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 Dave Johnson they do!
With communicators including more and more visuals in their presentations (such as photos, SmartArt and WordArt, and other built-in PowerPoint graphics) visuals now play a bigger role in the overall success (or lack of success) of your message.
In his August 2011 article for CBS MoneyWatch, noted author Dave Johnson emphasizes the need to follow some basic design rules when developing visuals for your presentation. You need to keep two key areas in mind when planning your visuals: (1) “consistency (from slide to slide and across your text and graphics) and (2) readability (so it’s easy on the eyes no matter where in the room someone is sitting).”
When you begin preparing visuals for your next presentation, be sure that you follow Dave’s top ten design suggestions:
- Use thicker lines for visibility
- Use the same line width everywhere in presentation
- Use shapes instead of lines for readability and visual interest
- Line everything up on a grid
- Use size to convey importance; don’t vary box sizes just to accommodate larger text labels
- Don’t spam the slide with lots of different graphic styles (your visuals will take on an “amateurish” look)
- Don’t use more than three unique colors
- Use primary colors—red, green, blue
- Use bright backgrounds—don’t put text or graphics against grey or black
- Don’t use colors that are very similar—your projector probably can’t make an obvious distinction
Johnson also includes a link to a SlideShare presentation that does an excellent job of illustrating the dos and don’ts of visual design. These slides provide quick, simple examples and tips that can help you prepare a winning presentation!
Source: Dave Johnson, CBS MoneyWatch, “10 Rules for Smart-Looking Presentations”, August 3, 2011. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505143_162-28652078/10-rules-for-smart-looking-presentations/?tag=bnetdomain>
For more information on BOSS software offerings, the BOSS degree and certificates, and how the BOSS program can help you with your career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, email@example.com 972-238-6215.
Recently, a major publication featured a story about PowerPoint. The point of the article is that even if you have a fantastic PowerPoint that you need a great presentation to go along with it. You need to do more than just click through some slides and talk. The authors mentioned several great tips:
1. Recruit someone who is an expert on the area/topic about which you are presenting to present with you.
2. Give free samples (that are relevant to your audience) to pass around to the audience.
3. Get the audience involved. Ask questions and have the audience ask questions.
4. Know when to use a dark background (in a large room with artificial lighting) versus light background (in a small room with mostly natural lighting).
5. When you are not giving the presentation in person, such as when people are watching a presentation at a kiosk or you are uploading it to a web site, you can record your voice as narration for the presentation.
Several other tips are mentioned in this video by Jennifer Austin giving a presentation at the University of Buffalo about the do’s and don’ts of presenting. Check out her presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/jhaustin/presentation-tips.
For more information, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, firstname.lastname@example.org 972-238-6215