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Information and digital literacy

It is almost certain that you will use information and digital systems as part of your employment, so recruiters will have an expectation that you have a good level of knowledge and experience with computers and other digital devices.

In terms of IT skills, you should be able to use computers and software for tasks like word processing, presenting, research, retrieval and storage of information and for communicating, including social media.

You will also be expected to be digitally literate, i.e. have the ability to locate, organise, understand, evaluate and analyse information using digital technology, and have a working knowledge of the latest technology, and an understanding of how it can be used.

What are employers looking for?

Microsoft Office is used widely across all industries and recruiters will expect that you are familiar with it, but it's likely that at university you will have come across Outlook, Word and Excel and you can demonstrate that you are proficient. Here's some more examples of IT experience requested by employers taken from some recent graduate job adverts:

  • "You'll be a wizard on Excel"
  • "Be proficient in the use of analytical software such as SAS, SQL and Pentaho or another package to manipulate complex data sets"
  • "Knowledge of and some experience in improving ranking through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), by using Google Analytics or equivalent"
  • "Be proficient in using applications to manipulate multiple data sets, for example, using Excel to merge, analyse and consolidate data using pivot tables, functions and charts"
  • "Ability to analyse and interrogate large volumes of data"
  • "Familiarity with Adobe InDesign and Adobe Acrobat would be an advantage"

The person specification might ask that you are experienced in a particular task or just describe the software used for the task, so it's a good idea to put both on your CV or application to show that you understand the process and the correct tools for the job.

If you haven't got experience of using software listed in the desirable criteria but you've used an application that does a similar job, it's definitely worth mentioning on your application as it shows related experience which is potentially of value to the employer.

Practical help

Further reading