What does it take to be considered organized?
Do you need to have a kanban board wherever you go? Or is it enough to make your bed, and scrape out time for pursuing hobbies?
In this article, we’ll try to find the best organizational skills definition, show you why organizational skills are so important at work, and how to put them on your resume.
But this is not all.
You’ll find a list of inspiring resources to help you improve your organizational skills as well.
So, here we go.
This article will show you:
- The best organizational skills definition.
- What organizational skills to put on your resume.
- Examples of organizational skills that every employer values.
- How to improve organizational skills.
Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you'll get tips and right vs. wrong examples while writing your resume. See +20 resume templates and create your resume here.
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Learn more about listing all kinds of skills on a resume in our guide: Best Job Skills to Put on a Resume
And if you’re looking for other professional advice, here’s a selection of our articles:
- Work Experience on a Resume: Job Description Bullet Points Samples
- Soft Skills vs Hard Skills for a Job: What Employers Look for (+Lists)
- What Career Is Right for Me? What Job Should I Have? How to Choose
Let’s start with answering the obvious question—
What are organizational skills?
Organizational skills are some of the key and transferable skills an employee can have. They refer to your ability to stay focused on different tasks and effectively use such resources as time, energy, strength, mental capacity, physical space, or others in order to achieve the desired outcome.
The breadth of the organizational skills definition leads to a certain paradox.
On the one hand, they’re extremely desirable by employers of all kinds. Who wouldn’t want their employees to be effective and efficient?
On the other—
It’s hellaciously hard to put a finger on what exactly they are. Is it enough to keep your workspace nice and clean, have a to-do list, and stick to deadlines to be called organized?
We’ll clear things up!
Want to learn more about managerial skills? Head straight to our guide: Top 10 Management Skills: List & Great Advice (Not Just for Managers)
Before we take a look at some examples of organizational skills, let’s get one thing straight.
Organizational skills are transferable.
What does it mean?
Well, we have a whole article explaining what transferable skills are.
If you’re a well-organized person, you will remain well-organized regardless of the job you’ll be doing.
As simple as that.
Now, here’s a list of some of the strongest organizational skills:
Organizational Skills for Your Resume
- Mental organizational skills
- Physical organization
- Time management
- Work-life balance
Let’s break this down, and answer the question: Why are organizational skills important?
Strong organizational skills are important for a variety of reasons, but they all have one common denominator:
They turn you into an efficient and effective employee.
And this is exactly why employers value strong organizational skills so much.
Here's a closer look at each of the skills from the list above:
Organizational Skills in the Workplace—Examples
Your success may depend on how effectively you can organize your collaboration with others. Plus, it’s just as vital to identify who to collaborate with and on what projects.
Disorganized and hectic communication will damage your productivity. You must speak and write in a clear and coherent manner to have 100% certainty that your message is well understood. Learn about some of the best communication skills for the workplace.
Organizing work in a group of people is just as essential as selecting the right people to build a team in the first place. If your organizational skills are up to snuff, you’ll be able to put together a team of exceptional talents and achieve synergistic results.
In fact, your delegation skills are related to your teamwork skills. Well-organized individuals know what they can do themselves, and what they need to delegate to other team members to achieve the best results.
We can easily say that the most important part of a well-organized undertaking happens before anything else even takes place. The ability to plan is arguably the most important attribute of any person who claims to have strong organizational skills.
Being able to give priority to your tasks is far more important than checking off items on your to-do lists. If you can identify roadblocks ahead, break complex projects into smaller components and assess their impact on the outcome, you’re on a good way to becoming an organizational guru.
Mental organizational skills
This goes far beyond being able to think in a logical and orderly way. Mental organizational skills allow you to research and analyze situations, prepare documentation, or think strategically among others. Thanks to your mental organizational skills you can adopt a methodical approach to solving problems. Here’s a list of some of the most important mental organizational skills:
- Assessment and evaluation
- Attention to detail
- Identifying problems
- Strategic thinking
Being able to keep your workplace well-organized is also important. If you can’t find necessary documents, office utilities or your computer desktop is so cluttered that you don’t remember what your wallpaper looks like, your workflow will catch a hiccup. Here’s a look at a couple of skills that fall into this category:
- Office management
- Record keeping
- Stock inventory
An extremely important organizational skill. An uberskill, if you like. The ability to perform your tasks in a timely manner, schedule, and stick to deadlines is the Holy Grail of strong organizational skills. If you can keep yourself and your team disciplined, your organization will benefit from you in each and every way.
Yes, it's definitely a vital organizational skill. Efficiency at work starts with a good night's sleep and fresh mind. Organize your mental and physical hygiene so there's room for work and play. Remember: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. If you want to find out something more about work-life balance, here’s an article that may get you interested: Work-Life Balance Is Dead, and Here's Why
Organizational Skills—Resume Writing
Even if you happen to be the best-organized person in the world, no one's gonna believe you.
