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Written by Lyndsey McLaughlinLyndsey McLaughlin

What are organizational skills?

13 min read
What Are Organizational Skills?
Artwork by:Nelly Borisova
The requirement for ‘good organizational skills’ is almost a given for any job posting, but what does this actually mean? Do you need to be the type of person that plans meetings months in advance or are there other ways to show you take charge.

In this article, we will uncover the true meaning of organizational skills and what to put on your resume to show you have them. We will provide examples of organizational skills that are favourable to employers and what you can do to improve your organization skills.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • What are organizational skills?
  • How to include organizational skills on your resume
  • How to develop these skills if you don’t have them already

What are organizational skills?

When you have good organizational skills in your job, you can plan your time well and manage your workload in an efficient manner. By portraying strong organizational skills on your resume, your employer will be confident that you will make your deadlines and have an impact on your workplace.

Organizational skills don’t just apply to your workload, but also to the materials in the environment. For instance, a construction worker would be expected to keep their vans and tools organized, and an office worker would be expected to keep their desk neat.

Organizational skills help to improve productivity and can make a business more successful, hence why it is an important skill for most professions.

Organizational skills show that you are:

  • Able to manage your own time and deadlines. An individual with strong organizational skills is more likely to meet their deadlines and ensure their day-to-day tasks are taken care of.
  • An individual that can prioritize tasks appropriately. You know which tasks are the most important and can take care of the most urgent, first.
  • Someone that likes to keep a neat and tidy working environment and will work without being in the middle of clutter.
  • Able to file any documents and folders appropriately.

The different types of organizational skills

It is easy for any candidate to state that they have “excellent organizational skills,” but it’s important to break down what these qualities actually equate to in the workplace.

Time Management

In any job, it is vital that you manage your time effectively. For instance, a delivery driver would be expected to drop packages off at a certain time and will have a deadline for the number of deliveries they fulfil each day. A personal trainer will need to ensure that they manage a diary of clients and give themselves sufficient time to get from one to another. Time management applies to all jobs, and it is, therefore, an important aspect of your resume. With good time management skills, you can plan your workload out and ensure you are delivering on your deadlines.

Delegation

The ability to delegate is not just about getting others to do their share, it is about managing your workload efficiently and ensuring that all tasks are assigned to the relevant person. For instance, a finance director would need to delegate payroll tasks to the most appropriate team member. In this way, they can ensure they meet their deadlines and that they are making the most use of their staff. When you delegate, you can organize your own time more effectively.

Prioritization

To be organized, you need to be able to prioritize your workload. In other words, you need to be aware of what tasks need to be done immediately and which ones can wait. For example, if a recruiter had two tasks, one being to write a new job description and the other to schedule an interview, what would be most urgent? Arranging interviews would be the priority as this is the most likely way of hiring staff. Therefore, the most important. The ability of the recruiter to know this shows that they have organizational skills.

Communication

Communication skills are an imperative part of being organized, as this is how you can prioritize, delegate and manage your time effectively. If you can’t communicate, you won’t be able to organize a team or respond to queries effectively.

Why are organizational skills important?

Strong organizational skills are important in any job. If you are not organized, it can be detrimental to your own success and that of the company you are working for. Here are some results of poor organization:

Loss of profit:

A lack of organizational skills can cost a company money. For example, if a bookkeeper is not ensuring the records they hold are accurate, could result in a business owner making the wrong decisions. Decisions that could be detrimental to their success. Whereas, if a bookkeeper keeps their files in good order, they are more likely to ensure accuracy which will help the business make informed decisions.

Deteriorating customer relationships:

Poor organizational skills can lead to orders being late, emails not being responded to in a timely manner, and a lack of customer service. Have you ever ordered something, and it hasn’t arrived for months after, or you have asked a question and failed to get a response? These are highly off-putting for any consumer, and you probably wouldn’t return to the business to purchase more products. A hiring manager needs to be sure that you will be organized enough to ensure you provide a great service to customers.

Negative workplace culture:

Employers want to foster a positive culture as this is what breeds success. However, if employees are unorganized, it leads to stress and tension within the workplace; something that should be avoided at all costs. When stress levels and tension are high, a negative culture is formed which leads to poor productivity and employee retention difficulties.

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The hard and soft skills that underpin your achievements indicate your suitability for a role. This blog will show you how to highlight them during the recruitment process.

