When you read a job description, you may be wondering what the company means by including a level of proficiency. It seems like they can be pretty arbitrary, so how do you know if you match the qualifications? If they say they want a new hire with “advanced” skills in Microsoft Office programs, what exactly do they mean, or how can you prove it. Over the last year, we took a closer look at basic and intermediate proficiency in these programs. Today, to complete the series, we want to provide information on what advanced means for your job search. Here’s what you need to know if you’re going to classify yourself as someone with advanced skills in MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Outlook.
Advanced Microsoft word is for people or companies that need to produce large, complex documents. Think of it like writing a college thesis paper. You need to know how to insert and format footnotes, endnotes, indexes, tables of contents, and more. You also know macros and can add graphic elements to the document. You know how to use autoformatting and advanced styles, and you can manage revisions by tracking changes and adding comments.
Advanced Excel is all about knowing how to manipulate and analyze data. You will even know how to automate some Excel commands. You can customize the work area, use advanced functions like VLOOKUP, IF, and IS, and you know how to work with pivot tables. You can manage macro commands, use personalized toolbars, and perform some VBA programming.
In general, PowerPoint doesn’t go much beyond intermediate tools. If you understand basic and intermediate functions, you are likely an expert at PowerPoint. To take your skills to the next level, focus on learning how to build interactive presentations using weblinks, interactive objects, and the Meeting Minder. You can even learn how to present online or as a broadcast for virtual presentations.
Even Outlook has a few advanced functions above and beyond email organization. You can create search folders, group mailbox items, filter messages, manage junk mail, archive mail, and create an outlook data file. Advanced outlook skills are all about improving productivity.
Companies will often have their definitions of intermediate skills with these programs, but knowing some of these advanced skills can give you an advantage in the workplace. It’s also essential to learn how to interpret job descriptions to communicate your skills to potential employers.
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