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Basic Software Skills All Job Seekers Should Have

Wednesday | May 9, 2018 | by Pritam Nagrale

basic software skills

Computers are an integral part of most of our lives. Almost everyone accesses the internet through a computer, laptop, or smartphone for personal use, while companies require computers for increasingly complex functions, such as engineering designs and data analysis. A computer in and of itself is simply an electronic device. Various kinds of software installed on a computer enable it to perform everything from simple to intricate functions.

Most companies require employees to have basic computer software skills. In this blog post, we look at some of the essential software that, as a job seeker, you should be familiar with.

Basic Software You Need to Know

Having a general understanding of the software listed below can not only assist you in your job search, but it can also help you earn extra income on the side while you wait to hear back from employers. As technology advances and the world becomes increasingly digital, staying on top of the latest advances in software is essential, especially for job seekers.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office is a suite of software that allows you to perform various functions at work and at home. You should be familiar with the following software in the Microsoft Office Suite:

  • Microsoft Word: This word processing program allows you to create basic text documents, such as letters, reports, and articles.
  • Microsoft Excel: This program is useful for creating spreadsheets, compiling data, and performing numerical calculations.
  • Microsoft Outlook: This email platform not only lets you send and receive emails, but it also allows you to set up meetings, manage your work calendar, and organize all of your contacts in one place. You can download dozens of emails simultaneously to read and respond to when you have time. Another helpful element of Microsoft Outlook is that it allows you to request confirmation once an email has been read by the recipient and set auto-replies for when you are away.
  • Microsoft PowerPoint: This software enables you to create simple or complex multimedia presentations.
  • Microsoft Access: This program is useful for database management, and more specifically, organizing large sets of data.
  • Microsoft Publisher: A publishing application, this program helps you create newsletters, calendars, and documents where the design is very important, such as marketing and promotional materials.
  • Microsoft OneNote: This software functions like a diary, helping you create schedules, plan meetings, and set up reminders.

Web Browsers

As a job seeker, you should know how to use and effectively perform searches in web browsers. A browser is software that helps you access websites through the internet. Additionally, you can install plugins in your browser that allow you to access specific information in a single click. The most used web browsers include:

  • Google Chrome
  • Apple Safari
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer

All of the web browsers listed above are freeware, meaning they are free for anyone to download and use. Some browsers are faster than others, offer more customizable options, or have a cleaner layout and design. Whichever browser you choose to use will depend largely on your personal preferences.

Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat consists of three kinds of software that allow you to view, print, and create files in Portable Document Format (PDF). Adobe Acrobat is available as freeware and paid versions.

With Adobe Acrobat freeware, you can only view and print documents in PDF. The paid version of Adobe Acrobat allows you to convert Microsoft Word and other file formats into PDF. For example, if you need to create advertisements, spreadsheets, or other documents in various formats, sending these documents as email attachments can often become impossible due to their large file sizes. In these instances, Adobe Acrobat proves useful, allowing you to convert these documents into PDF, so you can send them via email quickly and easily.

Finally, with Adobe Acrobat Standard DC and Acrobat Pro DC, two of the paid versions of the Adobe Acrobat software, you can edit, sign, redact, and leave comments in PDF documents, among other functions.

Security Suites

As the name suggests, this software is essential to ensuring the security of your computer and smartphone. There are a number of threats to computers, servers, and smartphones. They can come in various forms, including:

  • Viruses or malicious software applications (malware) that hijack your personal information
  • Unwanted adware that keeps popping up on your screen
  • Irritating advertisements that appear while you are working online
  • Spyware that spies on your internet activity
  • Ransomware that can be used to deny access to your data unless you pay the criminal

To protect against these threats, you should have a basic understanding of internet security suites. The most popular internet security suites include:

  • Microsoft
  • McAfee
  • Symantec
  • Kaspersky
  • Bitdefender

The above-mentioned security software provides protection against different security threats; some are more comprehensive than others and some only work on certain operating systems, so you will need to pick whichever one best meets your needs.

Email Clients

Generally, any computer that has Microsoft Office installed will also have Microsoft Outlook. An email client is software that allows you to download multiple emails while online. You can then read and organize these emails when you have no internet connection. You can also respond to these emails offline and connect to the internet when you have to send them.

With an email client, you can store email addresses, send multiple emails to several recipients, and choose to get automated acknowledgments of emails that have been received by your recipients. The most popular email clients, other than Microsoft Outlook, include:

  • Mail app for iOS
  • Gmail
  • Thunderbird

Most email clients are free. However, large companies sometimes use paid versions of email clients due to the large volumes of email they handle daily.

How to Learn Software Skills

The software listed above is easy to use and essential for most offices. Acquiring these basic software skills is simple; here are a couple of ways you can learn to use this software:

  • Teach yourself through online videos or content.
  • Ask a friend or relative well-versed in computers to teach you.
  • Consider signing up for an online course or local class that teaches you some of these software basics.
  • Enroll in basic software training through an organization that provides free or low-cost training sessions.

Boosting your software knowledge will improve your technological skill set and make you a stronger job candidate. Furthermore, with a basic understanding of this software, you have the foundation for learning more complex and specialized software.

Related Reading

Online Education for Immigrant Professionals

How Upgrading Your Skills Improves Your Job Prospects

Mastering Soft Skills in the Workplace

How Project Management Skills Can Help Your Career


Pritam Nagrale is a blogger and the founder of the online job platform, SureJob.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of World Education Services (WES).