I sometimes get the feeling from the format of emails I get and the strange formatting of resumes I see that there are those who believe computers are just a passing phase in our society.
I don’t know how to break this to those of you who have been reluctant to “get with the program,” one of the measures of you on the part of those receiving your many missives is your computer knowledge.
Perhaps “back on the block” (i.e. when you were working for the big corporation), you had someone to run your email and underlings to develop spreadsheets to execute your many ideas.
Well, to a large degree, those days are over for most of us. Even when you find another job, the chances are that there will be almost no secretarial support and only a minor possibility that you will have enough staffers to build spreadsheets for you. So, time to get on the stick and see if you can master that cute little device sitting on your desk with what appears to be a television screen and has this typewriter appearing keyboard in front of it. It is a computer. And, as you come to appreciate its many benefits, you will find it is a remarkable power tool.
Perhaps I was lucky that when I was in High School one of my friends convinced me to take second semester typing. In my old age I can type over 90 words per minute. Most nights I write the evening’s editorial just before sending out the newsletter. Over the course of the day I think about ideas I would like to share with all of you based on the conversations I have had with various members. I couldn’t do this if I didn’t understand my computer and how to use it.
Let me assume that most of you do actually have some skills with Excel. It is a core program to our profession. What may be a mystery is Word. Well, truth be told, it isn’t all that difficult to learn. If you need to take a class, register for one. No, you don’t have to build your skills to a level that you would qualify to become a professional secretary. But, you do need to know how to bold, change font sizes and create mirror margins. These are basic skills and you ignore them at your own peril.
Email is also a key skill. I can’t believe how many message I get where the sender appears to be sharing their email address with the entire family as in SmithFamily@Hotmail.com. Please, everyone should have their own address. And, they should know how to check how it appears to those you are sending it to so you can be sure it looks professional. In Outlook, there are several lines you need to change under “File, Account Settings, Change” to make your name appear as you want it.
Set up a free account somewhere so you can send messages to yourself. Take a look at the names of files you are attaching. ResumeRev57.doc is not a good idea. (Wow, he really worked on that didn’t he?) Neither is JohnSmith-long-version.doc. (Why didn’t he just send me the short version?)
All of these kinds of mistakes make you appear to be less than the capable person we all know you are. Experiment with using your computer. Take a few risks. You will find computers don’t actually have teeth. And, once you have sunk your teeth into this tool and gotten control over it, you will wonder why you waited so long to learn something that was SO simple.
As Larry King was once heard to say: “High technology! What will they think of next?”