When you are looking for work, you need a hook that will make your resume stand out from the competition. Certification as a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) not only provides proof of proficiency with Microsoft Office products, it shows a potential employer your commitment to professionalism and continuous self improvement.

Many people choose self-study to prepare for the MOS certification, but that can leave important holes in their knowledge when it comes time for the exam. As an example, let's look at the testing requirements of MS Excel.

Organizing and analyzing

Even the most experienced Excel user has probably not explored all of Excel's advanced analysis features. One user might know how to use lookup functions but has no experience with database functions. Another might be a whiz with filters, but doesn't understand how to trace formula precedents and dependents. You might know how to use pivot tables, but haven't touched the new XML structure commands.

Most introductory MS Excel courses give you the foundation you need to understand the more advanced concepts you will find on the certification exam. Intermediate courses introduce concepts such as list management. This is all brought together in advanced courses, which show you all you need to know about lookup functions, subtotals, database functions, pivot tables, and much more.

Formatting and customizing

Knowing how to organize and analyze your data is only one part of the certification process. Proper formatting of your spreadsheets gives your presentations more power to present that data in an understandable way. Customization of the Excel application lets you work more efficiently and accurately.

After an introductory course, intermediate courses demonstrate chart formatting and toolbar customization. The advanced course gives you all you need to know about creating, editing, and running Excel macros.

Collaborating and managing

There is a big world of data outside your spreadsheet, and you need to know how to connect to it. Whether it's importing data from another application or creating a workbook that can be edited collaboratively, you need to know it all to complete your certification.

Most intermediate MS Excel courses teach you about templates, workgroup collaboration, and data consolidation. Advanced courses move on to interactive web-based worksheets and external database queries.

Gaining the Competitive Edge

MS Excel courses give you every advantage when taking the Excel examination of the MOS certification. It doesn't stop with MS Excel. Courses are available in Word, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook to prepare you for every aspect of the certification process. Taken through specialised MS training facilities courses, you can master the ins and outs of each MS Office application in just 2-5 days of training and will be able to add "Certified Microsoft Office Specialist" to your resume in no time.