Responsibility for credibly communicating your competence in advanced Microsoft Word Skills is entirely in your hands.
Fortunately, even if you can’t point to a fistful of recently-completed certificates, you can quickly create effective documentation of those essential skills and credential yourself.
If you follow the steps I will lay out for you, you will never need to worry that you will be over looked for promotion or have your job application tossed out simply because you learned barely enough skills to get by in fulfilling your current responsibilities.
And you can do that without spending a single dime!
Can you really “Credential Yourself”?
You could just create a nice colorful certificate but that would have about as much credibility as a “World’s Greatest Dad” t-shirt! But you can prepare something at least as effective and more relevant and current within groupings of skills that are generally considered to be basic, intermediate, or advanced skills in Microsoft Word.
You can start with the Advanced Microsoft Word Checklist that I have provided in the free resources section. Then once you have satisfied yourself that you can perform all of the listed tasks, you need to decide how you will substantiate that claim as needed when you are challenged in a job interview.
3 ways to substantiate your “Advanced Microsoft Word skills”
- Describe a work project that you already completed that required advanced level skills and how your skills in working on that project contributed real value. Be as specific as possible. Did the document support an important decision? Did it help bring in new business, increase safety in the workplace? In short, tell a story that adds credibility to your claims of proficiency.
- Find an opportunity outside your current employment. Offer to participate in some way to apply those advanced skills. If your church has a long and complex annual report, as does mine, offer to bring all the elements together to produce a more informative document with a more polished appearance. Your story might be “I brought the reports from the various ministries and leaders in the church together in one 40-page document, with 30 reports, 8 tables, 6 photos and 8 pages of financial statements, with an index, cover page, and hyperlinks.” Follow that up with positive comments from various leaders and other members of the congregation about the impact of your work on the congregation. Did they read they read the annual report more carefully? Did readers feel more reassured? Help the interviewer to imagine you providing the same benefits to them.
- Let your career portfolio showcase your skills. Why not apply as many of the skills from the checklist in preparing the portfolio? That will give you an excuse to pull it out and show the index, footnotes, etc. as a way to make sure they have a pretty clear idea what is in there that they wouldn’t otherwise discover in the interview! After all work in assembling an impressive portfolio, don’t leave the interview with it still sitting unopened!
In summary, tell them clearly what you can do for them and be ready to back that up with convincing evidence. Did you take courses to acquire the skills? That can certainly be part of the story, but you may not want to take more courses when Microsoft Office 2013 comes out. So your current employer may be using Word 2010 for a while longer, but you want to let prospective employers know that you can use Word 2013. The simple approach I have outlined here will allow you to do just that.
Now create your own “credentials” for other essential skills
Equally importantly, I hope that once you have used this approach to “credential” yourself in Microsoft Word and other Office skills, you will begin to do the same for other “soft” skills that are not so readily demonstrated to an employer. Have a checklist of skills for each area and create stories to support your claims. Not only will you be far better prepared for interviews and have a stronger resume, you will gain greater proficiency that will pay off in the job you still have!
Please let me know what additional checklists could help you get ready for the job interview questions in the future. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and start a conversation! I’m looking forward to hearing from you!