6 Technical Skills to Stand Out in the Workforce

By Ashford University Staff

professional woman in computer lab

As the workforce continues to become increasingly competitive, it is imperative that applicants have diverse and relevant skills to set them up for success. This mandate is particularly true with technical skills, since technology plays a central part in the operations of nearly any modern business. We’ve pinpointed six of the most in-demand technical skills that will make your resume stand out to employers. Keep reading to learn how to boost your technical skill set.

1. Social Media Marketing

While many of us have at least one social media account, utilizing these platforms in a professional context is an entirely different process. Social media marketing -- defined in Hootsuite’s Social Media Glossary as “the use of social media to increase awareness, identify key audiences, generate leads, and build meaningful relationships with customers,” requires strategic implementation in order to be successful.

Impress a potential employer by demonstrating your understanding of the value of connecting to an audience through the use of social media. Common social media management programs to be acquainted with are Hootsuite, Sprinklr, and of course, major social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

2. Graphic Design

While you don’t have to be a digital Picasso, having an elementary understanding of design elements and programs will take you far in a number of positions and industries. A rudimentary knowledge of graphic design is particularly important for conveying complex messages in an easily-digestible visual format, such as a PowerPoint presentation. To enhance your understanding of graphic design, familiarize yourself with online design platforms such as Canva (which is free to use!) or the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. Experimenting with various design tools can help you compile a portfolio of original content that can be shown to potential employers during your job search.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

With an unfathomable amount of data on the internet, web traffic tends to get crowded, causing your own digital content to get lost in the clutter. Make your qualifications stand out with a solid understanding of the process and value of Search Engine Optimization, commonly abbreviated as SEO. SEO is the process by which back-end adjustments are made to help web content rank more efficiently in a search engine, boosting the page’s “organic” or natural web traffic (Fontein, 2016). Not to be confused with search engine marketing, which involves the paid promotion of a webpage, SEO is essential to enhance a company’s visibility on the web. Learn more about effective search engine optimization and the many factors that contribute to optimizing web content.

The important part is understanding how to interpret said data and formulate a strategy

4. Data Analytics

Anyone can collect data. The important part is understanding how to interpret said data and formulate a strategy based on these findings. Having experience with identifying patterns or changes in data will make your resume stand out to employers in nearly every industry. Begin with a basic understanding of how to use Microsoft Excel and Access to organize and translate a given set of data. An effective application of data analytics also ties into the aforementioned technical skill of graphic design when it comes to data visualization. A complex set of numbers or data can be overwhelming, and having experience with depicting data trends in a visual manner is a stand-out skill that will often be central to success in the workforce.

5. Programming Language

If you’re ready to take your technical skills to the next level, consider studying the realm of programming languages. Defined by Webopedia as the “vocabulary and set of grammatical rules for instructing a computer to perform specific tasks,” programming may not be a piece of cake, but it is a unique and valuable asset that will take you far in the professional world.

There are a number of programming languages, including notable languages such as Java, BASIC, and many more. Check out this site for an interactive introduction to the world of computer programming.

6. App Development

Finally, knowledge of how to create a mobile application will take you far in the workforce. As we continue to see a global shift toward mobile optimization, companies are constantly looking for ways to develop and improve their mobile presence. Hand-in-hand with an understanding of computer programming, there are plenty of guides and programs with information on app development that can be found online, many of which are free to use. To impress an employer, consider developing an application of your own, perhaps featuring your professional qualifications or interests.

While there are plenty of technical skills that will help you stand out and succeed in the workforce, any of these six are a great place to start. Ready, set . . . tech!



Written by Elizabeth Howard, Communications Intern for Bridgepoint Education.


Beal, V. (n.d.). Programming language. Retrieved from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/P/programming_language.html

Bradford, L. (2016, December 19). 6 Tech Skills That'll Help You Earn More In 2017. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurencebradford/2016/12/19/6-tech-skills-thatll-help-you-earn-more-in-2017/#2bc8872d2afe

Doyle, A. (2017, May 15). Top Computer Skills Employers Want to See on Your Resume. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/computer-skills-list-2063738

Fontein, D. (2016, December 13). The 2016 Social Media Glossary. Retrieved from https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-glossary-definitions/#S

Lu, M. (n.d.). Programming Basics. Retrieved from http://www.programmingbasics.org/en/

Pratt, M. K. (2016, December 07). 10 Hottest Tech Skills for 2017. Retrieved from http://www.computerworld.com/article/3147427/it-skills-training/10-hottest-tech-skills-for-2017.html

What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo


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