Commonly used business software programs - and how to master them
Do you know how to design and distribute electronic forms? Or share a spreadsheet that’s updated in real time? Or organize files centrally while at the same time tracking who accesses them?
As an entry-level job seeker, you might not be familiar with some of the business software companies use for everything from communication to document creation to file sharing. Yet once you land that first job, it’s highly likely that you’ll be expected to use them. And since learning programs on the job can add to your workload, it can be helpful to get a head start and become proficient in them before signing a contract.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the most widely used business software programs, as well as some tips on how you can master them:
First released in 1990, Microsoft Office is still undeniably the world leader when it comes to software for business use. It includes Word for word processing, Excel for spreadsheets, PowerPoint for presentations, OneNote for note taking, Outlook for email, Publisher for desktop publishing, Access for database management, Skype for Business for unified communications and instant messaging, and Infopath for forms. In addition to desktop versions for Windows and OSX, there are also mobile versions for Android and iOS. If you have access to Office via your own account or a business account, the Office 365 Training Center provides video training, as well as templates, quick start guides, and tips that can help you get up to speed on the various apps. In addition, Lynda.com, which offers a free trial of a month, features a host of tutorials at levels ranging from beginner to advanced that cover every aspect of Office. Note that when you complete a course with Lynda.com, you can request a certificate.
The initial release of Google’s productivity and collaboration software programs took place in August 2006. Since the rebranding of Google Apps as G Suite in 2016, the software has grown in popularity, and today, many companies use it for everything from document sharing to collaboration. G Suite includes Gmail, Calendar, Google+, Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, Hangouts, Drive, and more. Like Microsoft Office, G Suite comes in both desktop and mobile versions. While there’s official G Suite Training, this is usually for businesses with a paid G-Suite account, so you might not be able to access this unless your employer facilitates it. Again, Lynda.com offers a range of tutorials that can be helpful; plus, you can use the help function in the individual apps to address any specific issues you have.
Dropbox was founded in 2007 as a file hosting service. Today, it’s widely used for storing, sharing, and showcasing files. In addition, its Paper feature functions as a collaborative workspace for teams. Dropbox comes in desktop versions and features a mobile app; plus, it can be integrated with other apps to provide a smooth workflow. There are several ways to learn how to use Dropbox. If you have access to a Dropbox Business account via your job, it’s useful to work your way through the Dropbox Business User Guide. Dropbox Community also offers helpful articles about the app’s use, and Lynda.com features several tutorials that can help you master the basics.
If you invest some time in learning these programs and, if possible, earning certifications that show you’ve mastered them, it can give you a distinct advantage during your job search. And that in turn can help you get your career off to a promising start.
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