Microsoft Excel, Your Resume, and Getting Hired

Is Microsoft Excel listed as a software skill on your resume?  If not, why not?

Microsoft Excel and the Evil Twin Theory

In my computer classes I often explained what I called The Evil Twin Theory.  I think most times I was in an Excel class.

Let’s say you have an identical twin.  They look  like you, they have all of your job skills, and both of you are applying for the very same job.

But your evil twin knows Microsoft Excel and you don’t.

Who do you think will get the job?  Your evil twin wins.  You don’t know Excel.

You probaby don’t have an evil twin, but you certainly are up against a lot of competition for any job.  When you start applying for jobs you might want to consider what skills you possess that could be a “tie breaker”.

Knowing Microsoft Excel well is a “tie breaker” skill.

I’m not talking about Accountants

Accountants, financial analysts, quantitative analysts, they already know Excel.  They learned it in high school or college.

But you aren’t an accountant, or a traditional “numbers” person.

Young Adults, Microsoft Excel, and their Resume

But I can make the argument that most any young adult starting off in business, government or the non-profit world, needs to know Excel.

If you’re a young adult in your 20’s or 30’s, people expect that you already know Excel.  Do you?

Imagine the hiring manager’s surprise when you can’t prove you know how to use Excel.

  1. You are applying for a marketing position as a new college graduate.  “You know how to “work the numbers” of our new campaign, don’t you?”  (Sometimes the managers don’t know Excel, they hire younger people to do Excel.)
  2. You are a freshly minted MBA with a major in management.  Get ready.  The hiring manager will want to know if you can use Excel upon request.
  3. You’re in your 30’s with medical office experience.  This time you want to move up and be a medical office manager.  Obviously, they want someone familiar with Excel to monitor their cash flow and billing.

What does your resume indicate?

  • Software skills:  Excel.
  • MOS Certification – Microsoft Office Excel 2010.

Middle Aged Job Seekers, Excel, and their Resume

You are now in the land of forty and fifty year olds.  I’m no resume expert but if you claim to know Excel, you better be more concrete about your use of Excel as an accomplishment.

  • Used Excel to analyze website visitor traffic and reduce wasteful ad spends by 50%.
  • Used spreadsheets to correct 33% error rate on company’s 6 million data point investment database.
  • Used Excel pivot tables to identify wasteful international spending in different countries.

All 3 of the bullets above were some of my Excel accomplishments.  When you are in your 40’s to 50’s, you need to prove that you used Excel to help your company or non-profit.

And you need to prove this on your resume.

C Level Executives, Excel, and their Resume

I am not a C level executive (CIO, CMO, CEO, you get the idea) so I can’t tell you waht human resources is looking for on your resume.

But I do have some C level executive stories.  Here’s one of them.  I’m discussing online marketing with a potential client who is the CMO, Chief Marketing Officer of her company.

CMO – One of these days I’d like you to teach me some Excel.

Richard – Excuse me?

CMO – I need to learn Excel.  Let’s put it on the backburner of our things to do.

Richard – OK.

I have nothing but respect for the talented C level executives who know a variety of software skills.  But I was shocked when a Chief Marketing Officer told me they didn’t know Microsoft Excel.

I guess I’m just too naive sometimes.

Winning the Job Race with Microsoft Excel

If your evil twin applies for the same job as you do, guess who gets the job?  The twin (or job candidate) that has good Excel skills is favored over the candidate who knows little about Excel.

There are a lot of “tie breaker” skills in the job market that pertain to you.  Perhaps you need to learn or to achieve:

  1. Microsoft Project.
  2. WordPress for blogging.
  3. MBA.
  4. Certifications.

But it’s possible, whether you are a young adult, middle aged adult, or C level executive, you may need to learn enough Excel (not everything) to describe some Excel skills or spreadsheet accomplishments on your resume.

Because one day, someday, 90% of us in the job world will be asked:

Do you know Microsoft Excel?  You’re good with spreadsheets, aren’t you?

Perhaps you need one of my quick study Excel ebooks or private Excel training over the Internet.  Whatever you choose, I’m Your Excel Coach.


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