Basic practical skills that you need in the workplace

No matter where you apply for employment, here’s a list of basic practical workplace skills that will not only boost your resume, but might also help you survive in the workplace.

1. Basic Computer Skills

Even if you don’t intend to enter a technical field, a basic working knowledge of computers will always come in handy, especially in this day and age when many business tools and processes are now being done electronically.

Office Applications

A working knowledge in office software applications such as word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs is often the basic requirements in a workplace. Even if you’re a software programmer, a salesperson or a teacher, you might need to create a document, a report, a graph or a presentation at some point in your career, so it’s good to have these skills in your arsenal to make your job easier.

• Internet and Research

Harnessing the power of the internet and social media as a source of information is now considered a valuable skill, but you also need to have the crucial ability to assess the accuracy and credibility of your sources. Just like in any media, not everything that you read in the internet is true or correct, so you need to develop the ability to separate the facts from the fancy.

2. Writing Business Email and Letters

Most workplace communications are now done electronically, so knowledge in using email is a must. But aside from the technical know-how of operating an email program (such as Mozilla Thunderbird or MS Outlook), it’s more important to know the basics of business writing.

Business emails and traditional business letters are almost the same in that you have to know the appropriate salutations and closing remarks as well as the writing tone and style. In some cases, business emails can be less formal than traditional business letters, but they still require business etiquette, such as the appropriate use of capital letters, punctuation marks, CC and BCC, among other things. You also have to be familiar with the rigid formatting styles and guidelines of business letters, such as placement of letterheads, margin sizes, number of spaces, etc., in case you suddenly find yourself tasked with creating a traditional business communication like a memo, letter of request, letter of apology, authorization letter, etc.

3. Telephone Skills

Despite the preference for emails, telephone communications are still important in the workplace. Even if you don’t work directly with customers, suppliers or business partners, you need good telephone skills in case you need to communicate with others within the company or to man the phone lines while others are away. Many companies maintain strict telephone communication guidelines, requiring employees across all levels to answer the phone on the first ring or greet callers with a standard greeting. This is because answering the call too late or talking disrespectfully to a customer inquiry may reflect badly on the company.