soft, buursesWhether you’re just starting your career or looking to re-skill for a change, Microsoft Office is always going t play a role. The world’s most widely-used business software is so popular because it’s user-friendly. However, once you get past the very basic functions, you’ll find some extremely powerful tools that can do almost anything. 

The world has already shown that people have a thirst for Microsoft Office knowledge, such as the popularity of Microsoft online courses in recent years. Often, it’s to help people do their jobs better but this learning also provides a crucial stepping stone for career advancement.

So, in this article, we’re going to have a look at what Microsoft Office is, what types of training you can do, and most importantly, why it’s important for your career.

What is Microsoft Office?

Microsoft Office is a suite of business software used in most offices and business around the world. We’ve become to accept that the standard operating systems for email, word processing and spreadsheet creation are Microsoft Office. More recently, it’s even evolved into a cloud-based software called Microsoft 365. The newer iteration of the software makes it easier for businesses to pay for only what they need but also offers far more in the way of collaboration.

Microsoft 365 has all the same functions as previous versions of Microsoft Office, but it refers to the programs as apps. This is important because it’s more user friendly for use on tablets and smartphones as well as PCs. You’ll also notice a slight change in titles, for example, Outlook becomes ‘Mail’, but essentially all the old programs are still there.

The older version of Microsoft Office included popular programs like Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote and Access. But the new version has a whole lot more, mainly due to the big focus on collaboration.

Some of the additional apps include:

  • People
  • Calendar
  • SharePoint
  • OneDrive (Cloud storage)
  • Teams
  • Bookings
  • Graph

This list is not exhaustive, and some will come at an additional cost because they fall outside of the actual Office 365 suite of programs.

Microsoft Office training certification

Did you know that you can become officially credited as an expert by Microsoft themselves? These accreditations go beyond just using the software for day to day work, but for a career in business, it can be pretty valuable.

Of course, to earn Microsoft Office training certification, you need to have some serious skills and a deep understanding of the software. The only way you can really do this is by completing a range of Microsoft Office courses to boost your skills.

If you’re working in tech, or even in roles such as business administration, these accreditations look great on your resume and show employers that you’re serious about the work you do. 

You can find out more about these accreditations directly from Microsoft. But in the meantime, it’s worth getting started with some Microsoft online courses to start growing your skills and working towards the capability required for Microsoft accreditation.

For now, let’s take a look at the top 3 reasons why Microsoft Office training is important for your career.

The most widely used business software

It’s no secret that Microsoft is one of the biggest players in the software industry. The majority of offices around the world use the Microsoft Windows operating system. In fact, the figure usually sits between 77% and 87.8% market share, according to Wikipedia. That’s huge domination of the market by anyone’s reckoning, and the reach of Microsoft Office isn’t far behind.

What we’re talking about is the email and authoring market, which essentially means the office suite market. According to leading researcher Gartner, Microsoft held a whopping 87.5% of this market in 2019, with the only real competitors being Google and Zoho. While those two newcomers to the market are showing signs of growth, even google is only making up about 1% of the market each year.

Even with the shift to cloud-based software with Microsoft 365, it’s difficult to see any competitors making a real dent in Microsoft’s market share because using programs like Outlook, Word and Excel is so ingrained in education and business culture. 

So, the likelihood is, if you’re considering any career that involves even the smallest amount of computer usage, it’s likely you’ll need to know how to use Microsoft Office. 

Essential skills for scoring the job you want

Have you browsed plenty of job advertisements lately? If you’re looking for career changes, your first job, or even just a new job doing what you’re doing now, there’s usually one common requirement. Computer skills. 

While most people probably have some basic computer skills these days, many job advertisements are a lot more specific. They will often list particular software that you need to be familiar with. Specialist software will vary depending on the type of role, the industry and even the individual employer. But the most commonly required software skill is to be proficient in Microsoft Office.Remember that 87.5% market share that Microsoft holds? Well, you could safely assume that means 87.5% of jobs advertised will require you to have a working knowledge of the Office suite.

The other side of that is actually being successful in your job applications. While some job requirements may completely rule you out if you don’t have Microsoft Office skills, think about the other candidates you’re competing against. Even if Microsoft experience isn’t a listed requirement, if that business uses Office, you’ll get an advantage by letting them know you’re highly-skilled.

In the competitive job market, it’s all about having more skills and presenting better than other candidates. So, if you’ve had plenty of Microsoft Office training, you can really sell this as a key skill on any job application you write.

Build a wider set of skills

Finally, in any career, agility is a huge bonus. You don’t want to be pigeon-holed into only being able to do one task. Picture the scenario where you work as a receptionist in a busy office. Now, it’s easy for your boss to assume you’re great at answering phones and doing basic admin, but you may not be trusted with much else.

Now, imagine a job opens up in another department and you’re interested in throwing your hat into the ring. If that different role requires the more complex operation of Microsoft Office and you don’t have it, then you’re probably out of luck.

Having a wide variety of skills opens up more opportunities. Even if it’s not for a permanent job shift, it might just be an opportunity to fill in for someone or get involved in a special project. All of these are opportunities to advance your career. The fact is, without comprehensive Microsoft Office skills, a lot of doors may be closed for you.

Open up those doors by turning yourself into a Microsoft Office expert and show your skills at any chance you get!

What’s the best way to learn Microsoft Office?

We’ve already established that Microsoft Office is a huge program, both in functionality and popularity. The upside to that is there’s plenty of ways you can learn and update your skills.

Firstly, you can attend face-to-face training. This is usually done in a classroom setting and is fully facilitated. However, technology has started to slowly make this type of training less appealing. Covid-19 has almost put the final nail its coffin

A more popular alternative is attending training in virtual classrooms. Essentially, you can stay at your desk, or participate from anywhere you have an internet connection and a device. The courses are still fully interactive, facilitated, and you can ask questions along the way. This is where virtual classrooms surpass traditional self-paced learning, even.

Best of all, the courses are shorter and often hyper-focused on particular Office skills so you can embed them easily. However, if you’re completely new to Microsoft Office, there’s no need to panic. There are plenty of Microsoft courses for beginners, so you can learn the basics before moving on to more advanced skills.