As time and technology both march forward, you need to be sure that both your soft skills* AND your software skills** are at a sought-after level by potential employers—that when employers review your capabilities and experience, they find both skill sets highly desirable!
In a recent article in which Brandi Britton, district president of OfficeTeam, was interviewed by Certiport, she emphasized certain trends that administrative professionals need to keep in mind both for current and future career prospects.
Overwhelmingly, managers are aware that administrative professionals are important to the success of the managers of these companies. Consequently, and as Britton summarized this point, she noted that, “Employers are looking for support staff who are adaptable and can help with projects beyond their traditional job descriptions.”
Administrative professionals must be able to demonstrate their ability to save their bosses time without compensating quality. The old adage “time is money, and money is time” has never been truer!
Administrative professionals also must demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively and professionally with internal and external groups. Highly-developed verbal and written communication skills are essential to progressing up the career ladder.
Britton also indicated that it is essential for administrative professionals who want to emphasize their proficiency with the most widely-used office productivity software—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access—to demonstrate they are proficient by showing proof—by passing the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exams and thus earning the accompanying certifications!
She also pointed out that job advancement as well as the possibility of salary increases are two good reasons to work towards the goal(s) of passing one or more of these MOS certification exams. They are your proof that you are indeed knowledgeable and proficient in the given software application(s).
Brandi Britton closes her Certiport interview by leaving readers with some great advice for administrative professionals who are looking for employment in today’s job market. You can click on this link and then scroll down to watch that video.
If you are interested in getting more information on how you can get your Microsoft Office skills to a proficient level; or if you want to know how you can get your MOS Certification in one or more MS software applications, let Richland College’s BOSS program help you get the answers to these and other questions.
Question 1: I use Word and Excel on a daily basis at work, but how can I determine if I already know enough about the software to just go ahead and take one of the MOS exams without having to take any classes or training?
Answer 1: Because Richland College is an authorized MOS testing center, you can contact us at 972-238-6215 for more information on purchasing a testing voucher and then scheduling and taking the specific MOS exam here at Richland.
It is, however, strongly suggested that you click on your chosen software application link below and then analyze whether you feel you are proficient in all of these objectives for the application AND that you can complete the scenario tasks in a timed situation.
These objectives are the official Microsoft objectives for which individuals are expected to demonstrate their proficiency when taking the timed MOS certification exams.
Question 2: How involved are the BOSS Microsoft Office classes?
Answer 2a: The software specific BOSS classes are designed to provide you with comprehensive knowledge and skills development in basic, intermediate, and some advanced software features. The software is learned via presentation, hands-on assignments, tests, and software simulation training/testing of the MOS testing environment.
Answer 2b: The BOSS program offers specific software classes that are dedicated to students learning the software applications at a proficient level and incorporating all of the official Microsoft objectives through textbook tutorials and assignments, hands-on tests, and simulated software that provides further reinforcement through training and timed testing.
Question 3: Are these classes offered in more than one format, and how many times a week must I come to Richland’s campus?
Answer 3: These are great questions; and, yes, there are three learning formats available to you, as well as a special option:
(A) If you feel you need to have an instructor present the material and explain certain concepts and features to you on a face-to-face basis, we offer these courses on an “on campus” basis. Typically, the on-campus courses meet twice a week. Some sections may be offered on a flex-term basis.
(B) If you feel comfortable taking the classes remotely (you still have full access to your instructor) and your work/personal schedule make it difficult for you to physically attend on campus, then online is the format you want. The online sections include the same content, and you have electronic access to your instructor to answer questions that you may have about features, content, etc. You don’t have to come to campus. Some sections may be offered on a flex-term basis.
(C) If time or transportation to campus is a big issue for you, but you still feel you need to interact face-to-face with your instructor, you might want to consider the hybrid format. You meet once a week on campus for the presentation of material, and your assignments are submitted electronically.
(D) Special Option: If, at any time, during the course you feel confident enough to take the MOS exam early and you do indeed pass the exam, you will receive an automatic B in the class without having to complete any remaining assignments, tests, etc. This option rewards you with earning college credit AND MOS certification early!
Question 4: If I decide to take more than one of these BOSS software classes, can I apply these credits towards some type of certificate?
Answer 4: Absolutely, there are three academic entry points that may interest you: the BOSS program’s (1) Software Application Specialist certificate, (2) Administrative Specialist certificate, or (3) Executive Assistant associate degree.
