Ask an Expert: Illustrating Skills in Technology

Karissa Chabot-Purchase

Karissa Chabot-Purchase, Assistant Director, Career Services, James Madison College

Question: In a recent job interview I was asked to provide some examples of my experience using technology. I wasn’t sure what the employer was hoping to hear— is there a good way of responding to a question like this?

One of the competencies NACE (the National Association of Colleges and Employers) highlights as important to launching and developing a successful career is technology. As stated on their website, possessing a technology competency involves being able to, “understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.”

Many employers will be eager to hear about your technology skills during the hiring process, and it’s likely they’ll expect you to be ready to illustrate with relevant examples. Below is NACE’s overview of sample behaviors with some prompts for you to consider as you reflect on your own technology skills.

NACE Sample Behaviors

  • Navigate change and be open to learning new technologies.
  • Use technology to improve efficiency and productivity of their work.
  • Identify appropriate technology for completing specific tasks.
  • Manage technology to integrate information to support relevant, effective, and timely decision-making.
  • Quickly adapt to new or unfamiliar technologies.
  • Manipulate information, construct ideas, and use technology to achieve strategic goals.

As you reflect on your own technology skills, consider…

  • What are some of the “new-to-you” technology platforms you’ve started using since you started college? Any that might be relevant in a workplace setting?
  • Have you adopted any new technology in the classroom/as a part of your coursework?
  • Did you receive any technology training (formal or informal) while working a part-time job or through an internship?
  • Are there any technologies you’ve adopted/taught yourself? Maybe because you were curious or “just for fun?”
  • What tools do you rely on to get your work done efficiently?
  • Have you ever introduced a new technology to peers or colleagues to improve a group project or streamline a process at work? How did it affect your process and outcome?
  • What technical tools do you engage to manage your schedule, task lists, and projects?
  • Are there times you’ve consulted with family or friends to select an appropriate technical tool for a project?
  • How do you stay on top of emerging technical tools and weigh whether adopting them might be useful to you?
  • Think about the ways you’ve presented information to persuade an audience (in class, in a student group setting, or at work, for example). What kind of technologies did you rely on?
  • Do you have any experience using a surveying tool? How about using technology to analyze data?
  • When was the last time you had to quickly (or unexpectedly) learn a new tech. platform?
  • What technical platforms did you have to learn at the onset of the pandemic (for school, work, etc.)?
  • Can you describe your process for learning a new technology? Do you prefer watching a tutorial? Troubleshooting and figuring things out on your own? Engaging in an online forum that offers users assistance and tips? Something else?
By Karissa Chabot-Purchase
Karissa Chabot-Purchase Assistant Director, Career Services Network