In 2023, organizational skills are very in-demand on the job market, which makes them an asset no matter your profession.
First and foremost, organizational skills can improve your productivity by allowing you to manage your time and resources efficiently.
This helps you perform better at work, improves your chances of getting a promotion, and even opens up a shot at getting a managerial position!
So, if you have organizational skills, you definitely want to highlight them
in your resume.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about organizational skills, including:
- What Are Organizational Skills and Why Are They Important?
- 10 Organizational Skills to Add to Your Resume
- How to Highlight Your Organizational Skills on Your Resume
- How to Improve Your Organizational Skills
And more! Let’s dive right in.
What Are Organizational Skills?
Organizational skills are a set of soft skills that help you keep track of information, materials, and even your time in such a way that you can tackle short and long-term tasks efficiently and solve problems more effectively.
Organizational skills can be categorized into internal and external organizational skills.
Internal organizational skills involve being mentally capable of analyzing complex situations and thinking of solutions (e.g. goal setting, decision making, strategic planning, etc.).
External organizational skills, on the other hand, refer to your work methods and how you collaborate with others (e.g. documentation, prioritization, delegation, etc.).
This means that organizational skills are multi-faceted. In practice, they include:
- Building structure in your personal and professional life
- Setting goals and prioritizing them based on an action plan
- Managing your time, tasks, materials, and schedule
- Allocating resources and delegating tasks based on their priority
Although organizational skills are important for all aspects of one’s life, they’re particularly handy for your professional life and career.
Let us tell you why that is:
Why Are Organizational Skills Important?
First and foremost, organizational skills are important because they can improve your employability.
According to a LinkedIn Global Talent Trends study, 80% of talent professionals say soft skills are increasingly important to company success. And, in 2023, organizational skills are among the most important soft skills recruiters are looking for.
But what exactly is it that makes organizational skills so popular, regardless of your job or your industry?
Here are some of their top benefits:
- Improved productivity. Having a well-organized desk, schedule, and task completion system means it's less likely you'll be taken aback by an impending deadline, an additional responsibility, or having to cover for a sick coworker.
- Saved company time and money. US workers spend at least two hours a day on average (or 25% of their workweek) looking for documents or information they need to do their job. A well-organized employee, however, can use that time to actually work, thus saving the company time and money.
- Professional growth. Being organized at work can help you build a personal brand of being reliable, professional, and effective. And with your work results to prove it, you’ll be among the first in line for recommendations and promotions in your field.
- Improved customer relationships. Most customer-facing jobs rely on customer satisfaction to drive sales and succeed in business. Having employees with good organizational skills is a key element to achieving that. (E.g. imagine how bad it would be for a company to have customer service reps who can barely find their notes when a customer calls, let alone help them with their queries.)
- Better work environment. Organizational skills can help reduce miscommunication among coworkers and create a more pleasant and effective work environment.
Let’s take a more detailed look at some key organizational skills that just about everyone can benefit from:
#1. Physical Organization
Physical organizational means you’re good at arranging and keeping track of your files and equipment on your computer, desk, and office space.
Some skills related to physical organization include:
- Record keeping
- Office management
- Documentation and filing
- Stock inventory
With physical organization skills, you don’t need to spend time and energy looking for things. In turn, you can be more effective and well-prepared to tackle your tasks.
Being organized is, in big part, making the most out of your time and energy. To do that, you need to be able to plan out how to use your resources as effectively as possible.
Planning skills can involve several different practices, such as:
- Keeping a detailed calendar or agenda
- Scheduling meetings and events days in advance
- Having daily to-do lists
In a nutshell, good planning skills mean that you're able to think ahead, which can help you stay on top of your tasks and work anxiety-free.
Our workweeks are packed with various tasks and deadlines.
Being able to prioritize them based on how important they are and how much time commitment they need means you’ll know which tasks to tackle first.
For your employer, having good prioritization skills means you’ll be less likely to miss important deadlines or deliver poor-quality work.
#4. Goal setting
Knowing which tasks to tackle first is one thing; being able to set goals to complete them is another.
Imagine you have a big project to finish by the end of the month that requires a lot of time and attention.
Without setting some short-term goals, you might get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of energy that you need to put into it and end up delivering low-quality work.
