Careers advice

How to get a job in data entry in New Zealand

What basic skills do you need for data entry?

Data entry jobs can be the perfect fit for people who want to play a critical role in their organisation, while also having the opportunity to work flexibly and on their own terms.

These roles can also be great starting points if you’re new to the workforce and looking for your first job. But what are the basic skills required for working in data entry, and what do employers look for? We’ll give you a rundown of what you’ll need to show employers in order to land a data entry job.

How to work in data entry: what you need to know

Data entry qualifications

The good news is that you don’t need any specific qualifications to work in data entry in New Zealand. That said, having good grades at school or from a higher education institution certainly won’t count against you, especially if you’re applying for your first job and have no previous experience to include on your CV or cover letter.

While no formal qualifications are required to work in data entry, you may see requirements on job ads like ‘a typing speed of X words per minute’. If you’re serious about getting a data entry job, we’d highly recommend working on your touch typing skills, but you can easily do this in your own time, so there’s no need to invest in courses to teach you these skills. If you want to make this process more fun, there are heaps of free online tools and games that will allow you to determine how quickly you can type, and then try and up your speed.

Speedy, but accurate, typing skills are important for working in data entry.

Basic skills for data entry

1. Touch typing

We’ve already mentioned this one, but being able to touch type is such an important skill for data that it deserves highlighting again. Why is it so key?

Well this comes down to the reason that data entry is so important for businesses. Data allows organisations to make informed decisions, and to keep important records, and oftentimes this information is needed constantly and quickly. Therefore, the ability to be able to touch type and process large quantities of information quickly will mean that those analysing the data you’re entering will never be left waiting. 

2. Attention to detail

This is the flipside of being able to type quickly – being able to type accurately. Inaccurate data is perhaps worse than no data at all, and can lead to bad decisions being made or the inability to go back and trace through records. As such, you’ll need to be a perfectionist when it comes to checking that the information you’re entering is accurate and that no details are glossed over. 

3. Organisational knowledge

We’re using the word ‘organisational’ here because data entry can take you into a wide variety of different sectors, from court reporting through to business performance monitoring.

Wherever you end up, it will pay to have a good understanding of the broader picture of what the organisation does, and how the data you’re entering helps it achieve its goals. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, you’re likely to come across a fair amount of industry-specific jargon when you’re data entering, as well as a lot of abbreviations of this jargon, and it can help minimise errors if you know the meaning of what you’re typing. Secondly, it will probably make the whole process a lot more interesting and engaging for you!

Understanding the broader business will help you appreciate what the data you're working with actually means.

4. Tech skills

When you think about working in data entry, your mind probably goes to entering information on a common software package like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. There’s no doubt that a whole lot of companies do use these packages for entering and storing data, however, you’ll also come across lots of industry-specific packages as well.

Don’t worry, you won’t be expected to have a working knowledge of every industry specific software package when you start a new job. However, if you can demonstrate that you’ve used a variety of packages in the past, this will show the employer that you have the ability to pick up the intricacies of new programs quickly. When you’re writing a data entry CV, it’s a good idea to create a dedicated section that lists all the software packages you’ve used, with a particular emphasis on those that are relevant to the industry you’re applying to.

5. Organisational skills

    If you’ve ever lost an important file on their computer (everyone has), you’ll understand the importance of setting up a good folder structure, and sticking to it. This comes back to what we were saying at the top of the article about the importance of attention to detail, because this doesn’t end when you’ve inputted the final data point.

    You’ll need to ensure that your spreadsheets are filed according to organisational policy, and are in a format that can be easily accessed by those who need it, while also maintaining privacy when the information is sensitive and only restricted to a select few.