Here are several interesting thoughts about how
computers make us more productive and marketable in our careers:
- I'm amazed at the number of middle and upper-level management
job hunters that don't own a computer, can't create a word processed
document or copy a disk, don't have an e-mail address, and have
never surfed the Web. They are often at a disadvantage in the job
market, and in new jobs they undertake.
- No matter what your careerfrom entry-level to CEOit's wise
to push yourself to learn additional computer skills, even if you
don't think you'll need them. Play with such programs as word
processing, spreadsheets, database packages, HTML, web designeven
Internet surfing and electronic gamesanything that stretches
your abilities. People with current computer skills are in high
demand now, and even top executives are expected to tote their
laptops and Blackberries on the road.
- Not all software programs are alike. Some should be driven
by experts and can take months or years to master. Graphics programs
are a good example of tools that are infinitely complex and can
consume too much productive time on even simple tasks or
projects. Be a good judge of when to hire an expert to help you
spend your time and dollars wisely.
- If you're investing in a PC, you should buy the most advanced
system you can afford. The reason you buy the best is that
all the hardware and software is installed and configured at
the factory, meaning everything supposedly works together.
If you buy a bargain PC, you're forever returning it to the shop
for more memory, different software, a bigger hard drivewhatever.
That takes oodles of time, costs lots of money, and usually comes
at a terrible timelike when a recruiter asks you to send a complete
dossier for a job with a 30% salary increase. [Get recruiters here.]
- Current software packages like Windows 2008, AntiVirus programs, HTML editors, FTP clients (programs that transfer
files onto the Internet) are so complex that few workers really learn
them completely. The technical experts in our office help each other
out constantlyand willinglyas one always knows something the other
doesn't. It's a good idea to give computer help, as well as
to receive it.
- Make friends with technical experts in your workplace.
These "techies" and "nerds" as they often call themselves,
may prefer casual clothes rather than coat and tie, but they can
save your day when your computer screen says,
"This program has performed a fatal error and will be shut down."
and PC Magazine are good e-mags for beginners.
They're a combination of technology,
comedy, comic book, psychedelic advertising, freaky photography,
and mighty helpful ideas. You'll find reviews for dozens of useful
- Many e-mail programs offer an Auto Signature feature.
This utility attaches the same message at the end of every e-mail you send.
Most folks use their name, address, telephone numbers, e-mail address,
and web address as their sig file. That way they don't have
to re-type the data hundreds of times. Others use a motivational quote
or facts about their products or services as a signature file.
- If you're submitting a lot of resumes electronically,
you can use your cover letter and resume as a sig file.
Using this method, I sent out press releases announcing a free cover
letter Website and the effort produced a write-up in
Yahoo! Internet Life under "incredibly USEFUL Websites."
- If a want ad gives a mailing address, FAX number, and e-mail
address, send the resume all three ways, with a note saying something
like, "This is a duplicate submission. This job is a perfect fit for
my skills, and I want to be certain you see my resume."
- One final hint: don't run virus scanning software at midnight,
unless you want to stay up until 4:00 a.m. deleting infected files,
as I once did. (And then the computer still died.) It's better to
check for viruses early in the day after a hearty breakfast.
- Good luck, take two computer manuals to bed, and call me in the morning.
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