It is hard to remember a time when computers were not ever-present in homes and offices, but nowadays secretarial staff simply cannot get by without competence in IT and, more specifically, Microsoft Office.
Proficiency in the Windows software is among the top three IT skills required by secretarial staff if they are to secure work, according to an expert.
Kerrie Fuller, membership manager of the Institute of Professional Administrators, asserts:
“I very much doubt you’d be able to get an admin job without them.”
“I think there are a few people still working in admin that have been working for maybe 20 or 30 years who perhaps didn’t start out having Microsoft Office skills, but they know now that if they wanted to move anywhere else or even do their jobs properly they wouldn’t be able to do that without Microsoft Office,” she explains.
Microsoft Office Word.
“Its one of those things that unless you’ve got those skills, you’re probably not going to even get past the application stage,” Ms Fuller asserts, highlighting the need for ambitious administrators to undergo Microsoft Office courses in London and Manchester.
The proficiency that administrative staff would most want to come away with having undergone secretarial training would be a thorough knowledge of Word, based on Ms Fuller’s assessments.
“I don’t think there’s any companies that would not use some kind of word-processing package,” she says. “Excel as well is becoming very important for being able to manipulate financial data.
“The third one is probably something like PowerPoint because a lot of PAs and secretaries have to do presentations for their bosses so they have to be quite aware of how to present things in Powerpoint,” she adds.
Proof Of Competency.
“But then I think something like Access is asked for quite a bit even though most companies have their own databases, they’ll be using Sage or some other CRM [customer relationship management] system,” Ms Fuller explains, which may suggest the need to take Sage classes in London and Manchester.
According to the experts, undergoing training such as Word 2007 courses makes a difference when it comes to marketing yourself to employers. Ms Fuller says the many applicants looking for a secretarial or Executive PA job would put on their CV that they have IT skills, but it is difficult to prove unless they have some kind of qualification or training.
“What some people are doing is the ECDL [European Computer Driving Licence] qualification because it has seven modules, because it looks at each package individually.
It’s something that employers can recognise and it’s got a mobility associated with it in that it’s a European qualification so it’s recognised,” she explains.
Recognised Training Provider
In addition, secretarial staff can go on to do the advanced ECDL to demonstrate a higher level of competency in ICT.
“I think that is definitely something that people are using to prove they’ve got IT skills, but there are obviously lots of different ICT qualifications,” Ms Fuller explains.
“Its picking something that employers are going to recognise because if they don’t know what it is they won’t believe in its authenticity or whether it was of any quality.
“If it’s a well-known thing, they’re happy with that, they know what that means, what standard you’re working to, and there’s a lot of hard work that would’ve had to have gone into that behind the scenes so they’re comfortable with that,” she asserts.
This is something that Clare Magloire, a graduate of Pitman Training’s High Holborn centre, confirms.
“If Pitman Training is on your CV, it’s trusted.
Although employers do not necessarily make it a pre-requisite that applicants must have these skills, those that have undergone such secretarial training are likely to impress recruiters, which is certainly preferable given the current economic climate.
“Employers don’t ask for them – they won’t say we require shorthand and typing – but if you have got it, it does make you stand out. It’s something that they will say – that’s interesting,” she concludes.