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Top 7 High-value Excel Skills Employers Look For (And How To Learn Them at Home)

Entering the job market in 2023? Arm yourself with these 7 essential Excel skills employers value and look for. 

Whether you are changing your career or getting an office job for the first time, brushing up on Excel is a great way to get an edge over other applicants.

As the world becomes more data-driven, many workplaces are increasingly becoming data-dependent. This naturally creates more demands for those who are fluent in data application tools like Microsoft Excel and keep up with the pace. 

While it’s great to master the entire program, knowing exactly what Excel skills are commonly required can help you have a head start. 

In this post, we’ll go over some common high-value Excel skills you see in different levels of careers and the best way to add those skills to your resume. 

Let’s get to the 7 essential Excel skills to learn and put on your resume. 

Basic Excell Skills 

Basic Excell Skills 

Not all professions entail heavy Excel use. Nevertheless, they often still require you to have solid Excel skills at the basic level.

If the position you are applying for demands basic Excel knowledge, these skills are commonly referred to as basic skills. 

1. Cell Formatting 

Microsoft Excel is a data manipulative program that collects data and produces needed outputs. 

Not only it handles various values but also numerous data types including texts, numbers, and even graphs. This leads to the absolute importance of having good data formatting and organizational skills. 

Knowing how to automatically format cells and applying conditional formatting is key. 

Don’t let a large set of data and numbers scare you away. Learn basic formatting skills like conditional formatting, formatting values, and table organization. I covered many key formatting skills in this quick Excel tutorial

2. Basic Excel Functions

One application of Excel that makes this program so valuable and in demand is its ability to run basic to advanced functions. 

Though advanced functions like IFERROR Function may not be needed for entry-level positions, you need to know the basics. 

Basic Excel functions are ones like SUM, COUNTIF, AVERAGE, MIN, MAX, and COUNTBLANK. 

These will help you handle basic tables and simple data sets to make the best use of the data. 

3. Shortcuts

One overlooked Excel skill is fluency with your keyboards. You can save hours of your time and boost your productivity and efficiency by knowing the shortcuts for the repetitive tasks you do. 

Luckily, Microsoft has a list of the most commonly used and useful Excel keyboard shortcuts you can put to use right away. 

To start, you also don’t have to remember all shortcuts. By pressing ALT, you can display all available keyboard shortcuts on the screen. 

Mid-Level to Advanced Excell Skills 

If your position involves heavy use of data and data manipulation, you need Excel skillsets that go beyond basic knowledge. 

These are the more advanced Excel skills that are common in positions that require high proficiency. 

These skills will allow you to not only organize the data but also use them for projections, presentations, and manipulations. 

4. Data Validation 

When you begin to handle a larger set of data, knowing how to validate data becomes even more crucial.

After all, the validity of data ensures you have the highest-quality analysis you can rely on in decision-making. 

The first type of data validation you can apply is to specify what type of values your cells can accept. You can add data validation to accept only whole numbers, time, date, or even texts with a limited length. 

This will prevent incorrect data types from entering the cells and create havoc with your tables and computations. 

Here is a Microsoft tutorial on data validation. 

You can also add an extra measure to ensure the data validity by adding a warning message when a wrong data type is inputted. 

5. Charts and Graphs

The data set isn’t as useful if you can’t present it in a professional way. Turning your analysis and project into a visual presentation is an essential skill you can develop using Excel. 

Basic charts and graphs serve the purpose of illustrating the correlations and relationships in the data. They present complex and large data with ease and convey the idea instantly with far less space and text. 

But if you are looking to go beyond the basic graphing and charting skills, learn to use interactive, dynamic visual presentations. 

These advanced graphing and charting skills allow you to make your reports stand out and your findings more compelling. 

Here is one tutorial I recommend to learn advanced graphs and charts. 

6. PivotTable / PivotChart

PivotTable and PivotChart in Excel allow you to compute and analyze data using patterns, comparisons, and trends. 

It’s a way to project a summary of your data findings and go from raw data to the big picture. 

If you are familiar with PivotTable but not with PivotChart, take the time to add PivotChart to your skillset. It helps you go from a sensible data set to a charted visualization that communicates your findings whether it’s a trend, pattern, or comparison. 

The same Excel guide from the previous point covers PivotChart, so be sure to grab a copy. 

7. Data Protection

Data leaks or bleach can lead to a huge setback and liability for any business. Because Excel files tend to contain sensitive information or private company data, knowing how to protect them is vital to your success. 

If you don’t have the habit of adding a lock to your files and protecting the data, learn to do that now. 

Adding this simple defense mechanism to your workflow can mean a world of difference and ensure no other person can access the data. 

 Here is how to add a password to your workbook, so you can limit the access only to those authorized. 

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