Written by Nikki Dale, this article was first published, and is reposted here, courtesy of WikiJob.
A technical skill is the ability to carry out a task associated with technical roles such as IT, engineering, mechanics, science or finance. A typical technical skill set might include programming, the analysis of complex figures or the use of specific tools.
Technical skills are sometimes referred to as ‘hard skills’ because you can learn how to do them and, in some cases, get qualified or at least certified.
They are different from soft skills which are much less tangible; for example, communication, and teamwork or people skills.
Technical skills can be developed based on your preferred career plans, so you can focus on programming languages if you are looking to become a software developer or SEO mastery if marketing is your thing.
Some technical skills employers are looking for include:
- General computer skills
- Operating systems
- Programming languages
- Project management
- Productivity software
- Artificial intelligence
- Social media
- Cloud computing
- Accounting software
- Design software
- Spreadsheet proficiency
- Content management systems
- Video software
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- Google analytics
- Marketing skills and software
- Certified management skills
- Research skills
Most technical skills require experience and sometimes extensive training to master.
As job hunting becomes more competitive, job hunters need to work even harder to differentiate themselves from other candidates, and acquiring technical skills is one way to achieve this.
15 Examples of Technical Skills to Put on Your Resume
When considering the technical skills to add to your resume during your job search, think about what the job requirements are.
There is no point in using your technical skills in a particular programming language if you are looking for a role that is primarily about video editing.
Technical skills can be categorised in several different ways, with specific knowledge in each group.
- Programming Languages
Programming skills are not just reserved for developers.
Other IT staff, such as customer service teams or project managers, need to have a basic understanding of programming to support customers or coordinate projects.
- Microsoft Suite
Experience in Microsoft Office, one of the most popular office software programs, is required for a vast number of roles, from administration up to management across virtually all industries.
Certification is available for mastery of different Microsoft Office functions, which is a good way for you to demonstrate your level of knowledge.
Microsoft Office includes the following programs:
- Operating Systems
Although knowledge of the intricate working of the programming that allows basic computing functions to work is quite a specific technical skill, if you are looking for a role in IT, cybersecurity, programming or software development, then you need to know how operating systems work.
You can choose one of the main operating systems like:
Or focus on Android and iOS operating systems for mobile app development.
- Project Management
Being able to effectively coordinate resources, people and budgets as a project manager is one of the best technical skills you can have.
Project managers are required in every industry from construction through to digital design.
Knowledge of project management is one thing but being able to demonstrate efficient use of the more popular software systems for project management will make a difference.
These might include:
- Cloud Computing
Businesses are using the functionality and scalability of cloud computing to help with everything from remote storage to creating APIs and apps, and if you are looking to land a role in web or software development – or anything IT-based – then showing you know your way around some of the major cloud providers will give you an edge.
Microsoft Azure is a popular choice for cloud storage, computing and API creation, while Amazon offers AWS.
Both of these options have specific certifications that can be studied for, so you can show your level of skill on your resume if you can achieve a certification.
- Technical Writing
Technical writing is a skill that combines deep technical knowledge with the ability to write clearly and concisely.
Technical writers take their knowledge about a specific technology, product or service and use that knowledge to create written materials like operating manuals, user guides, repair instructions or even marketing materials.
- Social Media Skills
Specifically relevant for people who work in marketing and promotions, mastery of the various social media platforms makes an applicant a great choice.
Different strategies are needed to maximise exposure on the different social media sites; things that work well on Instagram might not work as well on Facebook, for example.
There is also a skill in making the most of LinkedIn, which is a social network designed for professionals in the world of work.
There are also various software platforms that are used by social media managers to help schedule and edit social media posts. You may be required to show that you are comfortable using some of the following:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Sprout Social
- Google Analytics
- Content management platforms
- Artificial Intelligence
Another niche technical skill, experience and knowledge of the world of artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more and more needed in software and web development businesses.
Skills in AI encompass programming language knowledge as well as understanding of neural network architectures, data analysis and engineering, and hardware development.
- Software Development
Focusing on knowledge of programming languages with the specific application of creating bespoke software for a specific purpose, a software developer can be a master in a particular area like creating code or developing a streamlined interface.
Software developers need to have skills in:
- Writing languages
- Cloud computing
- Design and Video Software
If you want a career in a creative industry, you will need to be able to use the right video and design software that will allow you to make what you imagine come to life.
Depending on the role, you might be expected to use specific and bespoke software, but, for the most part, a high level of skill in the most popular editing programs is needed – and that is the Adobe suite.
Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign are the two biggest names in design and photo editing, to the point where we refer to any edited picture as being ‘Photoshopped’.
For video editing, even major film and TV production teams use Adobe Premiere Pro, so mastering this software will give you the skills you need to make a great impression in your CV.
- Accounting Software
From sole traders to multinational organisations, accounting software is needed to monitor profit, allocate payments and keep the business moving.
There are many different software options for businesses to use for their accounting needs, so choosing one to develop technical skills in will help if the finance department is where you are headed.
Some small to mid-sized businesses might want applicants with experience of using something like QuickBooks or Xero, while scalable options like Sage are more often used by bigger companies.
- Marketing/CRM Software
Getting to grips with customer communication is an important facet of the marketing department, and there are a lot of tools available to make it easier to keep client information safe and ordered.
Some software options are just for CRM, while others focus on email marketing or scheduling social media posts. For example:
- Web Development
Everything is online now, and web development is a career path that is still very much in demand.
Great web developers have several technical skills in different areas, and while some are generalists (known as ‘full stack’ developers), most choose to focus on one area of web development and become an expert.
These areas include:
- Back end developing
- Front end developing
- Research Skills
If you have completed a degree, the likelihood is that you will have developed some pretty good research skills. But even if you haven’t had to research for study, research skills are a really needed technical skill in many careers.
Good research can find, understand, analyse and present relevant information from multiple sources for a specific reason.
This is more than just reading an article and making notes; technical research skills include looking at numerical data, reading technical or industry journals, and even conducting oral interviews.
In an increasingly digital world, cybersecurity is an area of great concern among many business owners.
Data breaches can have a devastating impact on a business, from loss of customers through to irreparable damage to the reputation of the company.
As a result, demand is increasing for technical security specialists.
Security management is a technical skill where specialists develop the knowledge to identify loopholes in systems, pinpoint any vulnerabilities and tailor practices to strengthen the way in which information is managed.
Learning information security and displaying it on your CV as a technical skill can add value to your application, particularly if you are entering an IT or data management role.
Why Do Technical Skills Matter?
Technical skills are important for a number of reasons. They can help you work more efficiently, boost your confidence and make you a more valuable candidate for employers.
Candidates who have a technical skill are often more confident when applying to certain industries than those who don’t. In addition, employees with a technical skill are often better at multitasking in a challenging and complex role.
With sufficient technical ability, you will be able to speak to colleagues and clients more confidently using your specialist expertise.
Job hunters who take the time to learn a technical skill often receive higher pay. Hiring managers are always on the lookout for knowledgeable staff, as their clients expect to work with highly skilled teams who they have confidence to deliver the results they need.
Technically skilled applicants can also save employers money, as they don’t require so much training to get to a particular level. Plus, they can prevent technical issues from occurring, increase customer satisfaction and reduce technical problems before they arise.
The importance of technical skills in your job search means that it is vital that you practice talking confidently about them in your cover letter, resume and at the job interview.
Ensure that you identify the most relevant skills required for the role and then ensure you have them and can demonstrate times you have used them successfully and to get results.
This may mean that you need to get certified in new skills, especially if you are new to the job market or starting a career change.
How to Push Your Technical Skills in Your CV/Resume and at Interview
If you possess them, technical skills need to be given prominence on your CV, and you should provide evidence of situations where you have used them, what you did and the outcome.
Describe how the technical skill you used had a positive impact on the company. As an example, this could be improved systems or processes, cost savings or increased productivity.
Don’t just state that you have a technical skill, say how you have used it and the results you achieved through its use.
For instance, within a skills section in your CV, you could state:
SEO – Implemented an SEO strategy that increased the client’s website traffic by 60% and increased sales by 25%
Project management – Completed company project ahead of schedule and effectively managed expenses to come in under budget by 15%
While you want to describe how your technical skills have benefited previous/current employers, you should keep the descriptions short on your CV.
You could expand on one or two in a cover letter if applicable.
However, you will also have an opportunity to expand on your skills and explain examples in more detail during an interview.
With technical skills specifically, applicants can become qualified – which is an excellent way to demonstrate proficiency on your CV/resume.
If you have a degree or certification you have earned that is related to the technical skills you have, then add it. You can expand more on it in the interview.
Technical skills are a necessity in the workplace, and, by ensuring that you have some skills relevant to your chosen career, you can stand out from other candidates.
The benefit of technical skills is that you can learn and improve them every day, and, in many cases, work towards some form of certification or qualification.
This makes it so much easier to show potential employers your level of knowledge, skill and proficiency to solve their technical needs.