How to mention organizational skills on a resume

When writing your resume, you should highlight those skills you possess that apply to your ability to be organized. There are various ways you can highlight your organizational skills on your resume.

Understand Your Skills

The first step is to consider the type of organizational skills you have. What are you good at and how can you get this across on your resume? There is no point in lying about your organizational skills on a resume, just focus on those skills you have. For example, are you the type of person that follows a particular strategy with your work, are you always achieving deadlines, or perhaps you are the king or queen of the file system? Understanding your organizational skills is the first step in being able to reflect this back to the hiring manager.

Summary

You can take the most relevant organizational skills you possess and use these in your summary when describing yourself and your key experience and skills. Here’s an adaptable example for the summary.

Example

Experienced manager with 5+ years of experience in coordinating teams of up to 15 employees and delegating tasks to the most appropriate member of staff.

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Employment history

The employment history section of your resume is arguably the best place to show off your organizational skills since it gives you a chance to back them up with concrete numbers or facts about your success. Check out the adaptable example below.

Example

Managed 10 team members, ensuring that relevant tasks were delegated to the most appropriate person with the relevant skill set, which resulted in no missed deadlines over the course of two years.

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You’ll find a lot of candidates will just state that they have good organizational skills, but if you can go one step further by providing examples, it will set you apart from the others.

Skills

The skills section may seem like the most obvious place for organizational skills but it should be approached with care. Since the bullet point format best lends itself to abilities that can be described in a word or two, it’s important to choose specific areas of expertise that add to the hiring manager’s knowledge about you while still building a coherent picture with the other sections.

Example
  • Team building
  • Accurate records keeping
  • Inventory management
  • Attention to detail
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Consider the job description

The majority of large and medium-sized companies use Applicant Tracking Systems or ATS to filter candidates before their resumes are passed to the hiring manager. These algorithms are built directly into the online application portals and rank resumes based on keywords found in the job description. To increase your chances of passing the ATS, make sure to add any keywords, especially organization-based ones to the appropriate sections for your resume.

Ways to improve your organizational skills

If you believe that organizational skills are not your strong point, here are steps you can take to improve them:

  • Create a to-do list: Make a to-do list of key tasks you want to complete, and number these by priorities.
  • Manage deadlines: Set deadlines that will be manageable for you, don’t make them too ambitious. You may want to set small daily deadlines, with an overall weekly/monthly deadline.
  • Delegate tasks: Delegate responsibilities where possible. This will help make your workload more manageable, which in turn, will improve your time management skills.
  • Tidy your environment: It is impossible to be organized if your working environment is chaotic. Simple steps like shredding your notebooks when you’re finished and putting files away will make a big difference to your organizational skills.
  • Schedule tasks: Work out what you need to do for the day and set a schedule to ensure you know what you’re doing each hour of the day. It will also allow you to schedule meetings and calls while ensuring you get your work completed for the day.
  • Add rewards: Reward yourself every time you complete a task, as this will help keep you motivated and organized. For instance, when you complete a task, you could reward yourself with a coffee and biscuit. These simple steps can really help.

Organizing Your Resume

What better way to show the hiring manager that you are an organized person than by organizing your resume appropriately? These are multiple ways you can do this:

Simple and clear layout

Make sure you use a simple font, such as Arial, and stick to the same font throughout your resume. Nothing says disorganized more than a resume layout that is all over the place! Always keep it simple and clear. A resume template can make this simple.

Common section headings

Divide your resume into sections with clear headings that anyone will understand. For example, a summary or profile, experience, and skills. 

Reverse chronological order

This is the most appropriate order for your resume, and you should stick to it throughout. Don’t have reverse-chronological in one section and then change it in another. Keep it neat and organized.

Standard Spacing

Check the spacing on your resume and ensure it is the same throughout. This shows you are orderly and work in an organized way.

Concise wording

The ability to make your resume fit into 1 or 2 pages is a skill of its own, especially for someone with a vast amount of experience. If you can keep your resume succinct, it will show that you have organized your resume well.

Key Takeaways

  • An awareness of your own organizational skills is the first step in being able to portray these to the hiring manager.
  • Ensuring your resume is organized, including the font, spacing and layout will help the hiring manager to see that you are an organized person.
  • Organizational skills are essential for the success of an organization, so they are of the utmost importance to employers.
  • Your organizational skills should not just be apparent in the skills section of your resume. You should highlight these throughout your resume in all the key sections.
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