How to highlight Excel skills on your CV

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 20 January 2023

Published 25 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Highlighting your strongest skills on your CV can be an effective way of letting recruiters know that you're capable of a position with their organisation. A well-written Excel skills section on your CV can inform potential employers of your expertise in this software. In this article, we discuss what Excel skills are, explore some examples of Excel skills to include on your CV and learn how to showcase Excel skills on your CV.

What are Excel skills?

Excel is one software application within the Microsoft Office suite. It's a spreadsheet program that can input, compute and analyse data automatically, making its use one of the most valuable skills for the workplace. You can use Excel to minimise the time it takes to complete daily tasks. Because Excel can help you perform a variety of tasks, companies or organisations can benefit from reviewing a detailed description of each Excel skill on your CV.

Here are a few ways you can use your Excel skills in the workplace:

  • Determining, analysing and improving an organisation's strategic goals

  • Calculating an organisation's profit and budget

  • Recording data and data entry inputs

  • Creating a schedule to track work progress, project instructions and significant dates

Related: 15 basic Excel formulas to learn

Examples of Excel skills you can include on your CV

Here are some examples of Excel skills you can include on your CV:

Recording data

Some tasks in the workplace may involve capturing and recording important data in an Excel spreadsheet. This may include:

  • Inputting existing data from a separate file into Excel

  • Transferring a schedule from an external source and recreating it in Excel

  • Creating a budgeting plan or financial strategy from scratch and inputting it into Excel

Using Excel formula functions and shortcuts

To record and calculate data sets efficiently, you can use several Excel shortcuts and functions. These shortcuts and functions can help you calculate data easily and quickly, making your day-to-day tasks more productive. Here's a look at some formula functions in Excel:

  • SUMIF function: The SUMIF function is an Excel function that adds all figures in a range of cells based on predefined criteria. For instance, you can input numbers into three cells and program the fourth to generate the results of cells one to three added together. When performing this function, you can use dates, texts and general numbers.

  • COUNTIF function: The COUNTIF function, which is categorised under Excel Statistical functions, automatically counts the number of cells that meet a pre-defined criterion. For instance, if you have a list of employees who surpassed sales targets and won the Best Salesperson award for the year, you can use the COUNTIF function to find out which employee won the highest number of awards.

  • VLOOKUP function: The VLOOKUP or Vertical Lookup function in Excel is a tool for looking up a data from a table to extract corresponding information and can be used to combine two sets of data on different spreadsheets into a single spreadsheet. For example, the VLOOKUP function can help you combine one table that lists employees' names next to their contact numbers with another table that lists those same employees' contact numbers next to their email addresses.

Related: Advanced Excel Skills Guide

Building graphs and charts

Your manager or supervisor may expect you to present the data you have entered into Excel. You can create graphs and charts for easier analysis of the information you have collected. Proven knowledge of Excel's graphs and charts can show potential employers you have experience showcasing and presenting analytical findings.

Related: A guide on how to find duplicates in Excel

Filtering and sorting data

Your employer may require you to sort through pre-existing data and identify what data to keep and remove in your current spreadsheet. To make the process quick and easy, you can use Excel to filter and find the information you want to report on. Once you have selected your data, Excel automatically organises it in a meaningful and logical sequence. Learning how to use these features in Microsoft Excel can make a long spreadsheet easy to analyse and understand.

Related: How to combine cells in Excel (Complete Guide)

Managing pivot tables

Pivot tables show an interactive view of certain data in Excel. With pivot tables, you can group data, filter them to include or exclude information, categorise them by years or months and even create other progress charts. Since a pivot table is a viewing mechanism to show the correlations or differences of a set of data in a spreadsheet, this Excel skill can be very helpful to feature on your CV. In your CV's skills section, you can explain how you used pivot tables for the analysis of large data over time for your previous employer.

Applying conditional formatting

Conditional formatting changes a cell's colour and contents based on a certain condition. For instance, you can use it to highlight positive numbers or cells that contain keywords. You can also use this function to highlight important data points such as budget items, deadlines or at-risk tasks.

Employing sparklines

A sparkline is a small chart in a cell that provides you with a visual representation of the data you have selected. This tool is useful for showing trends in a series of values, such as seasonal decreases or increases, economic cycles or minimum and maximum values.

Using index match

This formula is the combination of two functions in Excel. It allows you to look up a value in a large table of data and return a corresponding value in that table. The index match is an advanced alternative to the HLOOKUP or VLOOKUP formulas. It's more flexible and thus more powerful than VLOOKUP formulas.

Utilising Power Query

Power Query is a tool that allows you to connect data outside of Excel and then clean and manipulate it. Learning how to utilise this tool can help you combine sources of office data to increase efficiency and productivity. It can help you understand these other data sources outside of Excel.

Applying Flash Fill

After you manipulate data on a single row, you can use the Flash Fill tool to run similar operations on the remaining data. This skill can save you time on repetitive tasks, especially when you're working with large data sets. For instance, if you want to change a list of names to include 'Dr.' in front of each name, you can use the Flash Fill tool to change the first name, and the software automatically adds 'Dr.' to all the remaining names.

Creating macros

You can create a macro in the visual basic application (VBA) to automate repetitive task. This skill helps you work with Excel programming features to record certain keystrokes that make up a macro. Rather than manipulating or re-entering the same information, you can launch the macro to repeat the same function throughout the workbook or sheet.

Related: 10 advanced Excel skills for CV (and jobs that require them)

How to write an Excel skills CV section

When reading your CV, potential employers may closely analyse your Excel experience and skills to determine if it aligns with the responsibilities or duties listed in their job advertisement. Here are the steps you can take to highlight your Excel skills in your CV:

1. Describe each Excel skill you have

As you list your Excel skills on your CV, be specific and include some details. Specify how long you have had each Excel skill and what Excel functions you can execute. For example, you can list, Five years of advanced Excel knowledge, including VLOOKUP, COUNTIF and SUMIF functions

Related: 6 Universal Rules for Writing Your CV

2. Mention any Excel courses you have taken

In addition to your experience using Excel in the workplace, you can highlight any Excel courses you have previously taken. If certain advanced Excel skills are necessary for the position you are applying for, feature this education. This can be a course you have completed at a college or through an online program. Consider the following examples:

  • Completed an advanced Excel course which involved learning advanced functions such as Pivot Tables, INDEX/MATCH, and nested IF statements

  • Gained knowledge on sorting and filtering data after completion of Advanced Excel course at London State University

You can list the Excel courses you have taken under the education section or the addition section of your CV.

Related: IT Skills: Definitions and Examples

3. Provide examples of what you have accomplished

Demonstrate your Excel skills by giving examples of what you have achieved with them. For instance, if you created financial models during an internship or automated the data gathering for a college research project, you can include these in your CV. These examples demonstrate that you're not a casual user. You can list examples of how you used your Excel skills under your CV's work experience section. For example, your bullet might read, Created three-statement financial models in Microsoft Excel which integrated advanced features, such as scenario analyses and sensitivity tables.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


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