Possessing work-level proficiency in Microsoft Excel is critical, with more than 82% of middle-skill jobs now being “digitally intensive.”
If you are presently flowing into the job marketplace, you will find most employers seek candidates with expertise in Microsoft Excel, and you should have the chops to stand out from the pack.
That said, honing your Excel skills is a no-brainer if you want to land a freakin’ job—faster.
A recent article published in Fitwirr discusses the top Excel skills that can help you stay ahead of the competition, taking your career to new heights.
Basic Excel Skills
Getting the hang of high-level Excel skills is always a plus.
But please understand that Excel is a data manipulative solution with a swarm of functionalities that you may require a lifetime (a long time, if not a lifetime) to master. However, grasping the basics can help you get a head start.
1. Cell Formatting
Excel deals with data, graphs, charts, and numbers. Because Excel applies the same formatting for all cells by default, it gets difficult to decipher the information conveyed by the displayed data.
Don’t let massive troves of data inundate you. Master cell formatting skills and cut out repetitive tasks to better demonstrate your knack to your employer.
Auto adjustment of cell size, conditional formatting, adding multiple rows and columns at a time, etc., are a few of the cell formatting capabilities in Excel that can help.
2. Basic Excel Functions
Getting the hang of basic Excel functions is the key to simplifying complex calculations, especially when you are sorting and analyzing a massive volume of data.
For an entry-level job, ensure you have a great command of the basic Excel functions like IF, COUNTIF, SUM, SUMIFS, TRIM, etc.
3. Excel Shortcuts
To know how to use Excel keyboard shortcuts efficiently is a must-have skill if you don’t want to spend hours preparing a single report. Get your work done faster and amaze your employer with these super-handy shortcuts.
Mid-Level to Advanced Excel Skills
If you are applying for a position that may require you to deal with massive troves of complex datasets, make sure you know the inside out of advanced Excel functionalities.
4. Data Validation
Data validation is an indispensable aspect of any data handling task—whether you’re accumulating information, interpreting data to facilitate decision-making, or presenting data to stakeholders. Unless you enter accurate and specific types of data into cells, your results will be erroneous.
Thankfully, Excel can confine data entry to specific cells by applying data validation upon input. With data validation, Excel prompts you to enter only valid data when a cell is selected and shows an “error” when invalid data is entered.
5. Charts and Graphs
One of the best ways to make datasets easily discernible is to turn them into interactive visuals. On top of that, getting the hang of Excel charts is a must if you are hired for a position that requires you to present data to stakeholders using PowerPoint presentations.
Excel’s built-in charts and graphs are great at helping you recapitulate a large dataset in visual form; efficiently compare multiple data sets; better explain trends; estimate key values at a glance, and more. But the built-in charts in Excel come with limited functionalities that make it really difficult to build professional-looking presentations.
On top of that, some charts are not natively available in Excel. For example, the Marimekko chart, frequently used by professionals to efficiently visualize categorical data over a pair of variables, is not supported even in the latest version of Excel. It means that you’d have to take the manual approach, which requires too many clicks and includes fewer formatting capabilities.
If you need to make professional-looking PowerPoint presentations with stunning charts while significantly saving your working hours, using an add-in is a sensible decision. A high-end PowerPoint add-in like think-cell, for example, can seamlessly integrate your Excel charts into PowerPoint slides and help you add the “wow” factor to your presentations.
6. Data Protection
Because Excel files usually contain mission-critical business information, knowing how to keep them out of the reach of cybercriminals is critical.
With that said, unprotected Excel files can be exploited by hackers looking to exfiltrate and expose sensitive data. With Excel, now, you have the power to limit access to your workbook. You can lock your Excel file with a password, grant reading-only access or even protect your workbook without a password so you don’t inadvertently delete any formulas.
With the world quickly moving to data-driven business and processes, the demand for Excel experts is on the rise. Master the featured Excel skills above to impress your potential employer.