Computer Skills to Advance at Work and Get Promoted
Do you have the skills you need to advance at work and get promoted? Some computer skills are technical skills that enable you to be more efficient at work, while others can actually help make you indispensable to your employer. There are some basic computer skills that every worker is expected to have.
So what are the best computer skills you can use to get that next promotion?
The answer to that question depends, of course, on what you do. There are some skills that will be relevant for every job, and others will be more position dependent. Take a look at some of the top computer skills that will help you advance at work, along with advice for how to upgrade your skill set, upskill your career, and get promoted.
7 Computer Skills To Advance in Your Career
- Organize Your Email Inbox
- Building & Organizing Databases
- Managing Owned Media
- Bookkeeping & Financial Reports
- Creating Presentations
- Mastering Productivity Software
- Learning to Code
Computer Skill #1: Organizing Your Email Inbox
For most people, email is the number one distraction that forces them to multitask during the day. Additionally, their inboxes are full and disorganized. Regardless of your job description, how you manage that inbox has a major effect upon how you perform at work.
Taking control of your email inbox will do more than just make your inbox look cleaner: it will actually clear your head and make you far more productive on the most important tasks of your job. Most importantly, you will develop a reputation for prompt responses while also minimizing time-wasting distractions.
Check Your Email Just 2 or 3 Times a Day
You don’t need to constantly check your email. Pick times that are less critical to your daily tasks, perhaps that 15 minutes prior to your lunch break. Once you’ve set your times, don’t check your email except at those scheduled times. Any emergency issues that arise will either merit an in-person meeting/phone call, or the person running to you for the answers may simply figure them out for themselves.
It is also a good idea to give your team a heads up that you have budgeted only certain times of the day in which you check your email.
To create sub-folders within your inbox, you can right click on your inbox folder (usually on the left side of your window) and select “New Folder.” Rename the folder after a particular person or task for which you get frequent emails throughout the day.
Depending on how you use your inbox, you can either move emails into their appropriate folder right away or put them in their folder after you’ve handled them.
Did you know that you can program your inbox to automatically send emails with a certain subject line or sender directly to a sub-folder? All you need to do is create rules within your settings.
- Visit here for instructions on setting up rules in Microsoft Outlook
- Visit here for instructions on setting up rules in Gmail
Many of the emails you get may only be notifications or correspondence on which you’ve merely been copied. Most of these emails don’t need your direct attention, but you may still need to reference them later. These kind of emails are perfect for setting up rules.
You can also use rules to identify more spam emails so that you won’t get any more mail from that sender.
Use Your Inbox Folder as a “To Do” List
Consider keeping in your inbox only those emails that require you to complete a task or project. If they pertain to something that does not require you to do anything now or in the future, then delete them or file them in the appropriate sub-folder.
Delete More Emails
Too much email is not a good thing. Any emails that you save in your inbox or sub-folders take up cloud and hard drive space. If you do not regularly clean out your inbox, then your email provider may no longer be able to send or receive messages.
Consider deleting more emails sitting idly in your inbox. You might even be able to set up a rule in settings that automatically deletes messages that are so many months old. For emails that you feel you should save for longer, consider downloading them as PDFs and backing them up on your computer or company cloud storage.
Computer Skill #2: Building & Organizing Databases
If your job involves information management and requires you to organize and recall data, it may be time for you to take a step beyond mere data entry and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.
All businesses benefit from identifying trends and matching correct information to nuanced situations. If you were to gain a deeper understanding into organizing databases through spreadsheets, forms, queries, filters, etc., then you would become the rockstar of your office. Those that work with data are more likely to get promoted when they understand databases and know how to keep it organized and easy to explain.
The best place to start if you already have a basic understanding of Excel spreadsheets is to begin learning how to use Microsoft Access. To get started on some free training, click here.
By taking office data and inputting it into carefully-constructed databases, you will be able to do more than recall raw information. Instead, you will be able to streamline information recall for everyone in your office. Additionally, you can create reports that show your boss key ways to increase profits, lower costs, or both!
If you are already familiar with Access and want a bigger database challenge, consider learning SQL coding. SQL forms the building blocks for more powerful database management. Experts in SQL go on to work for major organizations such as the government, IBM, NASA, and more.
Computer Skill #3: Managing Owned Media (Social Media & Website Management)
If your job involves digital marketing, one of the best things you can learn how to do is manage owned media. Owned media is the most important part of digital marketing. This includes any social media page, online directory, and website branded by the company you work for.
The opposite of owned media is paid media. Paid media is advertising, and it is expensive. Owned media managed well lowers the cost of paid media, since all the owned digital channels are drive online customers to your business for free when running optimally. Therefore, you will be quick to advance at your job when you are able to simultaneously increase profits and lower costs.
Find Out Which Platform Your Company Website Runs On
For example, some of the most common website platforms are WordPress, Weebly, Squarespace, and Wix. Most of these platforms are fairly simple to learn if all you want to do is keep up the company website.
