Five Advanced Excel Skills Every Job Applicant Should Know

Find a new job with advanced Excel skillsAdvanced Excel skills are among the most commonly requested job skills hiring managers request of new employees. Many times, a job posting will simply ask for “Advanced Excel Skills” among the list of job requirements. What are these skills? What does it take to become an advanced Excel user? What follows is a list of key Excel skills that every advanced user should know.

1. Pivot Tables

Pivot Tables are among Excel’s most mysterious functions. Yet, learning how to use them is fairly straight-forward. Pivot Tables simply summarize data, and they provide you with additional functionality to present your data in almost any way you can imagine. Want to quickly get a count of how many employees work in each department in your office? Create a Pivot Table. Want to figure out what the average performance score is across several different work units? Create a Pivot Table. Need to analyze a complex report with dozens (or hundreds) of data columns? Create a Pivot Table. Pivot Tables are flexible and dynamic, which makes them extremely useful in the business world. Knowing how to create Pivot Tables is one of the most crucial advanced Excel skills you can learn. Become a master of Pivots, and you’ll be sure to impress any hiring manager.

2. VLOOKUP Function

If Pivot Tables are used more frequently than any other Excel feature in business offices every day, VLOOKUPs are a close second. Whether you’re validating financial reports or simply summarizing and analyzing data, you’ll probably use the VLOOKUP function several times in the course of your daily work. The real power of the VLOOKUP function lies in its simplicity, enabling you to quickly find and pull the exact data you need out of large data sets. Once you learn how the VLOOKUP works, you’ll find an increasing number of opportunities for its application in your everyday work. Along with Pivot Tables, VLOOKUPs are a key advanced Excel skill. If you know nothing else, knowing how to create Pivot Tables and use VLOOKUPs will put you ahead of most applicants in the job market.

3. Paste Special

Paste Special is another key advanced Excel skill. Any job that involves Excel (which will be most jobs) will involve moving data around. Paste Special allows you to unlock the power of the Cut/Paste functions. Maybe you only need to copy the formatting of a cell and not its content, or maybe you need to copy the output value of a formula without copying the formula itself. Paste Special allows you to do all of this and more! Everyone knows how to cut and paste, very few know how to use Paste Special.

4. Macros

Knowing how to automate tasks with code will set you far and above the competition when you apply for jobs. In Excel, you can do this with Macros, and you don’t even need to know anything about code to get started! Learning how to use Macros will enable you to write code that will automatically complete repetitive tasks for you. So, if you need to run reports every week (or every day), you can write some Macros to automate things such as the formatting and even some of the analysis. This will enable you to complete your work faster and more consistently. Learn how to use Excel to write a few simple Macros, and you will be able to impress hiring managers with your ability to fly through work assignments using your advanced Excel skills.Creating powerful charts is an advanced Excel skill

5. Charts

One of the final advanced Excel skills that will set you apart from the competition is your ability to design useful and informative charts. Anyone can create a chart (or graph). It is much more difficult to create a chart that provides a useful insight into some data. Knowing how to stack charts on top of each other and how to use both the primary and secondary axis are advanced Excel skills that make a new employee very valuable. If you intend to do any sort of data analysis, knowing how to create dynamic and informative charts is crucial.

Advance Your Job Search with Advanced Excel Skills

Knowing how to use Excel is an important part of most jobs you will apply to. Having a set of advanced Excel skills, like those discussed above, will set you apart from the legions of applicants you are competing against. If you master these skills, you will stand apart and above most of your competition.

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