Getting certified early means that you have plenty of time to use your certification to grow and progress in your career. We’re always amazed at how certified students move from high school to college to fantastic careers. One of our favorite stories is Ashley Masters, a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) from Washington State. Not only is she Microsoft certified, she’s now a Microsoft employee!
Read on for Ashley’s advice on how to maximize the value of your certification.
My certification journey began my freshman year of high school. Since then, I have achieved 12 MOS certifications, won the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) national championship in Word 2013 and Excel 2013, competed at the Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship twice for Word and Excel and I was a Student Ambassador at the 2018 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship.
My certifications and success in these competitions helped me land an amazing internship at Daimler Trucks North America. After my internship last summer at Daimler Trucks, I graduated from Central Washington University with a double major in Economics with a specialization in Managerial Economics and Business Administration with a specialization in Finance and a minor in Business Analytics. In July, I started my full-time dream job with Microsoft as a Business Program Manager with the Worldwide Learning team.
My first piece of advice to students is to certify. A common question I hear students ask when they are looking for a job is, “How do I set myself apart from other candidates?” My answer is certification! Almost everyone adds “Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint” to their resume skills. However, when you add “Certified in Microsoft Word” to your resume, your interviewer is going to pause and ask you to tell them about this certification. This certification proves your knowledge in these programs and sets you apart from other candidates. For me, certification not only gave my resume a boost, but it also gave me more confidence! With these skills and certification, I was confident that I could submit excellent work to my teachers, professors and to my boss.
My second piece of advice is to grow your network. Develop professional relationships with your peers, mentors, teachers, and professors. Attend conferences, career fairs, skilling classes and anything else that might grow your network. Ask to connect with people on LinkedIn, have your resume handy, and be yourself. After you have introduced yourself and hopefully obtained some sort of contact information, follow up with an email to them and stay in touch. Growing and maintaining your professional network is so valuable for you and your career.
Interested in learning more about how Microsoft certification can benefit you or your students? Find out how at www.certiport.com/mos.