Throughout the year, we have a responsibility to develop our professionalism. There are aspects to our learning experience that are self-instigated, one of them being technical skills. Think Excel, Tableau, and SQL. If you have experience already, you’re very lucky.

We use these programs often and unfortunately, many of us with non-business backgrounds don’t come in with a working knowledge of how to use them. The hope is that if you are diligent in practicing, you gain abilities that our professors like to note have been deciding factors for landing jobs. Technical skills are difficult to first learn because it’s like a new language. My advice: use online resources like Google and YouTube to learn. This is a crucial part of learning, because it is ineffective to expect class sessions alone to be sufficient.

I mentioned knowing technical skills has resulted in jobs. During job interviews, alums have been asked what specific things they know. Things like Pivot Tables and VLOOKUPS are keywords to buff up your resume and prove to recruiters that you have valuable skills others don’t. This is part of developing well-rounded professionals who can speak various business languages, including the technical things. Not knowing these things doesn’t mean you won’t get a job, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

If you have opportunities to utilize these tools, you can get a great head start for your career. I encourage you to use Excel for your budget, Outlook for your email, and online file sharing options like SharePoint. You’ll be better off for it.

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