I frequently see resumes from job applicants claiming Advanced Microsoft Word skills. When such a high level of proficiency seems highly improbably given their previous work experience and education, I am very skeptical. When I have doubts and the answer is important to me, I ask questions. I want to know what specific things you can do on the job tomorrow.
Many job postings ask for advanced skills beyond what is essential, but that doesn’t really matter. When you are asked in a job interview some sort of vague question about your Microsoft Office skills, you still need to nail it convincingly.
That is the reason I created the checklists that are now available in the MS Office Skills Checklists section. By making sure that you know exactly what advanced skills are, you can avoid an awkward conversation that doesn’t answer the question. You don’t want either error. You don’t want to be embarrassed when you learn that you actually don’t have any advanced skills. Pretending you have skills that you don’t makes for an entertaining movie, but I think the thrill of the experience falls short of that in real life.
The other error is to mumble something vague when you actually have performed almost all of the items on the Intermediate and Advanced Microsoft Word skills checklist.
The interviewer will like write down something vague in the space on the page that is reserved for your answer to the Microsoft skills question. They won’t likely actually ask you to prove that on the spot. You may breathe a sigh of relief but you haven’t done anything to assure them. Remember that most people who interview you are mostly worried about making a mistake in hiring you and they are looking for maximum reassurance to dispel every concern. Why not further dispel the prospective employer about your Microsoft word skills by creating a “credential” of your own? Simply stated, if they only ask you 10 questions in the interview, do you really want to leave one blank?
You could take a course in Intermediate Microsoft Word skills and add a shiny new certificate to your portfolio. But certificates are dated and apply to a specific version of the software. They lose credibility and relevance every year and costs time and money. In many cases, the prospective employer’s concerns about your Microsoft Word could be resolved by creating a simple document that shows your application of the Intermediate and Advanced Microsoft Word skills with a current version of the software.
In a few hours one evening, you may be able to create a very simple document that provides credible support for your claim of Advanced Microsoft Word skills. Remember, all you want to do is dispel any doubts that the prospective employer has about your ability to complete an assignment on the job tomorrow without further training or fumbling in a manual.
The most effective means of dispelling the employer’s concerns is to take a few hours and be prepared. Don’t go in hoping that none of the other job applicants are any better prepared.
Check out the relevant files on the MS Office Skills Checklists page and start getting prepared!
- What Credentials on Microsoft Word Skills can you offer? (danarmishaw.com)
- Microsoft Word 2010 Basic Skills Checklist for Job Seekers (danarmishaw.com)
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