Cheap ways to brush up on office skills

brokelyn, office skills, brooklyn careers, classes brooklyn, brooklyn
You gotta start somewhere

Whether you’re a future banker or book publisher, your career ladder is bound to start with an assistant-level position. That’s the go-to Gal or Guy Friday who’s responsible for making the boss look good, among other things.

With more people vying for scarce entry-level  jobs, how do you edge out the growing competition? Start by being a black belt in office technologies like MS Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Photoshop and so on. Master them and future employers will be impressed by your slick-looking resume and imagine what wonders you can work for them.

Even if you’re artist who has no intention of ever setting foot in a corporate office, these tools can help you show your own work in its best light (and manage your business).

If you’re ready to become an office-skills ace, here’s a list of resources in Brooklyn for reasonable fees.

QuickBooks classes with NYC Business Solutions: Businesses are continuing to consolidate positions in an effort to save money. A great administrative assistant should be able to step into the role of full-charge bookkeeper. Beyond Excel, QuickBooks is an essential application in the workplace for managing cash flow. In conjunction with the NYC government, NYC Business Solutions offers a revolving series of business courses for free. The free QuickBooks class will account for 10 course hours, and can be taken at a number of participating locations. See the NYC Solutions website for more information.

Photoshop or Illustrator with 3rd Ward: Increasingly, employers want their assistants to help with graphics and branding. Two great tools to know: Photoshop and Illustrator. The two-part courses are affordable, especially if you’re a already 3rd Ward member.

Brooklyn College Continuing Education computer application courses (online): All of these classes run about $145 a pop, but look at the list of applications that you have to choose from! Learn everything from Word to Excel to Peachtree for what you would spend on two weekends of fun. Although you won’t get an intimate class setting from online courses such as these, you’ll reap the benefits by getting to learn at your own pace from the comfort of the futon strategically placed next to your space heater.

Advanced Microsoft Excel – November 10December 08January 19February 16
Introduction to Dreamweaver CS3 – November 10December 08January 19February 16
Introduction to Peachtree Accounting 2009 – November 10December 08January 19February 16

Google AdWords Certification: One job that frequently falls to assistants is making the company website SEO friendly. Wow your potential employer during the interview with your Google AdWords certification. This certificate can be earned for free via Google through a series of rigorous online courses, and can give you a great bang for lack of bucks and greatly improve your marketability.

Hire someone to teach you PowerPoint: Services like Thumbtack will allow you to hunt down teachers in your area that will impart coveted office skills to you such as PowerPoint. This listing offers tutorials in Brooklyn, ranging from $25-$30 per hour.

Start a MeetUp group: There are several Manhattan-based groups that rally together to teach each other skills based on web design and other skills germane to a 21st century office. Why not start one in Brooklyn? Choose any skill that you’d like to learn, pick a central location in your borough, name the software program or skill you’d like to tackle, and hack it out with the rest of the novices that arrive. Food might be a necessary expensive that will entice some of the more knowledgeable beginners to show up at the shindig.


  1. I shouldn’t say this since I work there… but Brooklyn College isn’t the only place to take those ed2go courses. Most continuing ed programs at colleges offer these courses. They are just reselling. The college pays a set fee per enrollment and charges their own fee. What I’m getting at is that you may be able to take these courses for less through a different school… random Community College in Nebraska or whatever.

    At an old job at a different college, I coordinated these ed2go courses. The feedback from students was generally quite positive. By the way, my old job has set the price at $99 for these courses.

  2. This is so awesome. I think I’m going to look into some of the 3rd Ward and Brooklyn College (or elsewhere) classes. I want to do AdWords too, but I’ve heard horror stories so I might lay off for the time being.

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