Question 5: I’m not sure I have the most up-to-date version of Microsoft Office on my home computer. Will I need to purchase the latest version?
Question 5: If you are already a student (or planning to become a student) at any of the Dallas County Community College District’s colleges (Richland is one of the seven colleges), then you will be able to download the latest version of Office 365 for free! Office 365 includes the software applications listed above and as well as others (such as OneNote, Skype, and Publisher).
In conclusion, let Richland’s BOSS program help you to maximize your potential in terms of your soft skills, your software skills, and your future career goals–enhance/acquire these skills at an affordable price!
You can get more details by visiting our website at https://www.richlandcollege.edu/boss
Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers online, on‑campus, and hybrid courses in flex-term and full semester formats. For more information email RichlandBOSS@dcccd.edu or call 972‑238-6215.
**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.
*Soft skills have been defined as those behaviors and qualities that lead to satisfactory or above-satisfactory interaction with others such as communication (listening, writing, speaking), collaboration and teamwork, critical and creative thinking, leadership, self-management and initiative, social responsibility, etc.
** Software skills demonstrate an individual’s knowledge of and proficiency in computer technology software. Proficiency with such technology greatly assists with the management and successful completion of office tasks and managing data effectively and efficiently on a time and output basis.
According to resume guru Barbara Safani, a poorly formatted resume can be a “deal breaker.” When you are asked to submit your resume to potential employers, be sure you avoid the following five pitfalls:
- Stay Away From Bulk–everyone agrees that large chunks of text are boring and a turnoff. Pick your words carefully so that your descriptions are clear, precise, and concise. Safani recommends no more than six lines to describe your responsibilities for a given position. Use graphic highlighting to illustrate your accomplishments, and make use of bullets.
- Tiny Type Is Not Good For The Eyes Or You–trust me, if an HR manager feels the need to pull out a magnifying glass in order to read your resume, your resume won’t get read! The recommended font size ranges from 10 to 12 points. This range has long been the accepted norm for reading material. If you go below this font size, you go at your own risk.
- Save the Fancy Fonts for Friends and Frivolity–the accepted business font types are Times New Roman and Arial or ones that closely resemble these two. The fancy script, or calligraphy fonts, or ones that look as though they should be on a theater program are difficult to read and considered inappropriate for business settings. One other word of caution is not to indulge yourself by bringing on the “bold and italics.” If you must use boldface, use it strategically and sparingly.
- Use White Space to Frame Your Message–if your resume is spread from edge to edge on the paper, the first impression is, “this is too much information, and it’s going to take too much time to read.” So guess where the final resting spot is for these resumes?—that’s right, File 13! Use white space to frame your information attractively and to make it easy for HR managers to quickly spot your key selling points.
- Too Long, So Long–a potential employer isn’t going to “wade through” pages of information to find out about your important experience and skills. If you have lots of experience from a number of positions, Safani recommends that you abbreviate older experience and perhaps put it in a category labeled “additional experience.”
Use these tips to help you fine tune your resume and to compete successfully for that coveted job!
For more information on the BOSS program and how it can help you prepare for a successful career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 972-238-6215.
If you want to succeed within your current company or with a future employer, you need to have a skill set that reflects both flexibility and know-how. The admin staffing company, Office Team, conducted a study entitled Office of the Future: 2020 that needs to be read by anyone planning to remain in or seeking to become an office professional. One finding of this study revealed that office professionals need to take a dynamic and continuous role in preparing for their own success in today’s, as well as in, future work environments by adopting the following ACTION plan:
Analysis – analyzing information and exercising good judgment
Collaboration – establishing rapport with team members and facilitating team building
Technical aptitude – selecting the best technical tools and using these tools effectively
Intuition – identifying and adapting to the needs and work styles of others
Ongoing education – engaging in continual learning
Negotiation – participating in business discussions that produce positive results
Developing critical thinking and analytical skills, managing time and work tasks effectively, operating in a virtual world, using mobile devices to complete business tasks, and developing specialty “niche” skills are just some of the expectations that have appeared on the horizon, and these employer requirements will continue to play a larger role in the lives of office professionals.
It’s an exciting and yet challenging time, and job titles and roles will definitely change over the next few years. You can download a free copy of this study and others by clicking this Office Team link.
For more information on the BOSS program and how it can help you prepare for success, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, email@example.com 972-238-6215.