Establish Company Profiles on All the Major Social Media Channels
Which social media channels you use often depends upon where your ideal customers already engage. Some of the most common social media channels that your business should be on are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. If your company does graphics of any kind, you’ll want profiles on Pinterest and Instagram, and if the company has video, then you should use YouTube.
Because there are now hundreds of relevant social media channels available for businesses to participate in, your willingness to research and set up free profiles can significantly increase your company’s digital reach.
Set Up Company Profiles on Online Directories
Slightly different from social media, online directories are places like Google Maps and Yelp. There are also hundreds of online directories (most of them free). The work is tedious but will boost your company’s website authority with search engines like Google. If your business draws a lot of local customers, directory marketing is vital for your business.
Learn the Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Good SEO insures that your business’s owned media shows up at the top of Google searches. It will boost website visitors, and in time, it will increase your business profits. There are a number of ways to learn how to do SEO. The best place to start might be to search for some free SEO tutorials. SEO software companies such as Moz and SEMrush also offer inexpensive SEO bootcamp courses that might be of interest to you.
Consider Building a Content Marketing Strategy
Depending on the amount of time that your employer allows you to devote to the company’s owned media, content marketing can be a full-time job. However, even if you only have a few hours a week to devote to online content, such as instructional blogs, videos, or graphics, your company website could become popular with your target market.
From your website content, you can publish daily posts on social media and generate a following. By requesting emails for email newsletters, you can gain email addresses which can then be targeted for email marketing. With a consistent and relevant content marketing strategy, you can help your business build a strong brand online.
Computer Skill #4: Bookkeeping & Financial Reports
If your job requires you to track receipts, sales, and expenses, you are probably already familiar with bookkeeping software like QuickBooks. If not, you should consider learning how to use QuickBooks online with some free tutorials here.
There are a number of other bookkeeping software available, even though most work very similarly. Here are some free tutorials to other accounting software:
Learn How to Upload Company Accounts
When setting up QuickBooks Online, you will have the option to upload transaction from all company accounts. These include checking, savings, and any loan accounts (such as credit cards, loans, or lines of credit). Check with your employer to make sure that it is okay to sign in to these accounts through QuickBooks.
Once complete, all company transactions should automatically upload into QuickBooks. You can label each credit or debit appropriately.
Consider learning to use QuickBooks’ integrated receipt app Receipt Bank. Using a smartphone, simply snap a picture of the receipt(s), and it will automatically sync with the company’s QuickBooks account. If your coworkers use the company card often and can be trusted to use the app, you can show them how to do the same thing and save yourself time.
Learn to Reconcile Accounts
After labeling each transaction, you will need to match every company bank account statement with balances showing on the company QuickBooks account. This can be tedious, but it is very important. Without reconciling accounts, there could funds or expenses completely unaccounted for.
Learn How to Build and Explain Financial Statements
When it is time for taxes, the company’s accountant will require certain financial statements from your QuickBooks account. While some companies simply have their CPA use their own Quickbooks login to pull what they need, you could save your company a little money by drafting these reports yourself.
Cash Flow Statement. In the menu, you will go to Reports, then Statement of Cash Flows. QuickBooks will allow you to customize this report as annual, quarterly, or monthly. Make sure that you know what the accountant needs (usually annual for tax purposes). This report will provide a snapshot of how the money flowed in (sales and other forms of income) compared to how the money flowed out (expenses).
Balance Sheet. In the Reports tab, select Company Overview. There you should find the Balance Sheet. When you select this option, this shows the value of the company by balancing money owed (debt) with equity (cash value).
Income Statement/Profit and Loss Statement. Similar to the Cash Flow Statement, this statement compares income with expenses. This statement is also found in Reports, Company Overview, then Profit and Loss Statement. Accountants and executives often examine the Income Statement first to track financial progress and then consult the Cash Flow Statement for details about where sales and expenses came from.
Pro Forma Financial Statements (not used for taxes). If your company is looking to bring in investors or seek a business loan, then they are going to need future projections. These are Pro Forma statements, and they demonstrate the company’s expected growth should they receive the funds that they request.
Pro Forma statements are usually the key section of a business plan, which is also what the company will need in order to acquire funds. While the executives typically build the bulk of the business plan themselves, if you are solid in your bookkeeping skills, you can help by putting together the Pro Forma Statements. Simply take the company’s past Cash Flow and Income Statements and include the cash injection (loan amount your company is requesting). With your bosses’ help, add an expected monthly, quarterly, and annual percentage growth. You will also want to include increased expenses, such as new equipment, increased operating expenses, etc.
Break-Even Analysis (not used for taxes). By far the most valuable financial statement available for businesses is the Break-Even Analysis. Unfortunately, most business owners don’t even use it. The BE Analysis tells the business when it actually makes money. By learning how to build a BE Analysis and explain it to your superiors, you will be an invaluable team member that increases profits and streamlines the business.
