6 Ways to Improve Your Tech Skills on the Job
Too often, it’s taken for granted that we’re all tech fluent. But that isn’t the case for everyone and moreover, degrees of fluency vary among all of us.
So perhaps you’re highly experienced with Microsoft Publisher and you’ve had a Facebook account for years, but you need to learn more about the technology that powers the hotel industry. Or maybe your past work experiences didn’t require you to use any type of technology and now you find it’s all new to you and perhaps even a bit overwhelming. In either case, here are six "cheat sheet" tactics to help you get up to speed:
Go to BBC Webwise. This is a great resource for those who need to brush up on basics like what a search engine is or how to get broadband.
Look for free learning sessions. You may be a wiz at using Microsoft Word, but less comfortable with Excel or PowerPoint. If you really want to up your game with basics like Microsoft Office, check with your local library to see if they offer free courses that focus on specific aspects of this commonly used software suite. Another option is to look for free tutorials on YouTube.
Try it out. Once you take a class or watch several tutorials, you have a theoretical understanding of how the software works. But you need to put it to practice. But to avoid any major blunders when creating a PowerPoint presentation or an Excel spreadsheet for the boss, try it out at home by creating a spreadsheet of your household expenses or putting together a PowerPoint that highlights your employment skills in a visual manner. The practice will serve you well.
Consider opening a Gmail account. If you don’t already have an email account with this Google provider, open one and use it for all of your job search correspondence. If you already have an AOL or Hotmail account that has served you well for years and your friends and family all of this address, certainly keep it for personal use. But as arguably the most popular of free email providers for its storage space, easy accessibility and security – among a multitude of other benefits, a Gmail account lends a certain unspoken legitimacy to whatever technology skills you claim on your resume.
Take some initiative. Like it or not, tech lingo has become embedded in the hotel industry and there’s no avoiding it. For example, if you’re seeking a job as a front desk agent, you will very likely need to use Customer Relationship Management software of a “CRM” system. Not sure what that is? Google it. Turning up to an interview with at least a basic understanding of hotel technology will improve your chances of landing the job over those candidates who need to ask what it is.
Reading is essential. While a quick Google search can give you a basic understanding of the purpose of various hotel technologies and software, try reading industry trade publications for a more precise idea of the technologies’ applications as well as the hotel organizations that utilize them. Many of these sites are not laden with tech jargon since they are are written for the hoteliers who invest in technology, not the tech professionals who develop them.
Spend more time on social media. If you don’t currently have a LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account, create one now. Hotels use these platforms to promote their businesses and you’ll want to see what they’re sharing with the traveling public before an interview. Hotels may also vet candidates’ social media accounts as part of the interview and hiring process. So if you’re Facebook or Instagram account is public and you post photos from wild nights with friends, you’ll want to change your privacy setting – at a minimum.
Also, even if your Facebook account is private, but you make inappropriate commentary in public groups that you belong to, employers can find those remarks. As a potential representative of their brand, potential employers will want you to respectful in all that you post in these online public forums. For a more detailed guide to best practices, see what the Washington State Department of Transportation tells their employees about social media usage as it can easily be adapted to hotel staff: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/DOT_SocialMediaPolicy_2014.pdf.