The Microsoft Office User Specialist certification is not well-known in HR circles, but it may still give you an edge. MOUS probably won’t sell itself The Microsoft Office User Specialist certification is not well-known in HR circles, but it may still give you an edge.
Dear Molly: I read one of your columns recently in which you talked about a Microsoft Office certification. What is that certification called and how can I find out more about it? I want to get a job as a paralegal, and I thought having that certification might help put me ahead of other applicants.
Molly says: The Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS) certification is designed for people who want to demonstrate their vast and varied knowledge of the Microsoft Office suite of software. After some informal checking around at larger companies in the area, I’ve found that only some of the HR folks know about the certification, and that it’s not a make-it-or-break-it hiring criterion. Why? My theory is that administrative assistant positions do not pay that much compared to other jobs in the organization. Given the tight labor market at the moment (for highly skilled folks), companies are not asking people to be exceptionally qualified for administrative positions.
That doesn’t mean that the MOUS certification is useless–I think it would be useful for anyone who is pursuing any type of professional assistant job, or a promotion to such a job inside a large company. But you may have to explain and sell it to help land yourself a paralegal job. Be prepared to highlight during an interview how the MOUS certification sets you apart from other candidates.
Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at email@example.com.