Written By: Clare O’Rourke
Exclusively for WIB.
Are you a student who cowers at the sight of the menacing green Excel icon? Do you think that the words “Excel” and “fun” could never be used in the same sentence? Well, here at UTS Women in Business, we love telling our members the truth. And the truth is, you need to learn Excel!
Whichever industry or job you are striving to succeed in – be it accounting, management, HR, marketing – nearly every employee needs and uses it. There’s no escaping it (sort of like end of semester exams?!).
The common misconception held by university students is that Excel is only used by accountants. You may think it’s a boring tool, restricted for number crunching and monthly budgets but how wrong you are! Excel is diverse and is required for multiple work tasks. Think outside the box. To give you an example far from accounting, think of the fashion industry – employees have to order and select that amazing jacket and leather shoes for their stock to sell to you. This process is predominantly recorded on Excel!
You don’t have to be as professional as your Instagram edits, but a basic knowledge is imperative to completing your job efficiently as a junior employee. James Kwak, a reputable economics blogger in the US, stated in one of his posts that “Microsoft Excel is one of the greatest, most powerful, most important software applications of all time.” Employers are therefore seeking candidates who already have intermediate or advanced skills in Excel. These are employers in every field of business, as all employees at some point in their job have to work with numbers and need an easy, sequential way of doing it. So, if it is almost expected that you know how to use it, then why not take some time to introduce yourself to the software and add another attractive quality to your resume? If you need more convincing, read the following 3 points:
1) Excel can be simple and fun
Trust us when we say that once you get some basic exposure and practice, Excel is a very simple tool. You just need that first experience where you learn the fundamental skills and from there, you’ll become addicted to adding multiple rows to your spreadsheet with just 3 keys! You’ll be surprised by how quickly you’ll establish a whole repertoire of combinations to use and show-off.
2) Employers look for it on your resume
Like we said above, when you learn Excel, you immediately become a more attractive job candidate. If you show your potential employer that you understand the tool, then they know you’ll be a great asset to the team rather than someone they have to tediously teach these basic skills to. You may be asking, “Why is Excel so important to my future workplace?” Well, to quote Mr Kwak again, he claims that “Excel would be the most-used program in the business world.” It’s used to make jobs efficient, collaborative and quick, so if you put “Excel” on your resume, you’re really showing your employer that you can bring all these other qualities to the table.
3) It is helpful outside of work
One day you will shock yourself with your love for Excel. You will be frantically brainstorming a way to get your personal life in check and the first thing that comes to mind is a clear, concise and colourful Excel table. That’s when you know you’ve been won over by Microsoft’s Number 1 tool. So, remember, Excel is crucial for employment purposes, but its use can extend beyond that. Think of all the lists, personal finance tables, food budgeting, shopping expenses and group assignment tables you could construct!
How to excel in Excel
As a UTS student, you have full access to Lynda.com, which we highly encourage the use of because a subscription is not something a student can afford. Lynda.com have a wealth of videos on Excel, from Excel tips and tricks, to Excel for sales professionals, introducing formulas and functions + more. Keep an eye out for professional bodies, UTS library or other organisations who run free workshops.
Excel is just such a diverse application and its possibilities are endless!