With goal-setting skills, your chances of getting overwhelmed are much smaller. You’ll be able to break the project into smaller tasks and set separate deadlines for each of them, thus knowing exactly what you need to do and when.
Collaboration skills show how well you can work with two people or more to achieve a common goal. This involves how you communicate, how much others can depend on you to finish your tasks, and how willing you are to share your knowledge and expertise.
This skill is particularly important to big companies and remote teams, where people often have to work on big projects or communicate between different time zones.
By being organized in the way you collaborate with others, you won’t have to worry about bottlenecking the work process or being perceived as unreliable.
#6. Time management
Time management skills refer to the ability to “master” your time in such a way that you understand how long a task will take to complete and adjust your agenda accordingly. They also involve making the most of the hours available in a day to ensure maximum efficiency and productivity.
An employee with good time management skills is someone who can prioritize tasks, doesn't get distracted easily, and can set goals for the day. In turn, they are less likely to suffer from anxiety and poor work performance.
Someone with good communication skills can share knowledge, ideas, and thoughts in such a way that others understand.
Effective communication is essential for a high-functioning work environment, while the opposite can lead to company-wide problems.
Sending an email without a clear, organized structure, for example, might lead your coworkers to misunderstand the intended message. In turn, this can cause miscommunication and workplace tension.
As such, being able to communicate in a well-organized manner ensures everything’s running like clockwork and everyone’s on the same page.
#8. Strategic thinking
Strategic thinking is an internal organizational skill that’s tightly linked to problem-solving. It refers to the ability to analyze a problem or a situation and come up with solutions.
Although strategic thinking is helpful in most jobs, it comes in particularly handy if you’re an entrepreneur, business analyst, project manager, or any sort of professional who is required to understand how certain tasks are tied to general business goals.
#9. Decision making
Decision-making skills involve taking into account the outcomes of different courses of action and deciding on the most beneficial one.
The process of making a decision involves actively listening and paying attention, gathering information and data, and analyzing a problem thoroughly. The more organized you are, the better you will be at this process and at limiting poor personal and professional choices and outcomes.
A direct result of being organized is knowing where your limits are and understanding what you realistically can and cannot do based on your time and resources.
Now, if your tasks and deadlines become too much, the responsible thing to do is assign one or more tasks to a coworker. Good delegation skills involve knowing exactly which team member is more qualified and well-prepared to tackle a specific task or project.
By being on top of your to-do list and knowing which tasks to delegate (and to whom) you should be able to improve your team’s productivity and never miss a deadline.
How to Add Your Organizational Skills to Your Resume
You may have great organizational skills, but unless you point them out in your resume, there’s no way for the hiring manager to know this.
Below we’ll show you exactly how to add your organizational skills to your resume to impress future employers:
#1. Start With the Layout
Before the hiring manager gets to your resume’s contents, they will notice how it’s all put together.
If your resume sections are disorganized and the whole thing looks cluttered and messy, your chances of convincing the hiring manager you have strong organizational skills may fly out the window.
That’s why, first and foremost, your resume must bewell-organized in a visual sense.
Here are all the elements of a great resume layout:
- Format. Go for the reverse-chronological format. It’s the most popular among hiring managers worldwide, as it effectively highlights your work experience by listing your most recent job first.
- Font. Pick a professional font style that’s easy to read and looks good both on PDF and paper. Once you’ve chosen, use that font consistently throughout your resume.
- Font size. If your font size is too small, the hiring manager won’t be able to read it but if it’s too big, it will make your resume spill over to page two. As such, set your font size to 11-12 pts for the body of your resume and 14-16 pts for the resume headings.
- Resume length. Optimally, you want your resume to fit on one page to increase the chances of the hiring manager actually reading it. After all, they go through hundreds of resumes every day.
- Bullet points. Using bullet points to organize your responsibilities, achievements, and other information (certifications, hobbies, etc.) under your resume sections is another great way to make your resume look clean and well-structured.
Does all of the above seem too complicated and time-consuming?
We don’t blame you. Most people would like to skip through all the hassle of resume formatting and go straight to filling in their information.
Well, there is a way to do just that - using one of our tried-and-tested resume templates.
Not only do they look amazing, but they’re also created in collaboration with some of the best HR professionals from around the globe, which means you can rest assured your resume will get noticed.
