If you apply for a position at the office, you should bear in mind that most employers require you to have hands-on experience in Excel. The command of Excel that is expected by your future employer depends on the position you are applying for and on tasks you will be performing.
At the basic level employers expect you to know how to:
- Property enter data
- Perform basic mathematical calculations
- Filter and sort data
- Format cells
- Freeze panes
- Print documents
- Insert simple charts
- Perform operations on spreadsheets, e.g. hide, unhide rows or columns
Users with intermediate command in Excel should also be able to:
- Use logical formulas (IF, IFS, IFERROR, OR, AND), lookup formulas (VLOOKUP), mathematical formulas (SUMIF, ROUND), statistical formulas (COUNTIF, COUNTIFS) and text formulas
- Perform data analysis using Pivot Tables and Subtotals
- Analyze data with charts
- Import data from csv or text files
Advances users should be able to:
- Use most of logical, lookup and information formula
- Write more complex embedded formulas
- Perform advanced data analysis using pivot tables
- Use macros
- Import and transform data using PowerQuery
- Create dashboards using PowerPivot tool
Although you can state the level of your command in Excel in your résumé, be prepared for an Excel test for job applicants.
There are different forms of tests that you should be aware of. The most common are:
- Case study
- Multiple choice test
During an interview, you might be asked about your experience in working with Excel spreadsheets. You might be asked to describe reports you used to prepare and which Excel functions and tool you used. It is common to ask which Excel function or tool is more suitable to solve a particular task. Occasionally you can be asked about advantages or disadvantages of the most popular formulas or tools.
A case study is one of the most common ways of checking a candidate’s command in Excel. Usually, you are provided with a spreadsheet and asked to solve tasks similar that you will face during your work routine. Remember that your time to perform all tasks will be limited.
Multiple choice questions
This type of test is usually performed online before you are invited for a job interview. You receive an email with a link to a website with the test. On average such tests consists of 30 questions. Remember to read instructions carefully; the test can be either single or multiple choice. It is important to get to know Excels’s technical language before sitting such a test, check names of formulas, tools, and elements of the program’s window.