Advise on Financial Decisions
Once you’re well-informed on the numbers like sales and expenses, you will be able to suggest strategy decisions that you know will have a positive impact on company profits. QuickBooks also has many reporting tools showing sales numbers per product/service or per sales rep.
Computer Skill #5: Creating Presentations
If your work involves taking raw information and making it presentable for audiences, such as clients and shareholders, then it would be a good idea for you to learn how to build a variety of presentations. This computer skill is often best used alongside basic database skills (see above), but it can stand on its own, in need be. Here is a list of the different kinds of presentations.
Most of the time, for simple slide presentations you will be using Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote. Each program has its own set of templates, or you can purchase more. Slide presentations are best used for public speaking or webinars. After the webinar, it might be helpful to share the presentation via podcast or SlideShare.
Flyers and Handouts
If your employer wants a simple handout for potential clients or business events, then you may be designing one-sheet that is both informative and visually appealing. Technically, designing flyers and handouts falls within graphic design, but using simple document program templates on Microsoft Word and Publisher can help you do great designs with minimal experience. If you find that you enjoy and have a knack for graphic design, consider learning how to use more advanced design software.
Does the company have a number of photos from an event that they’d like to include in a tasteful slideshow? Or did your supervisor give you a video to edit and add in a few graphics? If so, this can be very challenging. But if you enjoy creating videos, you will certainly have a lot of fun.
If you work on a Mac, one of the best free video software programs available for you is Apple’s iMovie. Click here to begin building your video.
If you work on a Windows computer, you would either need to convince your employer to invest a little money in a program like Adobe Premiere Elements, or do a quick search for some of the better, free video editing software available for your computer. And getting comfortable with these beginner video programs, you might enjoy getting to know some of the more powerful video editing software available, such as Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro.
An infographic is a visual that combines helpful illustrations with text. They are growing in popularity on social media and can help drive online traffic to your company website. Creating great infographics from scratch can be quite challenging. You would need to shop for low cost, vector graphics and then get comfortable with graphic design programs like Adobe InDesign and Photoshop.
If you don’t have the time or desire to learn basic graphic design, you might consider going to infographic-building sites online (such as Piktochart or Canva). They can provide a wide variety of templates, and all you need to do is input the correct information.
Computer Skill #6: Mastering Productivity Software
The future of your and virtually every other job is your ability to get more done from the palm of your hand. Even if your employer is in denial about how technology can drastically streamline his/her business, you should take steps now to master the appropriate productivity software programs and apps. You can easily advance your career by learning how to use software and apps that help you get more done with less effort.
In short, productivity software is any computer program which makes your day-to-day work tasks more efficient. They include word processing programs, like Microsoft Word, and instant communication tools, such as Google Hangouts. Productivity software takes much of the tedium out of things that must be done but don’t always directly benefit the most important part of your job. It also connects more people to more projects for smoother collaboration, regardless of where your team members are located around the world.
- Click here for a list of the top productivity software programs
- Click here for our top picks for productivity mobile device apps
Computer Skill #7: Learning to Code
When it comes to the future of manufacturing, engineering, and the Internet, there is already far more demand for than there are skilled computer coders. Manufacturing is leaning more heavily on robotics, an industry that requires more creators and mechanical support. Engineering is more vital to emerging fields such as 3D printing and renewable energy. Lastly, the Internet is becoming the main source of information, retail, and entertainment for people everywhere.
If you love technology and foreign languages, then you will love coding. And because many expert coders do not have formal education, you can learn some of the top coding languages yourself, or sign up for a bootcamp to get your skills up to speed. Here four of the most common in-demand coding languages.
If you enjoy formatting pages on programs like MS Word, Excel, Publisher, and QuarkXpress, then you might enjoy learning hypertext markup language. Web pages have to programmed and formatted, and hypertext markup language does just that.
CSS stands for cascading style sheets and adds an extra layer of design and responsiveness to web pages. One of the most common and lucrative uses of CSS is to customize within WordPress, such as building widgets and themes.
Python is basically a programming language, meaning that it tells machines what to do. More specifically, python programs web-based services and software. Websites that actually run web services must typically do so using Python. Additionally, Python is used to develop apps for smartphones and tablets.
When programming a web service, you may not want to clutter your scripting with repeated coding for tasks that you would rather automate. That’s where PHP comes in. Rather than a language that interacts with users, it forms more backend support and automates certain tasks for web services.
Building Up Your Skill Set
Learning any computer skill is going to help you increase your arsenal of technical skills, and enhance your employability. However, if you’d like to focus on those computer skills that will make you better at your job and stand out for a promotion, these skills are a good place to start. The computer skills listed above will give you a broader understanding of your profession, as well as increase your productivity and accuracy.