Even if you aren’t in, or entering, a high-tech field or industry, technology has become an integral part of just about every job. Today, many recruiters and hiring managers see technical competence as a minimum requirement of employment.
When it comes time to prove to potential employers that you are digitally savvy, make sure you can demonstrate the following 7 characteristics:
1. Ability to Integrate Everyday Digital Skills Into the Workplace
At this point, who hasn’t bought something on Amazon? And if you can shop online then you can work online! Here are a few key things you must be comfortable with:
- Cloud storage options
- Working collaboratively on a document or presentation
- Basic research skills beyond simply Googling
If you don’t currently have these skills, no worries: they can be learned in less than a day just by Googling those terms and absorbing online content. Then, be sure and put those skills to use in a practical way so you can point to specific examples of your work.
2. You Are Open to Experimentation
There are new digital tools becoming available to us every day. You should be comfortable seeking them out and implementing ones that will work for you.
This doesn’t mean you have to be an early adopter of every new digital innovation that comes down the pike, but you should be able, and willing, to try new things that have proven to be helpful to others in your field.
3. You Are Comfortable with Digital Communication
Do you know the different between a status update and an instant message? Can you identify a retweet from a direct message? Do you know the rules of basic email etiquette?
Being able to communicate effectively in the digital age means being comfortable with a variety of digital platforms. If you are not already there be sure to spend some time getting up to speed on the basics: email, IM, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
4. You Can Evaluate Digital Sources
One of the great things about the internet age is that so much information is just a few clicks away. The bad thing is so much of that information is misleading, biased or just plain wrong. Today’s digitally competent job seeker needs to be able to discern what constitutes quality information – and how to avoid the rest.
I recommend for professionals the same strategy I use for my students: C.A.R.S.
- Credibility: Does the writer have the background to legitimately offer thoughts on the topic?
- Accuracy: Does the content appear factual?
- Reasonableness: Is the information presented in a balanced, empathetic fashion? (steer clear of politically motivated rants!)
- Support: Are the sources listed? Does the writer link to further information?
The C.A.R.S. checklist isn’t fool proof, but it will go a long way to weeding out the misinformation strewn about the digital landscape. It can also save your professional reputation.
5. You Understand and Respect Privacy
At this point in the digital age, everyone should be aware that privacy is basically nonexistent online. Don’t make things worse, however, by being digitally careless.
If something is shared privately with you… keep it that way. For instance, don’t hit reply all unless you really need everyone in on a conversation. Also, regularly check the privacy settings on your various accounts as companies change their policies frequently.
6. You Are a Good Digital Citizen
Good behavior online is the same as good behavior offline. You know how to be respectful, appropriate and professional. Make sure you follow common courtesy rules in all your interactions, whether digital or in person.
7. You Have a Balanced Attitude
Digital isn’t everything – unless, of course, you’re applying to a tech firm, and then you should eat, sleep and breathe digital. For the rest of us, don’t let your enthusiasm for technology overshadow your competence and passion for your actual field.
I have seen this happen in my field, education, all too often. Educators become more interested in the toys and being tech pros than they are excited about working with children and serving as a mentor. Remember your personal and professional core – and that digital tools should be a compliment, not a solitary focus.
Before you email that next resume, or post a new update on LinkedIn, make sure to perform a quick self evaluation. Do you have the 7 characteristics of a digitally competent job seeker?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Quality Resumes!
Image courtesy of 18to25.org. Thank you!