Unless you prove it.
On your resume, organizational skills can show through in at least a couple of ways. Some more, some less obvious.
Here’s a closer look at three ways in which you can give prominence to your organizational skills on a resume:
Organizational Skills on Resume—Layout
Before any recruiter reads a single word on your resume, they'll cast a perfunctory glance at the document.
A fraction of a second is enough to form a first impression.
So make sure your resume is well-organized and grabs the recruiter's attention for a longer while.
- Go for the reverse-chronological resume format. It brings your experience and key achievements to the front. If you're a career changer or you're writing your first resume, read our guide on how to choose resume format.
- Choose simple and readable fonts. They don't just look good but are compliant with the ATS software.
- Write simple headings. They'll help the recruiter identify different resume sections quickly.
- Put white space to good use and avoid clutter on your resume. You want to come across as organized. Clutter is your enemy.
- Be concise. If you can fit your resume on a single page, do it. You may want to experiment with font sizes, numbers of columns, etc. Our resume builder makes it really easy.
- Begin your resume with a summary or career objective. Read our guide on how to write a resume summary, or how to write a resume objective.
- Then add experience and education. Learn how to describe your work experience on a resume and how to nail the education section.
- Include a key skills section to make sure they really stand out.
A well-organized resume layout will serve as hard evidence of your organizational skills.
But that's not everything.
Want to make your resume grab the recruiter’s attention for good? Read one of our guides:
- How to Make a Resume for a Job: Writing Guide
- 6 Tips on How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job Description
Organizational Skills on Resume—Job Description
In resume writing, there's only one rule.
That's why it's not enough to pick the best template for your resume.
You must identify the organizational skills the employer is looking for, and show them you've got what they need.
Start by looking at the job offer.
The job listing may look something like this:
Administrative Assistant—Organizational Skills (Job Description)
- Inventories, receives, and shelves routine supplies.
- Reviews invoices/packing slips to ensure shipment is correct.
- Schedules rooms, meetings and/or tours.
- Performs routine, simple filing and non-critical copying. Collates documents, distributes mail.
- Refers calls, greets visitors, and gives standard information in response to phone or in-person inquiries.
- Performs simple data entry into single screen.
This job description comes from a listing for the position of an administrative assistant who must have excellent organizational skills.
All the planning and organizational skills that the employer requires are highlighted in yellow.
The trick is to prepare the experience section of your resume on the basis of the job posting.
This is how you could describe your organizational skills in your resume job description:
- Managed a busy 50+ employee office.
- Devised and implemented a tracking system that inventoried and kept track of routine supplies.
- Reviewed 100+ invoices and packing slips weekly to ensure all shipments are correct.
- Scheduled 10+ conference rooms, organized meetings and company events. Introduced a shared calendar system to coordinate office logistics.
See how it works?
A job description like this does three things:
- It targets relevant organizational skills, specified by the employer.
- It describes your organizational skills in terms of achievements.
- It is ATS friendly because it uses the phrasing from the job ad.
We can still take it a step further.
Organizational Skills to Put on Resume—Key Skills Section
If you take another look at the job description above and take out the very essence of it, you’ll end up with a list that looks more or less like this:
- Attention to detail
- Office management
- Record keeping
- Stock inventory
To give more prominence to these organizational skills, put them in a separate key skills section.
This way they’ll not just truly stand out on your resume, but will be entirely justified by what you’ve put in the experience sections.
To sum up—
There are at least three ways in which you can display your strong organizational skills on a resume:
- By laying out your resume in a well-organized and easily-navigable manner.
- By identifying the organizational skills the employer listed in the job ad, and working them into your resume job description.
- By giving them extra prominence in the key skills section.
If you’re still not sure how to prepare your job description so that it incorporates all the relevant skills the employer is after, head straight to our guide: Work Experience on a Resume: Job Description Bullet Points Samples
Do you happen to be writing a resume for an administrative assistant? Well, we have a resume writing guide just for you: Administrative Assistant Resume Sample & Guide (20+ Examples)
Our resume builder (you can create your resume here) will give you tips and examples on how to write your resume summary or any other section. You can easily copy them straight into your resume - it will save you a ton of time.
Inside Zety's resume builder you will find tips and examples for your resume.
Organizational Skills—Interview Questions
Once your resume lands you the long-awaited job interview—
You need to be ready to answer interview question about your organizational skills.
What to expect?
Well, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
But before I tell you what exactly to expect and how to nail your answers, let’s take a closer look at a certain interviewing technique.
Have you heard of the so-called behavioral interview questions?
These are questions that refer to particular situations from your past work experience and whose aim is to learn how you coped with or behaved in that situation.
- Tell me about a time when you were involved in a stressful situation at work and how you handled it.
- Tell me about a situation when you succeeded in achieving a goal.
- Give me an example of a goal you failed to achieve.
In order to nail your answer, it’s best to stick to the so-called STAR structure. STAR is an acronym which stands for:
A good answer consists of all four elements:
You describe a situation where you were given a particular task related to the interviewer’s question. Then you explain the actions you undertook to cope with the task and discuss the results of your actions.
In the case of interview questions to determine your organizational skills, you may expect something like:
“Tell me about a situation when your planning skills and attention to detail made a difference.”
Here’s the promised good news—
The interview questions to assess your organizational skills will be based on your resume.
So, if you followed the steps outlined in the previous section:
You’ll know exactly what to expect.
Since your resume highlights your planning skills and attention to detail among others, well, expect the recruiter to be interested in these organizational skills in particular.
The only thing you need to do is to connect these skills to the achievements in your job description and structure your answer according to the STAR method.
Your answer could recount how your attention to detail and strong focus helped you review 100+ invoices and packing slips weekly to make sure all shipments are correct.
You can detail your process and tell the recruiter what steps you take to do the task efficiently. Maybe there was a moment when this task was particularly difficult to complete? How did you manage to get things right? If you failed, what did you learn?
As to your planning skills, focus on how the introduction of a shared calendar system helped you coordinate office logistics.
Tell the recruiter about the challenges you had before and how the calendar helped you deal with them.
The interview questions to test your organizational skills will not be random. They will be based on your resume and the requirements for the position.
If you’re still not sure how to cope with interview questions on organizational skills, read our guides:
How to Improve Organizational Skills
If someone tells you, you can’t learn organizational skills—
They're either lying or have no clue what they’re talking about.
After all, we’re not talking talents.
We’re talking skills.
And skills you can learn.
The first step is to realize you need to develop your organizational skills.
We can safely assume you’re past this stage.
So, without much further ado, here’s a list of resources you may find useful:
TED Talks—Organizational Skills
Tim Urban was once a self-proclaimed master procrastinator who realized that life is just too short to put things off. And came up with a brilliant way of getting organized.
Laura Vanderkam is a time-management expert. In her talk, she will teach you how to “build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.”
This short TED Lesson casts an entirely new perspective on scheduling. If you want to become the master of your time, this one is just for you.
As the title suggests, David Grady will show you a couple of ways in which you can make your meetings more effective.
Gina Trapani, author of “Upgrade Your Life,” will show you how to put simple to-do lists to good use to take better control of your time.
As a Product Designer, Paolo Cardini must work effectively and efficiently. In his talk, Paolo questions the value of multitasking, to encourage monotasking, that is doing one thing at a time.
Books on Organizational Skills
This book is not just about improving high school students’ time management and organizational skills, it’s for their parents as well.
This classic book by David Allen will help you get organized and get rid of stress.
Another classic. Stephen R. Covey teaches you how to maximize your effectiveness and efficiency.
Well, if you want to get a grip on yourself and make sure your organizational skills are second to none, learn how to do it from a former Navy SEAL. General McRaven's military experience can be universally applied to a lot of non-military contexts.
Want to nail your skills on a resume? Here’s our guide that’s just for you 99 Key Skills for a Resume (Best List of Examples for All Types of Jobs)
Organizational Skills—Training Online
If you’re seriously serious about honing your organizational skills, you might want to consider taking one of the online courses:
- Get Things Done: How To Organize Your Life And Take Action
- Master Organization: Your Digital & Physical Stuff Organized
- Improve Your Organizational Skills
- Developing Better Organizational Skills Course
- Organisational Skills Training Course
Try some of these apps to help you get organized:
- Tasks—this basic app will help you create and manage your to-do lists
- Wunderlist—a to-do list app on steroids, you can create multi-layered lists, collaborate with others, add files, and whatnot
- Google Calendar—the simplest way to keep track of your time
- Evernote—a versatile note-taking app. Its premium version offers some powerful features, such as Chrome integration or website clipping
- Google Keep—a simple note-taking app
- Todoist—this time-management app will help you get a grip on your daily or weekly goals
- Trello—a Kanban board on steroids with a lot of extra functionalities. It gives you an overview of what’s been done, what’s being worked on, and who’s doing what
Here’s a quick recap of what you need to know about organizational skills:
- Your organizational skills help you stay effective and efficient—both professionally and personally.
- Organizational skills are among the most desired skill sets by the employers.
- You can display your organizational skills on your resume in many different ways.
- If you get your resume right, you can easily prepare for your organizational skills interview questions and answers.
- There are many resources (online, books, apps, etc.) that can help you improve your organizational skills.
Do you have any questions about organizational skills? Maybe you’d like to share some tips on developing organizational skills? Give us a shout out in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you!