Grinding it out in today’s job market can be a tough task for many. Competition is fierce and to succeed, one must strengthen their resume as much as possible.
Many of organizations on the Whitewater campus aim to do that by making real-world connections, gaining hands-on experience, and showing students the benefits of working in a certain field. The UW-W Excelerators club fulfills these criteria and more.
The Excelerators have been on the UW-Whitewater campus for just about two years. The name is a play on words pertaining to the Microsoft Office software, Excel.
The club focuses on honing students’ skills in Excel because it is one of the most widely used software in the modern workplace. To join the Excelerators one simply must attend a meeting. There is no fee to join and students do not have to be enrolled in a certain department or program to be a member.
“We want to make sure every student can get involved,” said William Slattery, the president of the Excelerators, “Excel is open to all majors, any major you’re going to get into you’re going to need it.”
The club has a page on Canvas where lessons and challenges are posted each week. Members can work on these in their free time or at the club meetings. Club meetings are normally held on Wednesdays from 5-6 p.m. in McGraw Hall, room 0019C. However, this year the Excelerators will also be partnering with local companies to work with their software and get some in-the-field experience.
“We want to get real-world experience so that when a person goes to an employer they have some idea of what an employer would look for and how to improve on those Excel sheets,” said Slattery.
To the average person, Excel is a spreadsheet application that helps keep track of things by making lists and being able to present data in a professional way. However, there are many more functions inside Excel. Someone using just the surface of the software as a simple spreadsheet is neglecting a large part of the software’s functionality. There are many uses and tricks beyond the basics.
The Excelerators dive deeper into the software and challenge themselves to see how they can make the software work for them. An example is using Excel to create self-updating content that actually pulls live data from the internet.
“Students don’t realize how important Excel is,” said Nicole Schwark, vice president of special events for the Excelerators, “They see Excel and they’re like, ‘oh I already know Excel.’ But you need to polish your skills and gain as much as you can in order to stand out to employers.”
This year the club has received an opportunity to attend a conference in Chicago from Sept. 30 to October 1. The conference is featuring Mr. Excel, who has written books on Excel and runs a website focusing on Excel tips and tricks. This is the first time the Excelerators have been able to make a big trip off-campus.
For any questions, social media is a great way to learn more about the Excelerators. They have a Facebook page, an Instagram and even a Snapchat. On the UW-W homepage, there is also a link to the club’s blog where students can keep up on current events within the organization.