting the relevant computer skills and experience.
And this is what you’ll learn to do in the following section.
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3. How to List Computer Skills on a CV
Cut to the chase:
Your CV must stand out in the pile of 250 CVs the other candidates submitted.
To achieve this you need to know exactly what the recruiter is looking for. Only then will you be able to put the right computer skills in the limelight.
The good news?
You don’t have to be a clairvoyant. The ultimate cheat sheet to what the recruiter desires is right in front of your eyes.
It’s called the job offer.
Yes. The job offer itself shows you precisely what computer skills and experience the recruiter is on the lookout for.
All you need to do is learn how to use the job offer to describe your computer skills on a CV.
And this is exactly what comes next:
1. Find a job offer that matches your level of experience and skills.
It’s crucial to apply for jobs you’re qualified to do. Otherwise, your CV will be rejected at the initial scanning stage.
Here’s an example job description for the position of a marketing automation specialist:
- 2+ years of experience with Salesforce.com
- 2+ years of experience with a Marketing Automation System (Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot, Hubspot)
- Experience with change management and help desk request systems
- Re-engineering experience of existing Salesforce.com configuration
- Proficient in Microsoft Office applications
Based on this description the basic computer skills required for the position are:
- Marketing automation systems
- Microsoft Office
Note: This is just a snippet from the original job posting, the computer skills listed above represent only a fraction of all the skills required of the candidates.
2. Turn the computer skills listed in the job offer into achievements.
The experience section of a CV is one of the best places for showing off your skills.
Work the relevant computer skills into your job description bullets. Here’s an example:
Computer Skills on a CV—Example Job Description Bullets
- Reconfigured Salesforce’s Appointment Booking Page that led to a 30% decrease in waiting time.
- Optimised Eloqua email marketing campaigns that resulted in a 20% increase in the CTR.
This way you don’t just mention a computer skill that you have. You show the recruiter what you can do using this particular skill, and what results you’re able to achieve.
The job description bullets prepared this way send a clear message:
You’re the one who’ll get the job done.
3. Mention your computer skills in the CV profile.
The CV profile is a short paragraph that tops your CV. It serves as a brief summary of your entire CV in the form of a written sales pitch.
It could read something like this:
Computer Skills—CV Summary Example
Well-organised and communicative marketing automation specialist with 5+ years of experience with Salesforce and marketing automation systems (incl. Eloqua and Hubspot). Eager to join GHE Inc. to help re-engineer and unify CRM and marketing processes. In previous roles contributed to increasing email marketing campaign CTR by 20% among others.
A CV summary written this way does at least three things:
- Highlights the relevant soft skills and computer skills.
- Shows the recruiter your CV is personalised by referring to the company by name.
- Reinforces your relevant skills by mentioning a key achievement of yours.
With a profile written like this, you can be sure the recruiter will feel encouraged enough to devote more than 7 seconds of their time to reading your CV.
4. List the relevant computer skills in a dedicated skills section.
Finally, to make your computer skills truly stand out, create a dedicated key skills section on your CV.
You can do two things there:
- List the skills that are already mentioned in your job description to make them super-visible throughout your entire CV.
- Add the relevant computer skills you weren't able to put elsewhere on your CV.
Here’s what this looks like in practise:
Computer Skills on a CV—Example Key Skills Section
- Marketing automation systems
- MS Excel (advanced formulas, macros, pivot tables)
- MS Word (mail merge)
The computer skills listed here are the ones you can also see in the job description and CV profile.
MS Office skills appear here as well. They haven’t been mentioned anywhere else on the CV, but they’re crucial to the role, as outlined in the job offer.
Notice how all the CV sections complement one another—
The key skills section highlights the relevant computer skills you can offer. Your job description shows exactly what results you can deliver using these skills, and the CV profile makes it clear how much experience you have.
It’s always a good idea to describe your level of proficiency at each skill you add to the key skills section. A simple bar graph and description (e.g. basic, advanced, etc.) will do.
For example, you can use the following scale to specify your level of computer skills for a CV:
Level of Computer Skills for a CV
- Level 1—Fundamental (or one star out of five, etc.)
- Level 2—Basic (or two stars out of five, etc.)
- Level 3—Intermediate (or three stars out of five, etc.)
- Level 4—Advanced (or four stars out of five, etc.)
- Level 5—Proficient (or five stars out of five, etc.)
4. How to Improve Your Computer Skills
Finally, let's take a quick look at how you can improve your computer skills.
There are a number of websites that offer courses you can take, or certifications you can add to your CV.
Here’s a couple of ideas:
Udemy has lots of courses like this one on MS Office essentials, or this one preparing you for the 77-727 Microsoft Excel Certification. Coursera offers a course on Excel skills for business purposes. There’s a range of certifications available directly from Microsoft, too.
To improve your email writing skills, you may want to check out this course from Coursera. Hubspot Academy offers a free email marketing course. Udemy has a section on marketing automation courses too.
Coursera offers a large selection of writing courses. You can use the philtres to narrow down your options and find the course you need. There’s no shortage of writing courses on Udemy. Masterclass offers a selection of writing courses from the likes of Neil Geiman or Malcolm Gladwell.
Coursera offers a range of options if you want to gain some advanced Excel skills. Lynda has many courses to choose from that will help you hone your spreadsheet skills. Microsoft has its own learning resources that introduce you to the functionalities offered by Excel.
The University of Colorado offers a course on database management essentials via Coursera. You can also find such courses as this one on databases and SQL for data science by IBM or this one on retrieving, processing, and visualising data with Python from the University of Michigan, and many others.
If you want to learn Photoshop, Udemy offers a plethora of courses. Skillshare offers a number of Adobe Premiere courses if that’s your thing. And, truth be told, there are innumerable YouTube channels from which you can learn just about anything, like this one for example.
Expert Hint: If you’re looking for online training for a particular type of software, just google [software name] online courses e.g. Photoshop online courses, and you’ll surely find something of interest.
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Here’s all you need to know about computer skills on your CV:
- Make a master list of your computer skills to see what you can offer employers.
- Use the original job offer to identify which skills the recruiters are seeking.
- Make your computer skills visible by putting them in the CV profile, experience, and key skills sections.
- If you find your computer skills wanting, you can take some online courses to improve them.
Do you have any other questions about computer skills for a CV? Would you like to share your advice as to which computer skills are best for a CV? We’re always happy to hear from you. Give us a shout out in the comments below.