Here is how our resumes compare to conventional, black-and-white traditional resumes:
#2. Include Your Organizational Skills Under Your Soft Skills
The most obvious place to list your organizational skills on your resume is the skills section.
This part is pretty straightforward. That said, you don’t want to add every organizational skill that exists in the book. Instead, you want to make sure the skills you add are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
Here is exactly how you can do that:
- Check the job description. More often than not, the job description can show you exactly what skills you need for the job. If you’re applying for, say, a personal assistant position, you’ll need to have physical organization skills, scheduling skills, planning, and goal-setting skills.
- Identify the skills you possess. Think about which skills you can back up with actual experience from your previous jobs. Only list organizational skills that you actually possess and that you can prove you possess on your resume.
- Add those skills under your soft skills. Then, add the skills that you have and that are required in the job under your resume’s “Soft Skills” section.
Here’s an example of what the skills section looks like in a resume:
#3. Back-Up Your Organizational Skills In the Work Experience Section
Anyone can claim they have amazing organizational skills. To stand out from the crowd, you want to show that you really possess them through cold, hard data.
That’s where the work experience section comes in.
The work experience section is, arguably, the most important section of any resume. Done right, this is where you should the hiring manager that you’re an A-player that gets things done.
It’s also where you can prove you’ve got all the organizational skills needed for the job. Below, we’ll show you just how to do that:
- Tailor your work experience to the job. Only add past jobs that are relevant to the position. If you’re applying for, say, an event planner position, the hiring manager will be interested in your previous experience as a travel agent, not in the time you worked as a cook.
- Focus on your achievements instead of your responsibilities. The hiring manager knows exactly what your responsibilities were in previous jobs. What they want to know is how you made a positive impact with your achievements.
- Make your achievements quantifiable. Speaking of achievements, making them quantifiable is what really makes them impressive. After all “implemented a documentation and filing system that increased office efficiency by 24%” sounds much better than “improved office efficiency.”
- Use the Laszlo Bock formula. If you’re having trouble phrasing your achievements, use the following formula: “Accomplished X as measured by Y doing X.”
- Take advantage of action verbs. There are hundreds of words and verbs you can use instead of “organized.” The more descriptive you are of your achievements, the more impressive they can sound.
Here’s an example of a project manager describing their organizational skills in their work experience section:
- Successfully oversaw and completed three separate projects in the course of two years.
- Implemented an organization system that helped research assistants find information faster and reduce the chance of errors.
- Scheduled and organized over 34 conferences that were attended by over 500 people.
- Leveraged a shared calendar system to coordinate meetings, events, and upcoming deadlines.
10 Jobs Where Organizational Skills Are Essential
We’ve already established that organizational skills are a great asset to have in practically any profession.
That said, there are some jobs where organizational skills are nothing short of essential if you want to be successful.
So, if you have excellent organizational skills and you’re looking for a career where you can apply them to the maximum, consider one of the following jobs:
How to Improve Your Organizational Skills
If you’ve gone through everything we’ve covered so far and feel like organizational skills aren’t really your forte, then you’re in luck.
Just like any other skill, being organized is something that can be learned.
Here are our top six tips that are guaranteed to help you:
- Read books on organizational skills. Read your way to an organized life. Books like Getting Things Done and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People can help you acquire essential organizational skills (or at least the theoretical part of it, anyway).
- Join online classes. You can find a ton of useful courses on organizational skills on LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and most other educational platforms.
- Try out different organizational skill apps. Apps like Evernote, Google Keep, and Trello can help you practice your organizational skills in your everyday life.
- Declutter your surroundings. Organizing the space around you is a great way to start improving your organizational skills. Getting your workplace in order primes you to be more productive and organized during your workday.
- Make lists. Separate to-do lists can help you keep track of what needs to be done - and when. Prioritizing the tasks on your list can be particularly helpful too, as it can help with your scheduling and goal-setting needs.
- Own your calendar. A basic but important step to improving your organizational skills is to be in control of your time. Having a calendar that shows you all your meetings, activities, etc., can really help in that direction.
Interview Questions on Organizational Skills - Sample Answers
If you follow all the above instructions to a T, your resume will most likely land you a job interview.
