What Excel skills are employers looking for?

Compétences Excel employeurs

Many job positions in today’s digital age require candidates to have computer literacy. One of the biggest parts of being computer literate is having a comprehensive knowledge of Microsoft Excel. Microsoft Excel is one of the most utilized computer programs within the workforce.

No matter the industry you are in, the likelihood of having to work with Excel during your career is high. To help you understand how important possessing basic Excel skills is, we created this expert guide. This will help you improve your prospects as a job seeker.


Why are Excel skills important in the job market?

Excel skills are important in today’s digital job market for positions related to administration, accounting or finance. Excel allows you to improve productivity at work because it makes it easier to process information. Through ordering, data filtering, and  searching, employees can optimize time management and achieve positive results at work.

It is common to find spreadsheets with models of invoices, budgets, amortization of fixed assets, treasury forecasts, cash control sheets, loan amortization tables, sheets control of financing lines, etc. Anyone who has applied for a job position related to administration, accounting or finance, has likely heard the following question: what is your skill level in Microsoft Excel?

Put your Excel skills to the test


What can you do with Excel skills?

Excel is a powerful tool having endless capabilities. Here are examples of helpful things that you can do with advanced excel skills:

  • Balance sheets,
  • Organize budgets,
  • Track inventory,
  • Organize and analyze data,
  • Track expenses,
  • Create graphs and tables,
  • Identify trends in data,
  • Predict future data outcomes,
  • Solve mathematical sums,
  • Create reports and dashboards,
  • Coding,
  • Statistical analysis.


What are considered strong Excel skills?

There are a few advanced Excel skills employers look for when trying to identify job candidates who are proficient using Excel, such as:

  • Knowing how to build a pivot table.
  • Being able to use flash fill or auto-fill.
  • Being able to build and apply formulas such as INDEX MATCH.
  • Knowing how to use and apply filters.
  • Being able to transfer data into a chart or graph.
  • Sorting of statistics and related entries.
  • Advanced conditional formatting.
  • Macros and Visual Basic for Application (VBA).
  • Data simulations.

Realistically, you need to demonstrate  having a strong command over all of the functions within the Excel software.

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5 Excel skills sought by employers

Although it is always beneficial to master as many Excel skills as possible, if you are new to the world of Excel and are in the process of learning all the functions, it helps to know which skills are most  important and the ones employers seek.


Excel is used by huge companies that have a vast amount of data that they need to store and organize, which is why mastering VLOOKUP is essential. VLOOKUP allows you to instantly identify the pieces of data that you need in a table or a range by row at any given moment.

2. Pivot Tables

It is impossible to have a conversation about Excel skills without discussing pivot tables. This is the ultimate tool for organizing, summarizing and presenting data in an informative way. As Excel’s prime purpose is to organize and manipulate data, it is virtually impossible to have a strong command on the software without knowing how to create pivot tables.

3. Basic Macros

The jobs that require the use of Excel can often be repetitive. Knowing how to use and perform basic macros will take some of this draining and monotonous repetition out of your daily workload. Macros work by recording what you do within Excel and giving you the possibility of replicating the steps to prevent you from having to manually do it. As you can imagine, this can help you save valuable time and make you more efficient in your role.

4. Create graphs and charts

It is valuable to know how to enter relevant data into an Excel spreadsheet, but leaving the information behind and not doing anything with it is not really helpful.. In most cases, employers expect you to know how to present the data you have been given, which is where graphs and charts come into the equation.

Creating charts and graphs provides you with a tool to visualize your findings, hence making presentations and meetings easier. Conveying information in a digestible format makes decision-making easier.

5. Protect sheets and lock cells

It is extremely important, now more than ever, that data be stored securely due to the risk of data leaks and hacking. Protecting sheets and locking cells is an essential skill that employers are looking for. In most companies, you are responsible for your own datasets, as each individual within a company has different skills that allow them access to different levels and sets of data. This means you need to know  how to protect your sheets from outside viewers.

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How to showcase Excel skills on your resume

When describing your Excel skills on your resume, it is important to be specific regarding your knowledge of the spreadsheet software. You should highlight your particular skills and the tasks on which you have worked. If Excel skills are essential for the position, be sure to explain the functions and properties in which you are proficient to  demonstrate your advanced skills.

Be sure to mention the Excel skills that will be useful to you in the position for which you are applying. You should also mention the Excel courses you’ve taken, as well as explain what you’ve managed to achieve with the program. You should be honest about your skill level, as employers can test your Excel skills.


Test the Excel skills of candidates

Apart from reviewing the Excel skills of job candidates on resumes, employers can test Excel skills to determine which candidates should fulfill certain job openings. Although many people claim to be proficient in Excel, until you test their abilities, you will not truly know what they are capable of.

Our ID-Excel test allows organizations to assess how well an individual has mastered the functions of the Microsoft Excel software. We have over 60 different assessment tools to help you test the skill set of potential candidates. You can test emotional intelligence, leadership, management interest, learning agility and much more. Psychometric testing is the best way to ensure you hire the right individuals!

Browse our test catalogue