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The best computer skills for your resume

You've worked hard to improve your existing computer skills and even learn new ones. But, if you don't list those hard-earned computer skills on your resume, how will potential employers know that you stand above and beyond all the other applicants?

In this article, we'll go over what computer skills are, take a look at some examples, and explain how to list them in your resume.

What are computer skills?

Computer skills are those you need to operate a computer, computer software, or computer components (a.k.a. hardware). Computer skills can be as basic as navigating a browser and using a search engine or as specialized as designing and managing a corporate IT network. In this article, we'll focus specifically on computer skills related to software and development.

You might be asking: Does that mean that anyone who can use a computer has computer skills? Technically, yes. But, when it comes to listing them on your resume, you'll want to focus on the specialized computer skills that you're particularly good at and will help you succeed in the job. For example, while almost everyone can use a spreadsheet application like MS Excel, you could draw attention to your knowledge of its advanced functions.

Examples of the best computer skills to list on your resume

There's no ultimate list of the best computer skills to list on your resume.

Depending on your background and the job you're applying to, you'll want to emphasize some skills over others. The exact skills you'll need to highlight will be included in the job posting, but below, we've put together a list of common computer skills that employers look for on resumes.

Web development

Back-end development

Application/software development

Spreadsheet applications

  • MS Excel, including VBA
  • Pages
  • Google Sheets

Data science and analytics

Email and communications

  • MS Outlook
  • MS Word and PowerPoint, including VBA
  • Constant Contact
  • Mailchimp

Don't worry if you're not proficient with all of these computer skills. Again, the skills you should focus on depend on your particular career path and the specific job description.

How to list computer skills on your resume

It's one thing to have a set of valuable computer skills, but what's the best way to communicate them to employers? Here are a few tips for listing your computer skills on your resume.

Have a dedicated computer skills section

Jobs in development require advanced, specialized computer skills, which is why you should list yours in a dedicated section after your professional experience and education. Having a dedicated section also allows you to organize your computer skills by skill type and add details such as certifications and proficiency levels (more on all that below).

Stick to the most relevant computer skills

As you list your computer skills, read the job description in detail, and think about which skills matter most for the job. Chances are that the job description will explicitly call out a few desired skills (e.g., "Knowledge of SQL a plus"). In other cases, you'll want to read between the lines. For example, if the job description includes website management, you'll want to emphasize your skills in HTML.

We know you've worked hard to build all of your computer skills, and so it can be tempting to list each one on your resume — but we recommend against this. By sticking to your most relevant computer skills, not only will you save precious space on your resume, but you'll also show the hiring manager that you've read the job description thoroughly and understand which skills will help you succeed in the role.

Include certifications

If you have an official certification or a certificate of completion after taking an online course, go ahead and add these next to your skills. Certifications are a great way of showing your employer that you've achieved a high level of competence in a given skill.

Don't be afraid to show off your relevant skills

Even if you haven't mastered a particular computer skill, as long as you have basic proficiency with it, go ahead and list it on your resume if it's required for the job. During the interview, you can always mention that you're willing to further develop your computer skills to prepare yourself for the role.

If you know that there's a key computer skill you need for the job but are in the middle of completing a course, make a note of it on your resume. That way, your employer knows that you understand the job's requirements and are working to fulfill them.

That said, if you're not proficient or comfortable with a particular computer skill, don't make it look like you're a pro. You never know when you'll be expected to show your expertise during the interview or when you start the job.

Your resume is the place to let your computer skills shine

Remember that most hiring managers only spend a few seconds looking through each of the hundreds of resumes they receive. Your resume is your biggest chance to show that you're worth interviewing. Don't be shy about listing the computer skills that make you the best candidate for the job.

If you've just started your journey toward becoming a developer, you may not know exactly which computer skills you should start learning. That's why we recommend taking a look at our Career Paths, which help guide you in building all the computer skills you need to succeed in your new career as a developer.

Get more practice, more projects, and more guidance.

Michael Klein

Michael Klein is a freelancer with a love for statistics, data visualization, and his cat. When he’s not writing for Codecademy, he enjoys geostatistics with R and playing with agent-based models.

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The best computer skills for your resume
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