Go beyond the basic Excel charts to impress recruiters in a job interview presentation

If you’ve recently been laid off and want to impress a recruiter or hiring manager with an effective data visual, you will want to consider going beyond the basic Excel charts that they will see from everyone else. What you show in a job interview presentation will demonstrate how effective you can communicate analysis to executives and others after they hire you.

I create makeovers and examples of effective data visuals for my customized training courses with clients. I take some of those ideas and create videos and articles that show how you can use Excel to create graphs that communicate effectively (you don’t need a fancy BI tool). Here are links to resources that will help you go beyond the basic charts in Excel.

My main library of examples that will inspire you to create more advanced graphs is on my website at https://www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/financialviz-inspiration/. Here you will see over 75 examples of visuals used to communicate financial and operational data as graphs instead of confusing tables of numbers. The page is organized by what type of message you want to communicate.

I also get asked to contribute my dataviz expertise in conferences and on webinars. The Association for Financial Professionals invited me to create a data visual for US Thanksgiving and I shared a pair of line charts to show the trend in consumption of different types of meat over the last 20+ years and the seasonality of each (https://www.afponline.org/ideas-inspiration/topics/articles/Details/5-ways-to-visualize-data-thanksgiving-edition). This example can be applied to showing sales growth and seasonality in multiple product lines or in different geographic regions.

I was also featured as a guest on their webinar this summer and it involved creating makeovers of some data visuals submitted by the head of analytics and reporting at a company. The before and after visuals are shown at https://www.afponline.org/ideas-inspiration/topics/articles/Details/before-and-after-data-visualizations and my examples are #1, 2, 3 & 5.

I publish many videos on my YouTube channel that show how to create these visuals in Excel. My video on adding a CAGR line to a column chart is very popular (https://youtu.be/iXlb-8DNWpA) and my video on fixing the “values don’t add to 100% due to rounding” issue is important to make graphs credible (https://youtu.be/qGcK5499nlw). If you want to dive into 25 advanced tips for Excel charts you can join the more than 48,500 people who have viewed this video: https://youtu.be/FvWdbvHEadc.

In my series of article to help professionals who are looking for a new job after being laid off, this article (https://www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/use-graphs-instead-of-tables-of-numbers-in-a-job-interview-presentation/) shows how an Excel graph is better than a table of numbers and this article shares resources to get started creating Excel graphs (https://www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/heres-how-to-start-creating-graphs-in-excel-to-visualize-data-for-a-job-interview-presentation/).

By Dave Paradi

Dave Paradi has over twenty-two years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written ten books and over 600 articles on the topic of effective presentations and his ideas have appeared in publications around the world. His focus is on helping corporate professionals visually communicate the messages in their data so they don't overwhelm and confuse executives. Dave is one of fewer than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams communities. His articles and videos on virtual presenting have been viewed over 4.8 million times and liked over 17,000 times on YouTube.