Digital skills that will get you hired

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Digital skills can be defined as the “ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, create, and share information using digital technology. It involves a knowledge of current communications technology and an understanding of how it can be used” (adapted from a definition for digital literacy in Educational Testing Service, Digital Transformation: A Framework for Digital Literacy – A Report of the International ICT Literacy Panel, 2002, as cited from Digital Canada 150).

As part of the nine essential skills required in virtually all occupations, they are vital to getting a job. At the very basic, they include:

  1. Computer use – knowing how to operate a computer and other devices such as laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices.
  2. Processing information – examples: sending an application online, knowing how to take computer-based training, sending an email, internet browsing, using computer software for word processing, creating spreadsheets, and presentations.
  3. Profession-specific tools – these are software like AutoCAD for architects, engineers, or project managers; Quickbooks for accountants or payroll managers; MATLAB for engineers, and others.

Why are digital skills important?

In Canada, without these skills, a job-seeker won’t even get their foot in the door. The process of job searching and applying are now done mainly online. Digital technology is used in almost all aspects of business today, making processes more efficient, cost-effective and fast. In order to be competitive and support growth, businesses have to be technologically savvy.

Beyond the workplace, digital technology permeates everyday life. The way we get information and conduct essential transactions are done online. We now send and receive an email instead of writing letters and sending them via the post office. We buy and sell goods online. We do banking, pay our taxes, get training, and apply for basic services on the Internet. Put simply, digital skills are essential to live, work and participate in a rapidly growing digital economy.

Going beyond the minimum

To ensure that you will be a top candidate for any job (whatever your field may be), here are other digital skills that can give you an edge:

Basic web skills – having the ability to write code or at least having an understanding of basic HTML or CSS (languages used for building websites) is a sought-after digital skill. Knowing your way around WordPress is also a plus. Most companies run their own websites and are keen on continually improving them.

Social media literacy – with the increasing use of social media platforms (such as Twitter, Facebook and others) for marketing and promotions, knowledge of communicating via social media is a big advantage. Social media platforms allow companies to communicate efficiently and instantaneously with their audience locally and globally.

Design/Graphic skills – basic knowledge of creative software like Photoshop or In Design will help you produce communication materials that go beyond the basic.

Netiquette – equally as important as knowing what to do online is knowing what you can’t do. Among these are posting inappropriate pictures, airing dirty laundry (e.g. badmouthing a boss, complaining about the company, sharing company secrets, posting personal views, especially if they are racist, or inflammatory) and using the company account for personal use.

Sources: Building digital skills for tomorrow (Digital Canada 150), Computer skills that will help you get hired, Alison Doyle, Career Tool Belt.

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Community Resources

Need to upgrade your digital skills? Here are a few suggestions:
Join English Online’s courses: Events. Aside from improving your knowledge about Manitoba as well as your English skills, you’ll pick up a lot of digital/technical skills since everything is done online. We also have a Digital Skills Multi-Week workshop. Learn new digital skills every week!

The Immigrant Centre offers free computer training. They offer computer basics, Internet use, email, online employment applications, Skype and Microsoft Office programs. How to register.

Inquire from Manitoba Start about their computer skills training courses.

Success Skills Centre offers affordable computer training courses as well as other employment skills training programs.

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