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Do Job Candidates Today Need Technical Skills For Work?

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When it comes to determining who is a worthy job candidate and who falls short, there are many factors that play into the process. When individuals wonder whether their current skill set is enough to land them the job they’re interested in, it’s hard to know whether that will be enough or if significant additional training will be necessary.

Many applicants (especially those who are older and re-entering the workforce), ask if they need to brush up on their technical skills before applying to positions. The answer is, it depends. It depends on the industry, it depends on the job, and it depends on the person.

For the most part, a basic understanding of technology is important. Workers need to know how to draft their resume, format it correctly, and submit it online following the instructions. But often, this type of application will lead to a job that requires absolutely zero technical skills whatsoever.

Here are three skillsets that are useful for landing most jobs today, regardless of the field.

An understanding of social media.

No matter what job you end up in, a basic understanding of social media is important. Even if you aren’t working directly in the marketing field, it’s important to have a few social accounts to communicate with colleagues and engage in the company’s marketing campaigns. Jeff Lawrence, VP of Digital at American Advisors Group in Orange, CA emphasizes this point:

“One of the marketing skillsets we've been looking for in candidates of all ages includes social media and online marketing.”

Basic capabilities in the Microsoft Office Suite.

It’s pretty hard to work for any company without a base understanding of the main Microsoft programs - Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. In fact, it would be difficult to land a job at all if you weren’t familiar with these programs. Microsoft Word is one of the most commonly used programs in the world and writing a resume, cover letter, and other application materials would be a complicated process with it.

An adaptable demeanor.

Even if a candidate has little experience with technical aspects of the field, a willingness to learn and a general flexibility can go a long way. No matter your age, most job applicants need some on-the-job training. GreenBean founder, Sarah Haselkorn, commented that when she was hiring “she specifically looked for applicants of a variety of ages so the skill sets were across the board.” There will always be new software and new guidelines. An older worker may have a few more barriers when it comes to technology, but nothing insurmountable. If you maintain a positive outlook and exude an aura of adaptability in a job interview, a lack of technical skill probably won’t prevent you from getting the position.

With the right attitude and a basic understanding of certain programs, any job candidate can find himself or herself happily employed at their dream job.

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