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I agree with Deborah. To me, "proficiency" in Microsoft means you can
use MS products for daily work without requiring any significant
assistance. However, "proficiency" doesn't extend to advanced features
of the software.
Of course, to some people "proficiency" might include only very basic
aspects of the software. To others, it might mean expert knowledge! Job
postings are notoriously vague...
About 10 years ago, I was in a similar position. I knew Word pretty
well, but I had little familiarity with Excel, Access, or PowerPoint.
The local community college had classes in all three, so I enrolled (the
cost was quite affordable). Over the course of a semester, the classes
took beginners and brought them to a high level of proficiency (even
touching on some advanced features). At the end, I also had a transcript
with a grade--proof to potential employers that I really studied this.
At any rate, I thought the classes were worth the time and money...
I believe MS itself also has certification for the MS Office Suite
products. You take MS's tests; if you pass, you receive a certain level
of certification. (I've never done this myself, but I seem to vaguely
remember reading about such certification.) For people who learn MS
products using a self-help book ("Learn Excel in 24 Hours", etc.), the
MS certification provides proof of proficiency.
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