When that happens, you should be prepared to answer questions regarding your organizational skills.
Most probably, the interviewer will inquire about your organizational skills through a behavioral interview question. Behavioral questions are questions based on how you acted in a specific situation.
Examples of behavioral questions include:
- Give us an example of a goal you failed to meet, and how you handled the situation.
- Tell us about a time when you solved a problem at your job that wasn’t part of your job description.
Behavioral questions can seem more difficult to answer than normal interview questions.
Answering a question like “what’s your greatest strength” is pretty straightforward.
Coming up with an example that demonstrates your greatest strength right there on the spot, though, can be much more difficult.
Fortunately, there’s an easy, systematic way to answer behavioral interview questions: the STAR method.
Here’s what STAR stands for:
- S - Situation. Describe the situation where the event/experience took place.
- T - Task. Talk about the task or responsibility you had to complete.
- A - Action. Describe the steps you took to fix the situation/complete the task.
- R - Results. Talk about the results of your actions.
If you master the STAR method, there is no behavioral question about organizational skills the interviewer can throw at you that you won’t be able to answer.
For example, let’s say that the interviewer asked the following question:
- Give us an example of when you had to be very strategic in your tasks to meet all of your responsibilities under a specific deadline.
Here’s how you’d answer this with the STAR method:
Situation - “I typically like to plan out my work weeks in advance if possible. But in my previous sales manager role at Company X, I had to suddenly move the team to a new customer relationship management (CRM) software. The software we were using before unexpectedly changed their pricing model, which made it too expensive for us.”
Task - ”I had to find new software that met our requirement, by the end of Q3 (when the price increase hit), while making sure my own sales numbers did not decrease. The new tool also had to be intuitive and easy for our employees to adapt to.”
Action - “In order to do that, I had to be very careful with how I managed my time. The first thing I did was ask our sales associates what the number one problem was with our current CRM, so I knew what to look for in a new one aside from the price factor. After that, I dedicated 1-2 hours each day to research, and once I found the new software, migrating our data. I made sure to delete any old contacts, update the missing information on our current leads, and caught the team up on how to use the new software. All the while, I was still handling my daily responsibilities as usual, without any decrease in performance.”
Results - “Finally, we managed to complete the transfer 1 week behind the deadline. I finished the quarter 12% ahead of my sales goals, and the team was satisfied with the new CRM. By planning ahead and with proper time allocation, everything worked out well.”
And here’s another common behavioral interview question about organizational skills:
- Describe a long-term project you managed. How did you make sure everything was running smoothly?
And here’s a sample answer:
Situation: When I was at Company X, I was managing the web development team in charge of setting up a new website for one of our biggest clients at the time. With most projects, we had a process set up and we would get most sites done in up to 2 months. This project, however, was a bit different, as the website was supposed to be more detailed, with a lot of unique pages. So, we had to be a lot more careful with our time management.
Task: We had a strict deadline of 15 weeks, and I had to make sure that we used up our time as efficiently as possible.
Action: Before getting to actual work, I decided that we should plan everything out by the week. After some research and consulting with our team of developers, we decided to split the workload between different stages. We would devote around 1 week to the discovery phase, 5 weeks to design, 3 weeks to initial development, and the rest to any modifications and updates.
Results: In the end, we actually finished the website with all the promised functionalities in just under 3 months. The client was very satisfied with the result and eventually ended up recommending partners to our firm.
Want to make sure you won’t be taken aback by any behavioral question the interviewer throws at you? Check out these 20 STAR interview questions to get inspired.
And that’s a wrap! By now, you should know everything there is to know about organizational skills.
Before you go and put what you learned to practice, here are the main points we covered in this article:
- Organizational skills are a set of soft skills that help you keep track of information and materials in such a way that you can tackle short and long-term tasks efficiently and solve problems more effectively.
- Organizational skills improve individual and team productivity, save the company time and money, help with professional growth, and contribute to healthy workplace culture.
- Some key organizational skills include planning, physical organization, prioritization, goal setting, and time management.
- To show the hiring manager you’re a well-organized candidate from the get-go, make sure your resume layout is spotless.
- Don’t just list your organizational skills under your resume’s Skills section. Make sure to also back them up in your work experience section.