Basic Computer Skills: How To List Them on Your Resume

Updated August 10, 2023

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A person works on their laptop while sitting at a shared workstation table in an office setting.

As a working professional, it's important you gain a solid foundation of basic computer skills. Depending on your industry and your employer, the computer skills you need to complete your job will vary. While you may start out with a basic understanding of various computer skills, you will likely develop your skill level of specific computer skills throughout your career, depending on what will be required of you to excel in your field.

In this article, we explain how to include your computer skill level on a resume, go over basic computer skills and programs and provide tips on how to improve your computer knowledge.

Cover Letter vs. Resume
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The image is titled Cover Letter vs Resume. An example cover letter is on the left with tips written below it.

The cover letter reads:
Malik Rabb

May 1, 2020

Dear Hiring Manager, I am grateful for the opportunity to apply for the associate marketing position at Retail Ocean. Storytelling through marketing is a true passion of mine, and I graduated with a four-year degree in Marketing from Coral Springs University. Marketing is a full-time commitment, and it is essential to always look for ways to improve a company's outreach. A successful marketing campaign is crucial to the long-term success of any company, and I believe that my unique skill set is perfect for this job.

I have previously worked in the marketing department at Rivher Tech, and I supervised a wide variety of successful marketing campaigns. My primary goal was to increase brand awareness and reach new clients through social media, SEO practices, and traditional advertising platforms. Reaching marketing goals is always a top priority and I always prioritize the best interests of the company — my work at River Tech, for example, resulted in a 45% increase in customer engagement. I am never satisfied with the status quo, and I believe that a company should continually look for ways to improve and reach new clients through innovative campaigns.

Thank you for taking the time to read my cover letter. I hope to speak with you soon and learn more about the opportunities for a Marketing position at Retail Ocean. Working in the marketing field is a fantastic opportunity, and I believe that I am a great fit at Retail Ocean with my unique skill set and prior experience.

Malik Rabb

Cover letter:

  • Formatted like a business letter

  • Explains your interest in and qualifications for a position with specific examples

  • May either be optional or required as part of a job application depending on the employer

The resume on the right side of the image reads:
Malik Rabb
Analytics-driven, inbound Digital Marketing Manager with 3 years of experience designing powerful social media strategies, growing engaged online audiences, and developing eye-catching email campaigns that convert prospective customers.
Professional Experience

Digital Marketing Manager I Aug '16-Current

  • Built content marketing strategy/calendar from the ground up

  • Launched new email marketing campaign, improving email open rates from 15% to over 50%

  • Develop content partnerships with online influencers, including a blogger with 1M+ Instagram followers

  • Wrote and directed series of YouTube videos that reached 20,000+ in total views

Marketing Associate I May '15-Aug '16

  • Established company's first social media presence across Pinterest and Instagram, and grew Twitter followers from ~50 to 2,500÷ in 4 months

  • Conducted market research to develop targeted buyer personas

  • Championed inbound marketing strategies (replacing traditional outbound methods) to create brand awareness and attract more buyers

  • Wrote press releases, newsletter articles, and email copy

Coral Springs University I Aug '11-May '15
Bachelor of Science in Marketing

  • Graduated with honors

  • Certificate in Business Foundations

Areas of expertise: Social media marketing, email marketing, copywriting. SEO
Software: Google Analytics, HubSpot, Salesforce

Resume tips:

  1. Reverse-chronological, functional or combination formatting options

  2. Summarizes your relevant experience and achievements including education, professional history and skills

  3. Commonly required when applying for a job

What are basic computer skills?

Basic computer skills refer to your ability to perform fundamental tasks on a computer. This can include understanding certain software, applications, programs and tools. Computer skills fall into two categories: software and hardware. Hardware refers to the computer's operation, whereas software involves the use of various programs and applications.

The type of computer skills you'll be expected to have will depend on your industry. Typically, employers specify what types of computer skills they want their employees to have in their job postings.

