In today's economic climate, don't underestimate the importance of computer literacy in job hunting. Even if you're not planning to work in a traditional office environment, basic computer skills will still be a tremendous asset.
What is Computer Literacy?
Typically, the term "computer literacy" is used to describe the ability to understand how to use a computer effectively. On a practical level, computer literacy often includes the ability to perform the following tasks:
- Opening, saving, and printing files
- Reading and sending email messages, including those with attachments
- Using the Internet to find information
- Formatting simple documents using Microsoft Word or other word processing software
- Creating tables and databases using software such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Access
- Editing digital photographs
- Building basic Web pages
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In some industries, the term "computer literacy" may be used to describe proficiency in specific types of software related to the duties of a particular position.
Understanding the Importance of Computer Literacy in Job Hunting
The importance of computer literacy in job hunting can't be overestimated. For example:
- There are thousands of different Web sites available to provide information on topics such as writing your resume and answering common interview questions.
- If you're interested in changing careers, you can use the Internet to take career assessment tests and research how your current skills may translate to a new industry.
- Salary surveys can help you know how much money someone with your skills and experience can expect in a new position.
- Since many companies now advertise open positions on their Web sites or through online databases such as Monster.com, someone with strong computer skills is better able to access listings that match their qualifications and career goals.
- If you're interested in relocating, the Internet is often the best available resource for finding information about employment and housing in the community of your choice.
- Using your computer to apply for jobs is convenient. Sending resumes and cover letters via email only takes a few minutes and ensures instant delivery. You'll also save a bundle on postage costs!
Computer Literacy in the Workplace
Even if you manage to find your dream job without a firm grasp of the essential aspects of computer literacy, technological skills are becoming increasingly valued by employers. In fact, one recent survey placed computer literacy just below communication skills and analytical ability on an employer's "wish list" for new hires. Even jobs that once required no computer skills at all, such as truck driving or food service, now commonly involve using a computer to communicate with other employees, file progress reports with a supervisor, or submit timecard information for payroll processing.
Improving Your Computer Skills
Since technology is constantly evolving, keeping your computer skills up to date should be thought of as a lifelong journey.
There are a number of books available providing instruction on a variety of computer-related topics. For example:
- Absolute Beginner's Guide to Computer Basics by Michael Miller
- Teach Yourself VISUALLY Computers by Paul McFedries
- Lifehacker: 88 Tech Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day by Gina Trapani
If you are in need of more detailed computer training, contact your local community college. Most schools have short continuing education classes available for adults who are interested in developing their computer literacy. The classes are usually very affordable and often held on nights or weekends to better accommodate busy schedules.
If you are interested in learning more about developing your computer skills and the importance of computer literacy in job hunting, LoveToKnow Jobs recommends visiting the following helpful resources: