Tag Archives: Excel

What You Need to Know About Administrative Hiring Trends


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.

MOS Access 2016 Objectives

MOS Excel 2016 Objectives

MOS Outlook 2016 Objectives 

MOS PowerPoint 2016 Objectives

MOS Word 2016 Objectives

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.

Why You Should Learn Excel!

Click on the YouTube video below to listen to the song that was created by University of Texas Professor Clint Tuttle and get an entertaining, enlightening serenade on why you should learn Microsoft Excel.

According to a 2015 U.S. News & World Report article, “If you want a better job, master Excel.”

Middle-skill Jobs—those jobs that require more than a high school diploma, but less than a bachelor’s degree—are considered the jobs that have long been associated with middle income wage earners. For example, jobs such as office and administrative assistants as well as managerial positions in industry, communications, retail, healthcare, and other major sectors want their employees to be proficient in spreadsheets—Excel.

In fact the demand for digital proficiency for these middle-skill jobs has only grown over time and will continue to grow. You can read more about these jobs by clicking this link to read the 2015 report (PDF file) prepared by Capital One Financial Corporation and Burning Glass Technologies.

Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy Professor Tuttle’s musical message—it’s the truth, folks!

GET DIGITALLY PREPARED TODAY by taking an Excel class or other Microsoft Office productivity software classes—Word, PowerPoint, Access, and Publisher—through Richland College’s BOSS Program. The Microsoft Office 2016 version and Windows 10 will be offered this coming fall!

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams.

DYK–if you take a DCCCD class, you are eligible for a free download of the latest Microsoft Office 365 version? You can use your MS Office software on up to 5 devices!

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information on BOSS class offerings, please call 972-238-6215 or email Angela Nino at anino@dcccd.edu.

Calculations Quickly!

Here’s a quick but very useful Excel tip.  It is especially helpful when performing calculations on lengthy columns. 

Excel Tip

Give this tip a try to see if you like this method better than dragging the fill handle down, which is the method used by many who work with Excel daily.  It is easy and very fast!

For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, anino@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6382.


Using the Data Validation Feature in Excel  

Have you ever wished for a way to limit the data in an Excel cell to match certain parameters?  If so, the Data Validation feature located under the Data tab in the Data Tools group is for you!  It is a feature that is simple to use and offers several options.

Let’s say that the name of your column in Excel is Paid and the correct response in the cells of this column is either Yes or No.  To limit the values for this column to either Yes or No, do the following:

Select the cells you wish to limit to a value of either Yes or No.  Click the DATA tab; in the Data Tools Group click the Data Validation button.  The dialog box shown below will open.  Click the down arrow in the Allow text box and choose List.  Click in the Source box and type Yes, No as shown below.  This will limit the data input for the selected cells to accepting only Yes or No in the cell.

Validation Yes No box

The cells to which the validation is applied will also have a drop down arrow allowing the user to select either Yes or No from the drop down list when the cell is selected.

If you click the Input Message tab, you may enter a short message telling the user the values that may be entered in the selected cell.  When one of the restricted cells is selected, the message you see at left will appear.

Validation Message

Could it be any easier?


For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support (BOSS) department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

The VLOOKUP Function (A Mystery to Many Excel Users)

by Meggen Mills

The VLOOKUP Function is one of the most useful functions in Excel.  It is also one of the most confusing and least understood functions.  This article describes the formula syntax and usage of the VLOOKUP function (function: A prewritten formula that takes a value or values, performs an operation, and returns a value or values. Use functions to simplify and shorten formulas on a worksheet, especially those that perform lengthy or complex calculations.) in Microsoft Excel.


You can use the VLOOKUP function to search the first column of a range of cells, and then return a value from any cell on the same row of the range.


You are a new employee in the Benefits department of a large company with over 2500 employees.

Suppose your department has just sent a notice to selected company employees (approximately 750 employees) notifying them that they still have  vacation days available this year, and your boss has asked you to determine the department these selected employees work in. The only problem is that the notice you sent did not ask for their department; you only know their Name and Employee ID number. Continue reading

Excel Worksheets: Flexible and Easy to Manipulate

When you open a new Microsoft Excel Workbook file, there should be three worksheets available by default, labeled Sheet1, Sheet2, and Sheet3. As your Excel files become more complicated, it’s important to rename each worksheet to appropriately reflect its respective content. To rename a worksheet, right-click its sheet tab and click Rename. Type in the new name of the worksheet and press the Enter key.

When three worksheets aren’t enough for your task, you can add worksheets. To add a single worksheet, right click on any sheet and choose Insert from the Quick Menu.  At the end of the last sheet in the Workbook file, there is also an Insert Worksheet button.  Here’s one more method:  the Shortcut key to insert a worksheet is SHIFT F11.

It is also easy to change the number of sheets in a new workbook file.  In Excel, click File, Options, and choose the General tab on the left.  Under “When creating new Workbooks” change the number 3 in the Include this many sheets box to the number of sheets you wish to have in each new Excel Workbook file that you create.

If you have a particular worksheet you’d like to move or copy to a different location, select the worksheet(s) you want to move/copy, right click and choose Move or Copy from the Quick Menu.  The following dialog box will appear.

Move or Copy Box

In the box above, the selected sheet is set to copy to the Workbook file named, EX D-Quarterly Tour Expenses.  It will be placed before the sheet named Sheet3.

If you forget to check the Create a copy box, the selected sheet will be moved rather than copied.