Related: Computer Skills: Definitions and Examples

Listing your computer skills on a resume

Employers want to know your level of comfort for each computer skill you might list on your resume. For example, if you list your knowledge of presentation software, employers won't know whether you're a beginner or are proficient in this area. As you write your resume and cover letter, detail your expertise with each of your computer skills.

Rather than simply stating which computer skills you have, give a detailed explanation of how you used the skill and how it helped you complete a task or improve your productivity. This shows employers how comfortable you are using these computer skills and how well you understand how to use them.

Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a Resume

Highlighting your basic computer skills

When you're applying for a job, it's important to show hiring managers how you qualify for the role by highlighting your relevant skills, such as your computer skills. This can be done on your resume, as noted above, in a cover letter and during the job interview.

On a resume

When you write your resume, it's important to highlight your computer skills as they pertain to the role you're applying for. Refer to the job posting and select the most relevant computer skills for the position, and include those on your resume. You can mention them as you detail your past work experience in your experience section or include them in a separate skills section toward the bottom of your resume.

In a cover letter

Your cover letter is a great opportunity to expand on the skills you mentioned in your resume. For example, you can detail how your specific computer skills helped you perform certain job duties and made you a better employee overall. Ultimately, you want to show the hiring manager how much your computer skills helped in prior positions.

During a job interview

A job interview is an excellent opportunity to explain your skills in detail. For example, if a hiring manager asks about your comfort level with Microsoft Excel, you can explain times you've used different functions like VLOOKUP or created macros. Demonstrating your experience in certain basic computer skills can give employers a clear idea of your proficiency.

Related: How To Say You're Good With Computers on Your Resume

Examples of basic computer skills

Many jobs require fundamental computer skills to perform well for that particular job. While basic computer skills include knowing how to type, understanding social media and having general web skills, there are several more to consider, such as:

1. Productivity software

Productivity software is software that helps create information in various formats, such as documents, graphs, worksheets and presentations. Productivity tools and software help make an employee's job easier. Here are several types of productivity software:

  • Word processing software

  • Spreadsheet software

  • Presentation software

  • Email management

  • Data entry

  • Digital calendars

  • Video conferencing

  • Social media management

  • Instant messaging

When you're applying for a job, it's important to not only highlight your relevant computer skills but also your skill level. For example, rather than stating your ability to use word processing software, consider stating on your resume how you used it to benefit your previous company.

Related: 22 Essential Productivity Tolls To Improve Your Workflow

2. Operating systems

Operating systems are programs that help a computer run its most basic functions. This is an important skill to know since computers need an operating system to work. Typically, computers come with pre-installed operating systems. Because of this, it's important to have a general knowledge of a variety of operating systems, such as Windows. It can be helpful to use your resume and cover letter to list how particular operating systems allowed you to perform your job.

Read more: 6 Types of Operating Systems (With Functions and Examples)

3. Presentation software

Presentation software refers to programs used to create slideshows made up of audio, text, photos and videos. Having general knowledge of presentation software is important for a variety of roles.

Depending on your job, you may need to create a presentation to show data analysis or make a pitch. To do so, you'll need to understand the various types of presentation software and how to use it to create a dynamic presentation. You can showcase your particular skill level for this type of software on your resume by stating how you utilized it to complete one of your tasks.

4. Digital marketing

Digital marketing refers to the advertising of a company's products or services using digital means. Companies use digital marketing to promote their brand and ultimately help them grow. The variety of digital marketing tools allows companies to use their preferred method of targeting their ideal audience and customer. Here are some of the types of digital marketing:

  • Email marketing

  • Digital advertising

  • Content management systems

  • Website analytics

  • Search engine optimization

  • Digital media

  • Content marketing

  • Social media marketing

You can highlight your skill level on your resume or cover letter by stating how you used your particular digital marketing skills on the job. For example, if you used social media marketing, you can describe how you used a social media platform to get your company's webpage 100,000 views, 200 shares, 300 comments and 1,500 likes. This lets hiring managers know that not only can you use digital marketing techniques, but you can use them on a greater scale to benefit the company.

