If you’re thinking of a career in office support, having the right knowledge of popular systems and applications is crucial. This is the case for administrative assistants, office assistants, office managers, and data managers. Of course, anyone who has ever been exposed to “office life” knows that almost every company uses Microsoft Office. That’s why proficiency with the Microsoft Office suite is the premier skill for all support staff.
Is There a Certification for Microsoft Office?
Yes! It’s called Microsoft Office Specialist Certification. Those who complete training to obtain certification will be verifiable experts in the following programs:
Microsoft has special conditions for obtaining Microsoft Office Specialist Associate certification. The first is that you must pass three out of four associate-level exams for (MO-100) Microsoft Word, (MO-200) Microsoft Excel, (MO-300) Microsoft PowerPoint, and (MO-400) Microsoft Outlook. Next, you must pass two out of three expert-level exams for (MO-101) Microsoft Word Expert, (MO-201) Microsoft Excel Expert, and (MO-500) Microsoft Access Expert.
A Closer Look at Microsoft Office Programs
While you may be familiar with the Microsoft Office universe, you may not realize the full potential of this suite of products. These programs are invaluable to businesses because they allow for content creation, editing, insight building, and sharing. The following are the software programs included in the Microsoft Office suite:
Launched in 1983, Microsoft Word is a universally used word processor that integrates with the rest of the Microsoft suite. It allows users to create professional-quality documents and reports. Features include spell check, grammar check, formatting, imaging insertion, page layouts, and HTML support. Documents can be imported, exported, shared, and edited with ease.
Microsoft Excel is the most popular spreadsheet software program available. It serves as a powerful tool for importing data to create visualizations and analysis tools. It can also be used to make calculations using data batches. Many organizations use Excel to manage customer accounts, balance budgets, and complete quarterly reports. This program is capable of keeping track of financial transactions.
Microsoft PowerPoint is a widely used presentation software that creates professional-level slideshows and demonstrations. It is commonly used for training, business pitches, and annual reports. Users can choose to build presentations using text, images, art, and videos. In addition to providing easy-to-use templates, Microsoft PowerPoint also allows users to build presentations from scratch using custom elements.
Microsoft Outlook is the default email and communications platform for most businesses. This program allows you to send and receive email messages. It also has a built-in calendar that integrates with your email and messaging functions. In addition, the program allows users to store contact information, import documents, and track tasks.
Microsoft Access is a tool for creating desktop databases. Users can quickly create customizable applications for internal usage. Many companies use Access as the default shared platform for data reference, reporting, and analysis.
How Important Is Microsoft Office When Applying to Jobs?
Many companies and job recruiters consider knowledge of Microsoft Office to be standard when reviewing resumes from applicants. This is because many companies and organizations actually consider Microsoft Office to be the lifeblood of all internal communications. So, having Microsoft Office on your resume gives you an immediate advantage over other applications. In addition, not having Microsoft Office certification can get your resume buried under a big stack of job inquiries.
Simply “being familiar with” Microsoft Office isn’t good enough. The truth is that most people have at least some knowledge of Microsoft programs because they’ve used them at the surface level for school and work projects. However, knowing how to manage the basic functions of these programs is not the same as being an expert. It’s very easy for people to state that they have knowledge of Microsoft Office on resumes and job applications. That’s why many companies and hiring managers demand to see proof of Certification for Microsoft Office before considering candidates.
The basic functions only scratch the surface of what these programs are truly capable of doing. Once you’re in a support role in an office or corporate setting, you’ll need to utilize all the “deep” features and functions of these programs to perform your job duties. What’s more, knowing how to properly maximize all the features and functions of these programs will enable you to perform your work more efficiently. After all, Microsoft Office programs are all part of a category called “productivity software.” That means they enable you to do better work, gain more insights, and collaborate with others in your office more easily.
How Do You Prepare for Microsoft Office Certification Exams?
The good news is that Microsoft Office certification exams are open to everyone. There is no barrier to entry when it comes to obtaining this very important certification that’s going to make you stand out as a job candidate. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone who takes certification exams is guaranteed to pass. In fact, Microsoft Office Certification requires a deep time commitment. Most students require hundreds of hours of study to pass.
Fortunately, there is a way to increase your chances of succeeding the first time while also becoming a true expert. Professionals who have expert-level knowledge of Microsoft Office are often the products of vocational programs designed to help them pass Microsoft Office certification exams. And these programs actually equip students interested in landing roles in office support and analytics to operate a wide variety of business information systems.
Business Information Systems Diploma
A business information systems diploma is considered the gateway to becoming an expert at informational ecosystems like Microsoft’s suite of programs. The benefit of getting a formal education in productivity software is that you’ll be learning the underlying basics of informational systems and can apply that knowledge to programs both in and out of the Microsoft family of software.
Students enrolled in business information systems diploma programs are introduced to basic, intermediate, and advanced functions of software. They learn how software programs intersect for expandability and compatibility.
One-On-One Instructor Mentorship
While learning software systems is the focus of business information systems programs, it’s the “human element” of these programs that really allows graduates to shine. Vocational programs offer one-one-one mentorship with instructors. That means students are never simply trying to piece together information that they can find in various books and online tutorials on their own. They’re benefiting from a structured system designed to help them move from process to process in a progressive way until they achieve mastery of various software programs.
In addition to offering dedicated classroom instruction designed to prepare students for certifications and careers, vocational programs also offer career services. This is important because students may not know how to connect with employers seeking their specific skills after obtaining certification on their own. Career services allow students to match their skills to job openings in fields that they find interesting and engaging.
Obtaining certification for Microsoft Office by passing all the necessary associate-level and expert-level exams is an easy way to open new career possibilities. Applicants with this certification on their resumes are considered for exclusive job roles that demand this level of expertise. However, preparing for Microsoft Office certification exams doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Enrolling in a vocational program for information services allows students to gain understanding of the basic concepts that all productivity software platforms are built on.
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