The one simple thing that will get you the job

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So what is it? What is the 1 thing every client wants?

Excel skills!

From driven Finance Managers in Blue Chip organisations to MDs of SMES – everyone always asks about Excel skills! I have had interim candidates go into roles and come out with glowing references because they have gone the extra mile and improved spreadsheets, I’ve had candidates who are neck and neck in an interview process – then the candidate with the strongest Excel skills secures the role…

Almost every client looks for someone who can manipulate data, putting it into a format that can be understood by non finance managers; the easiest tool to do this and the one most people use is Excel.

Here are my tips to make the most of your Excel skills;

1. Make sure it’s on your CV! – This is simple enough, if you can use it shout about it! Excel (as well as the system the company use) is probably one of the most important IT skills needed in your application. Make sure it is on the front page of your CV!

2. Be Clear – When I ask people what their Excel skills are like most people say good. One persons idea of ‘good’, ‘excellent’ and ‘basic’ are different (trust me I started at BTG and believed I had ‘advanced’ Excel skills. Ater learning more about Excel, I have come to realise they are basic- at best!). It’s fine saying ‘good’ or ‘advanced’ but explain exactly what you can do e.g. Sum ifs, V look ups etc. and ensure if you are using it within a role you say you are!

3. Learn the lingo – Using the correct phraseology can help show your skills – concatenation – V look ups – Pivot tables – Sum Ifs – Nested ifs – Macros – Visual Basic…again this will show exactly what level you are at.

4. Improve your skill set – In your current role ask to get involved in anything where you can improve your Excel skills; there are lots of online resources and courses you can take or even just buy a book. Ask a colleague who has strong Excel skills to assist you and to suggest what part of Excel you could use to make your role easier.

5. Already an Excel superstar – If you already have top notch Excel skills – you could always utilise these and help other not so experienced colleagues improve their skill set. Not only will it be personally rewarding, it will also impress a potential employer if can say that you taught other members of the team how to maintain and amend it.

I hope this helps you during your next application. If you would like any further advice or help, I am a specialist in senior interim finance and accounts recruitment in the East Midlands so please feel free to call me on 01159607000. At BTG Recruitment we are experts in Finance and Accounts recruitment – we have over 12 years experience doing exactly that in the East Midlands.

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