Related: What Does a Digital Marketer Do? (And How To Become One)

5. Computer programming

Computer programming involves the creation, design and building of computer software and applications to perform a wide variety of tasks. To test and develop software, you'll need basic computer programming knowledge. This involves understanding software and hardware as well. Here are some basic computer programming skills:

  • HTML

  • Java

  • Operating systems

  • UI/UX

  • Python

Your resume and cover letter are great places to let hiring managers know your skills in computer programming. For example, instead of writing you know HTML, list how you specifically used it to create a webpage.

Related: Computer Programming vs. Computer Science: What's the Difference?

6. Graphic design

Graphic design is the process of creating visual content through typography, illustration and photography to convey a particular message. Under the umbrella of graphic design, there are several computer skills you can highlight on your resume, including:

  • Illustration software

  • Photoshop

  • Design software

  • Desktop publishing

  • Video creation software

You can highlight your graphic design skill level by detailing the types of software you used to meet a client's needs. The more detail you provide of how you used the graphic design software, the more hiring managers will be able to see how well you truly understand these computer skills.

Read more: What Are the Best Skills for a Graphic Design Resume?

7. Communication tools

It's important for companies to have continuous communication and collaboration with one another. Having a streamlined system in place will help ease communication, increase productivity and make the company more efficient overall. Therefore, it's highly beneficial to have knowledge of a variety of computer communication tools. Computer communication skills you can list on your resume include:

  • Instant messaging

  • Video conferencing

  • Email management applications

As you write your resume, refer to the job posting for any communication tools the company you're applying to uses. Based on this, list your relevant skills on your resume and how you've used them in your past experience.

Related: 16 Communication Technology Examples To Use at Work

8. Database management

A database is an electronic collection of data that is accessed on a computer. Databases store a variety of information, such as payroll accounts. To successfully manage data, you'll need a variety of skills, such as:

  • Spreadsheets

  • SQL

  • Data analytics

As you write your resume and cover letter, highlight your database management skill level by detailing how you use it and how you structure specific data. While many professionals may know basic database skills, it's important to set your application apart by letting hiring managers know your particular expertise in this area.

9. Accounting software

If you're in an accounting role, it's important to have strong computer skills related to this industry. This includes understanding how various accounting software works. Rather than simply listing your accounting software skills, detail which you specifically used and how you used it to help you excel at your job.

Related: Types of Accounting Systems: Software vs. Manual

Tips to improve your computer skills

Here are a few ways to improve your basic computer skills:

  • Take classes. One great way to improve your basic computer skills is to take classes in the area you wish to improve. For example, if you want to understand digital marketing better, consider taking an online class on the subject.

  • Understand how computers work. Before you improve your skills, it's important to understand how computers work in general. Learning the fundamentals of computers can give you the foundational knowledge to build upon. You can also consider taking a class in this area.

  • Get practical experience. To improve your computer skills, it's important to apply what you know. If you're interviewing for a job where you'll need to use a specific email management system, take the time to learn how to use it beforehand.

Frequently asked questions

What does business attire mean for a work event?

There are various types of dress codes for work events, such as cocktail, black tie and business attire. When attending a work party in business attire, you can wear a suit with or without a tie, a pantsuit or a formal blouse with slacks or trousers.

If you're attending a work event with a cocktail dress code, it's nearly the same as business attire, except you can wear a tie with a suit and dress shoes. Other appropriate outfits for a cocktail dress-coded event include a semi-formal dress or trousers and a formal top with heels or flats. Generally, black tie events require a tuxedo, floor-length dress or formal pantsuit.

Does business attire mean wearing a suit?

No, business attire doesn't mean you're required to wear a suit, but a suit is business attire. You have several options for business attire aside from wearing a suit, such as slacks, trousers, button-down shirts or blouses.

What are clothing attires not appropriate for business attire?

Various clothing pieces aren't appropriate for business attire, which include:

  • Jeans

  • Shorts

  • Athletic apparel, including leggings

  • Sneakers

  • T-shirts

  • Low-cut tops

  • Short dresses or skirts

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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