So much falls under the heading of organizational skills!

Searching for a job can feel like a full time job, but it shouldn't. By identifying your skills and tailoring your resume around the skills you have to offer a prospective company, you can stand out from the crowd. Organizational skills are often a key element of a role, so let's talk about learning how to describe organizational skills when applying for a job. 

What are organizational skills?

Having a tidy desk with neat stacks of papers is considered organized, but strong organizational skills at work involve more than putting things away. Good organizational skills have to do with managing time, space, and resources. This allows you to work effectively and get things done. 

In the end, that's what employers want – staff that can get things finished on time and under budget, whether that employee is remote, hybrid, or in-person. If you work remotely, organizational skills at work become even more critical. Sometimes you might have a major project with many moving parts or have to communicate between time zones. In those cases, you must possess different types of organizational skills.

With all of that being said, you can tie the definition of organizational skills into a little bow by saying they are soft skills. Soft skills are characteristics you possess that make you good at what you do. By demonstrating good organization skills in the workplace, you're showcasing some of those much-desired soft skills. 

DID YOU KNOW: if two candidates have similar hard skills, the hiring manager will choose the person with the right soft skills?

Types of organizational skills

Anything you do at work to maintain focus on time, tasks, and productivity fall into the classification of organizational skills. They include your ability to remain calm under pressure and set SMART goals. Here are some organizational skills examples:

  • Planning

  • Problem solving

  • Decision making

  • Time management

  • Attention to detail

  • Critical thinking

  • Self motivation

  • Managing priorities

  • Scheduling

Organizational skills for managers are a bit different, but not by much. They simply fall into broader categories, including things like office management, delegating tasks, and sharing feedback. 

Why are organizational skills important?

There is a lot to keep up with at work. This customer needs to be called back tomorrow, that project needs to finish the day after, and you have to update your customer relationship management platform today. Being able to keep up with all of that and manage things that pop up in the meantime make you a valuable asset to management.

Leaders and executives understand that lost documents, mishandled customer information, and missed meetings are expensive. Anything that negatively affects the bottom line will not be tolerated for long. On top of that, you have to have personal organizational skills. In other words, the tools necessary to manage the emotions and stress that go along with work organization skills.

What jobs require good organizational skills?

As you can imagine, having good organizational skills will help you in any job. There are some jobs, though, where having good organizational skills is a must! Those include: 

  • Corporate or Event Planner

  • Project Manager

  • Engineer

  • Sales or Business Development Manager

  • Operations Manager

Did you notice that most of those jobs are high-level jobs and a few involve working independently? Additionally, they all require someone who can manage performance, achieve goals, and build positive cultures. These are all things that companies appreciate in staff members. 

How to talk about organizational skills on your resume 

Approximately one third of hiring managers and recruiters consider seeing a resume with buzzwords or generalized statements a deal breaker.” When considering how to include organizational skills on your resume, remember to be specific, use action words, and include achievement statements.  

Don't write that you are “Adept at carrying out detailed plans.” Think of a situation you were involved in that gave you the opportunity to plan something that caused a shift in something else. For example, you could say something like this:

“Defined project scope, created a project plan, and identified staff objectives to bring a new product to market, achieving $40M in revenue within 6 months.”

You'll notice that there isn't a single mention of 'having organizational skills' in this sentence. Yet, it's clear that the person is organized or else they wouldn't have been able to get the product to market or realize massive revenues. 

How to talk about organizational skills during an interview

The interviewer will get a sense of your organizational skills the minute you walk in the door. They'll look at whether you arrived on time and if you're prepared. Preparation can be judged by whether you have extra copies of your resume or if you've practiced answering some common interview questions

When you're answering their questions, you can further demonstrate your organizational skills by using the STAR method to formulate responses. With every answer you give, be sure to talk about the situation, what you did about it, and the result. Circle back to how your actions then can help their company now. 

How to improve organizational skills

Considering the importance of organizational skills at work, it's a good idea to keep the ones you have sharp and spruce up others if you want to ensure a happy work life. For the most part, good organizational skills are developed by forming habits. 

It can be difficult to nail down exactly how long it takes to form a habit. There is research that supports the idea that it takes 21 days, while other scientists say it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days. No matter how long it takes, the outcome is worth it because you end up with organizational skills that are second nature – things you do without thought. 

Here are five suggestions for developing new, or improving existing, organizational skills:

  • Use a calendar: Get one of those spiral-bound calendars that has big squares for the dates so that you can write things down. Alternatively, you can use an online planner or calendar management system with reminders. The main idea here is that you can see what needs to be done in advance of when it's due. 
  • Set goals: Not only does having goals help to improve your organizational skills, but they also reduce stress. When you put things on your calendar, you can create a list of things to do to achieve the tasks by the specified date. This task list will help you to break big projects into small objectives. 
  • Communicate: While good communication isn't specifically an organizational skill, it does support organization. When you communicate with your co-workers and managers, you're holding yourself accountable and finding support when you need it. Also, good communication skills help you to delegate tasks on large projects. Being able to delegate is a key organizational skill. 
  • Delegate tasks: You are not a superhero. Many projects require teamwork. It's one thing to show the boss that you can organize your own day, it's another thing to organize the work of others, too. Plus, when you have the capacity for delegating work to others, you're taking care of your mental health. 
  • Practice work/life balance: It may not seem like it, but having a healthy balance between work and life is an important organizational skill. When you practice resting your brain and walking away from work at the appropriate time, you're able to process things better. This means that your productivity will improve and you'll be able to achieve your work goals easily. 

The bottom line is that employers want employees who can demonstrate organizational skills. Almost everyone has some form of these desired traits and those who don't can work to improve them. 

Since being able to showcase organizational skills on your resume is crucial to the success of your job search, TopResume will review your resume for free to help you get on the right track. 

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