You are now on your way to being an Excel Worksheet Manipulation Expert!


For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

Essential Skills That Should Be in Every Employee’s Toolkit!

10-21-2013 - Essential Skills That Should Be in Every Employee’s Toolkit!--142327423When we think about jobs and their various requirements, the tendency may be to focus on the specialized skill such as accounting, marketing, IT, nursing, HR, etc., but blogger Sharlyn Lauby suggests that there needs to be a closer look taken of  basic skills. She has put a lot of emphasis on the fact that every employee should have these skills—regardless of the job position.

The list below may sound simple and basic; but according to Lauby, employees and applicants who lack one or more of these items is the reason why job recruiters and employers are becoming more and more frustrated!

So even if you are currently employed or if you are looking for a job, take a look at this list and make sure you are proficient in all of these areas:



Skill Comment


Good Communication Skills Both your verbal and written skills need to be proficient. A review of grammar can help you with the spoken and written word.


Computer Many of the job descriptions have the expectation that you are already competent in widely-used software such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.


Customer Service Companies expect their employees to know how to interact with their customers in a professional, respectful manner.


Diversity Awareness While this item was not a part of Lauby’s original list, the decision was made to include it because we work in environments today that are made up of people from many different backgrounds and cultures.


Empathy There may be a number of times throughout your career when you will need to “put yourself in the other person’s position” to understand your customers or co-workers better, and having empathy will help you tremendously in the communication process.


Learning This may appear to be a “no brainer,” but you should be prepared to be a lifelong learner. Whether you take formal classes or workplace training, new knowledge is the order of the day.


Math Unless your job requires a higher order of math, you should be familiar with business math concepts such as percentages, decimals, etc., These concepts can help you apply, interpret, and understand some of those spreadsheet functions better. Remember, most decisions are data driven today.


Organization Getting your work completed accurately and on time requires you to manage your time and tasks in an systematic fashion. Use time management software tools to help you organize your work life.


Problem-Solving When confronted with a problem, it is very important for you to (1) understand the problem, (2) develop a workable plan for solving the problem, (3) carry out the plan, and (4) evaluate the plan—did it work? Don’t expect others to solve all of your problems. You will be expected to find logical solutions to issues.


Research and Information Gathering If you need more information in order to get a task completed or to solve a problem, you must be ready to research the area and look for workable solutions. Employers don’t have much time for people who throw their hands up every time they are confronted with a new situation.


Teamwork You’ve got to be able to work with others! In today’s world most jobs require us to spend time working with others on projects—both real world and virtual. Having a respect for others, being able to communicate your thoughts effectively, and having a sense of empathy all play a part in successful, productive team outcomes.

For more information on the BOSS program and how BOSS courses can help you with your career and enhance your skills, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/RLCBOSS/

Merging Cells in Excel

When centering headings on an Excel worksheet, most of us use a feature called Merge and Center.  Merging and Centering cells in Excel is easy. Just select the cells that you want to merge and click the Merge and Center button in the Alignment group on the Home tab (in Excel 2007, 2010, or 2013).

However, have you ever wanted to merge the cells in several rows, but not wanted to merge all of those cells into one gigantic cell? Did you select the cells in the first row, merge them, move on to the second row and so on?  This method works; but fortunately, there is a much simpler way to go about it. The answer is a seldom-used feature called Merge Across.

If you click the down arrow to the right of the Merge and Center command, you will see a command called Merge Across.  To use this feature, select all of the cells that you want to merge across but not down. Click the arrow to the right of Merge and Center and select Merge Across. Your cells will be nicely merged across, but each row will still be separate from those above and below them. If you wish to also center the data in the merged cells, simply click the Center button in the Alignment group on the Home tab.

You may have wondered what would happen if you clicked the Merge Across command.  Now you know!


For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

IF: A Very Powerful Excel Function

The IF function evaluates a condition (a logical test), and then returns one value if the condition is true and another value if the condition is false.

Use the following information as a guideline for the IF Function.  It is also helpful to use the Function Arguments dialog box (shown above) to build the If Function.  (Click fx button to left of Formula Bar and Locate IF function.)

The IF function has three arguments:

A condition that is evaluated as true or false.

The value to be returned if the condition is true.

Value may be Text (surrounded by quotation marks; “” denotes leave blank)

Value may be a Number

Value may be a Formula

The value to be returned if the condition is false.

Value may be Text (surrounded by quotation marks; “” denotes leave blank)

Value may be a Number

Value may be a Formula

The condition (first argument) uses one of the following six relational operators:

Equal To: =
Not Equal To: <>
Less Than: <
Greater Than: >
Less Than or Equal To: <=
Greater Than or Equal To: >=

The format of the IF function is:

=IF(condition to be evaluated or logical test, value if true, value if false)

For example, if your employees were to receive a bonus or $250 if their sales for the month of May were greater than or equal to $1000, then here is what the IF function would look like in cell C8 for Ben (the first employee):

Ben’s sales for the month were $1500 (B8) and the bonus cell is C8.

=IF(B8>=1000, 250, 0)  or to leave bonus cell blank  =IF(B8>=1000, 250, “”)

Condition to be evaluated: B8>=1000

Value if true:  250

Value if false:  0  (or “” to leave cell blank)

You could then copy the formula to determine which employees were to receive a bonus of $250 and which employees were to receive no bonus.

If you have never used the IF function in Excel, give it a try.  The function is a real time saver when performing certain types of calculations using any version of Microsoft Excel.


For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support (BOSS) department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.