What Are Excel Skills? (Definition And Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 July 2022

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.

Featuring your strongest skills on a resume is an effective way of informing hiring managers that you are capable of performing successfully in a position at a company. A strong skills section on your resume can inform hiring managers that you have extensive knowledge of Excel. If you are interested in pursuing a role that requires knowledge of Excel, you may benefit from knowing what skills to develop. In this article, we examine what spreadsheet skills are, how professionals can use Excel in the workplace and how to highlight these skills on a resume.

What Are Excel Skills?

Excel skills are competencies that are required to work on spreadsheets in a professional capacity. Excel contains a spreadsheet that can automatically input, calculate and analyse data, which makes it a valuable skill for the workplace. Employees can use Excel to accomplish a variety of routine tasks. Since Excel can perform many tasks, potential employers may benefit from viewing detailed descriptions of each Excel skill you possess on your resume.

Spreadsheet skills can help professionals:

  • Determine, analyse and improve a company's strategic goals

  • Calculate a company's or department's budget and profit

  • Record data and data entry inputs

  • Build a schedule to track significant dates, project instructions or work progress

Related: Excel Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Examples Of Excel Skills

Spreadsheet skills can vary from basic to advanced levels. Excel enables you to input data and perform calculations using complex formulas. Knowledge of these formulas and their applications is also a relevant competency. Skills to consider listing on your resume include:

Extracting and recording important data

Many employers may want employees to perform some tasks regularly. This is why it is helpful to possess advanced typing skills to complete these tasks quickly. Some workplace tasks may involve recording information in an Excel spreadsheet. This can include:

  • Taking existing data from a separate document and inputting it into Excel

  • Creating a financial strategy or budgeting plan and typing it into Excel

  • Transferring a schedule from an outside source and rebuilding it in Excel

Related: 13 Data Mining Techniques: A Complete Guide

Using shortcuts and formula functions

Excel provides a variety of tools and shortcuts for recording data sets and performing quick calculations. You may use the following formula functions in Excel:


This function adds data inputs from a range of cells and displays the result based on a pre-defined criteria. For example, you can type numbers into two cells and then programme the third to add the results of the first two. While using this function, you can utilise text, dates and generic numbers.


This function counts cells according to instructions that a user provides. If you are looking through a long document with a list of monthly employee vacation days, for example, you can use the COUNTIF function to report the total number of vacation days in use in July. This function adds and updates numbers and text.

Building charts and graphs

Employers may require you to present the data in an Excel spreadsheet. You can use charts and graphs to present information visually. This makes it easier for team members to read and comprehend the information. Creating charts and graphs can demonstrate to a potential employer that you have experience presenting and showing analytical results.

Related: Types Of Graphs And Charts

Sorting and filtering data

Reviewing existing data may help you determine what you want to keep on a spreadsheet and what you can delete. You can sort data in Excel to find the specific information you want to report on. Once you filter data, Excel can organise it into a logical and meaningful sequence. Long spreadsheets might be easier to understand and analyse if you know how to use these Excel functionalities. Knowing how to store data in ascending or descending order can also help you find information faster.

Using pivot tables

When it is necessary to summarise an extensive amount of data, you can use a pivot table to arrange and reorder results in a way that makes it easier to manage. To make it easier to sort through and find information you are looking for, you can categorise and list different number sets. You can divide numbers and data into segments based on date, percentage or any other criteria.

How To Improve Excel Skills

To learn Excel and get the most out of this powerful software programme, it is necessary for a beginner to acquire essential skills. To become a competent Excel user, it is vital to develop some unique approaches that can enable you to fully utilise its features. you can improve your skills by following these pointers:

1. Learn Excel formulas

The backbone of any Excel programme is arithmetic/logical formulas because, without them, Excel software is just a big grid where you can store data. so the learner can develop their skills by employing formulae like Auto sum, IF and Else, Count of values, Sum of values satisfying criteria, Average Formula, Mod Formula and so on.

Related: 30 Of The Most Advanced Formulas And Functions In Excel

2. Master shortcuts

Using shortcut features in Excel can help you save time while still completing work on schedule. These Excel shortcuts can also help increase your productivity and help you learn Excel more quickly. Some of the most useful Excel shortcuts include the use of shortcut keys such as:

  • ‘Ctrl + Space' for selecting the whole column

  • ‘Shift + Space' for selecting the entire row

  • ‘Shift + Home' for selecting a range from start cell to far left

  • ‘Ctrl + /' for selecting array formulae range

  • ‘F3' for displaying range names

3. Use Pivot Table Tools

Pivot Table Tools comprise some of Excel's most effective capabilities for summarising, analysing, exploring and presenting data. Learning how to use and apply Pivot Table Tools can help you display data and report in less time while also providing an appealing graphical presentation. You can quickly produce monthly and quarterly reports with pivot table tools by using Excel's ‘Group' function.

4. Use Table Formatting Tools

Another important Excel skill is table layout, which is especially important for marketers for collecting and understanding marketing data. You may turn your data into an interactive database by understanding Excel's table formatting techniques. The Table Formatting Tools assist you in rapidly and easily creating your own table styles.

Excel Abilities In The Workplace

These are some pointers for displaying spreadsheet skills in the workplace:

  • Display knowledge of advanced Excel functions. Employers look for candidates with advanced knowledge of Excel functions because they help speed up work processes and improve the overall efficiency of a team.

  • Apply data validation. Data validation allows you to describe how to make a drop-down menu of cells. Employers may expect professionals to have hands-on experience working with data validation.

  • Protect sheets and lock cells. It is beneficial for employees to understand how to lock cells and protect sheets from external users. An employer may have access to a large amount of confidential company data and it may be necessary for an employee to be extremely thoughtful, to be able to protect that data.

How To Highlight Spreadsheet Skills On A Resume

A potential employer may examine your Excel abilities and expertise when reviewing your resume to see if they match the data-related responsibilities in their job description. Follow these steps to highlight your spreadsheet skills on a resume:

1. Detail each skill you possess

Try to be descriptive and clarify your skills when listing it on your resume. Mention how long you have had each skill and what you can do with it.

Example: 6 years applying advanced knowledge of Excel functions including SUMIF, COUNTIF and VLOOKUP functions.

2. List experience with Excel using clear examples

You can clearly describe how Excel assisted you in achieving your previous goals. This can demonstrate to potential employers how you can apply your previous experience to a new position.

Example: Utilised Excel to categorise previous budget reports into a detailed pivot table to develop an improved financial strategy for the company.

3. List courses

You can also list any Excel courses you have taken in addition to your work experience. This is especially useful if any of these classes taught you advanced skills that you can use for the job you are applying for. This may be a university course or an online programme that you completed.

Example: Gained knowledge on filtering and sorting data after completing an online course on advanced Excel skills.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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