Learning and using spreadsheets isn’t just for school – it’s for life. Boost your organisation skills and impress employers with Google Sheets, a free alternative to Excel.
Lots of employers expect you to use Excel spreadsheets in jobs that involve office admin or data entry. You’ve probably spent time learning about Excel in school. And using Excel shows you have great self-management skills (as well as the digital skills that so many employers are looking for). The only problem is that Microsoft Office Excel costs money (unless you can wangle it on a free student account). Never fear – Google Sheets is a free alternative to Excel and looks GREAT on your CV. Here’s how you can start using it today as a Young Professional. See our step by step guide with pics.
Microsoft Excel vs Google Sheets
What do both these bits of software have in common? You can use them to create tables of information that you can update easily. Microsoft Excel is an industry standard which means nearly all employers use it. Product sales, lists of addresses and employees, charts laying out the times for projects to be completed, to-do lists and calendars of company events… these are just some of the things employers can use Excel spreadsheets for. You can also use spreadsheets to keep track of money going in and out if you want to start your own business.
The good news is that Google Sheets does pretty much the same thing. It looks almost the same, and is just as easy to use. Google Sheets are all online, so you can log into any computer (or mobile phone) online and see all your spreadsheets in one place. Because Google is such a big household name, lots of employers also use Google sheets to create their tables.
Why use Google Sheets?
- It’s free.
- You can put it on your CV to impress employers with your digital skills and self-management skills.
- It shows you are a true Young Professional, willing to learn new things.
- You’re building a transferable skill. Learn one piece of office software and it’s easier to learn new ones!
What kinds of jobs use spreadsheets like Excel or Google Sheets?
There are too many to name! Picking up how to use spreadsheets is a really useful self-management skill. It can get your foot in the door and shows you are ready to make a difference and go places.
Here are some jobs and careers where your spreadsheet skills could come in handy:
And here are some youth-friendly employers offering jobs where spreadsheets are used:
DST apprenticeship – investment operations administrator (written enquiries)
How to get Google Sheets for free
Not using Google Sheets yet? Here’s how you can get it for free.
1. Sign up for a free Google Drive then log into Google Drive.
If you don’t have a Google account, go to https://www.google.com/drive/ and sign up with your email address.
If you do have a Google account, or you’ve just created one, go to https://www.google.com/drive/ and log in.
1. Click on NEW, then GOOGLE SHEETS, then BLANK SPREADSHEET.
Once you’ve logged into Google Drive, click on NEW:
Then click on GOOGLE SHEETS, and BLANK SPREADSHEET:
3. Create your first spreadsheet
When you open a blank spreadsheet you will see something like this:
Look at all that empty space! Do you know how to use it yet? If not, we’ve found some Google Sheets free Youtube tutorials for you to try:
- Creating, editing and styling your spreadsheet
- Insert a chart or image (see also: advanced images and emojis)
- Editing stuff
- Conditional formatting
- Gsuite tutorials (the official Google ones)
- Create an interactive to-do list (cool idea)
Top tip: Check out Google Sheets templates
When you open Google Sheets, you can choose FROM A TEMPLATE to find all kinds of amazing templates, from to-do lists to monthly budgets. Have fun. Make spreadsheets work for you, not the other way around.