Jaclyn Lamfers is not afraid to take on a challenge. When one of her supervisors at American State Bank Investment & Trust in Sioux Center, IA, needs data analyzed, reported, mailed, or otherwise handled, Lamfers is ready and able to put her Microsoft® Office expertise to use. Her excellent reputation, professionalism, experience, and Microsoft Office Specialist certification make her an exceptional employee. Her preparation and dedication to understanding computers and the Microsoft Office system of business productivity programs make her virtually irreplaceable. When challenges arise, Lamfers definitely steps up.
Jaclyn Lamfers graduated from Northwest Iowa Community College (NCC) in Sheldon, IA, with an administrative secretarial diploma three years ago. As part of her study, Lamfers took a Word and information processing class, which included study in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint®, and Access and culminated in Microsoft Word Office Specialist certification.
“I had taken a lot of computer classes in high school as well,” Lamfers said. “I realized then that my success in the future would depend on my knowledge of these programs.”
Describing her learning at NCC as an “awesome experience,” Lamfers recognized the importance of gaining computing skills early in her life. “I watched older classmates struggle with computing concepts,” she said. “They were returning to school to change careers or to reenter the workforce, and some of them had a fear of certification. From their examples, I could really see the benefits of staying current with my computing skills.”
Using Microsoft Office Specialist approved courseware, Lamfers trained for certification. “The challenge exercises were especially helpful,” she said. “These materials definitely prepared me for the test.”
Lamfers’ teacher, Microsoft Office Specialist Master Instructor Janet Boone, served as an example and motivator when exam time arrived. “She encouraged us by reminding us of the value of certification on a résumé,” Lamfers said. “Throughout the preparation and testing process, she would say, ‘This will pay off. It will be beneficial.’”
“Our students have everything to gain and nothing to lose by taking the exam,” Boone said. “I know these exams are difficult, but if they work hard and train, students can and will be successful.”
Lamfers was impressed with the Office Specialist exam’s subject matter and depth. “There were things on the exam I don’t use on a daily basis,” she explained. “It confirmed I am able to use the program and any of its functions whenever I need them. There were a few things I had to stop and think about. It reinforced everything I knew and tested me on performing entire tasks, not just portions of them. You have to know all of the steps to task accomplishment. You can’t do anything halfway.”
Using an exam voucher bundled with her textbook, Lamfers earned Office Specialist certification in Microsoft Word shortly before graduation.
“The certification process forced me to venture outside of my comfort zone,” Lamfers said. “The exam encompassed everything the program can do. It’s enabled me to maximize my use of the program.”
“I knew Office Specialist certification would be beneficial to my career, regardless of where I ended up working,” Lamfers said.
After graduation, Lamfers worked in the business office of a local manufacturing company, often applying her education to her work. From the company’s custom software, Lamfers imported and exported data into Microsoft Office programs to make better use of it.
Six months later, the vice president of the investment department of American State Bank approached Lamfers with a job opportunity. She interviewed and was offered a financial services assistant position. “I was hired without any specific investment or financial experience,” Lamfers said. “My certification proves I am capable of learning at a higher level.”
Lamfers is inspired by the many things each Microsoft Office program can do. “The programs are so integrated,” she said. “I took a certification exam for Microsoft Word but came away with so much more. My certification has taught me how to think through tasks and makes me not afraid to take on challenges.”
Using her Microsoft Office knowledge to maximize the value of American State Bank’s custom trust management software, which is compatible with Microsoft Office, Lamfers is particularly valuable to her supervisors. “When they need a report, I pull data from the trust software and put it into any format they want,” she said. “My coworkers are not as familiar with the programs. They could probably figure these tasks out, but they wouldn’t be able to do them as quickly. I am more efficient and accurate. My knowledge of Microsoft programs has helped me build a sort of ‘software bridge’ between our trust software and Microsoft Office.”
Cherilyn Rozeboom, trust administration officer at American State Bank, supervises Lamfers and has reaped the rewards of having such a knowledgeable, capable assistant. “Everyone goes to Jaclyn for help with the Microsoft Office programs,” she said. “She’s really handy. She can easily copy a query from our trust software, paste it into Excel, and figure out formulas to analyze it or paste it into Word to do a mail merge. She can do anything we need.”
Rozeboom can clearly see the value of Office Specialist certification. “Office Specialist certification is a good thing,” she said. “Compared to others, Jaclyn knows so many ways to use the programs. Some people say they can use a product, but Jaclyn really knows it. She’s a very valuable employee and has really stepped up in our organization, taking over where and when she’s needed.”
Next, Lamfers plans to continue her education in banking and may work toward additional software certifications. “The more familiar I am with these programs, the easier it is to get a task done,” she said. “My certification reminds me of the importance of knowing the software and applying it to my job. I will definitely keep up with program updates. I love a challenge.”
Certiport prepares individuals and communities with current and relevant digital skills and credentials for the competitive global workforce. These solutions include Certiport Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC³®) and the Microsoft® Office Specialist certification programs delivered by more than 12,000 Certiport Centers worldwide. For more information, visit www.certiport.com.
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