What exactly 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 they're so important at work, and how to put them on your resume. You’ll also find a list of inspiring resources to help you improve your organizational skills as well.
One of our users, Nikos, had this to say:
[I used] a nice template I found on Zety. My resume is now
one page long, not three. With the same stuff.
Learn more about listing all kinds of skills on a resume in our guide:
Best Job Skills to Put on a Resume
1 What Are Organizational Skills?
Organizational skills are the abilities that let you stay focused on different tasks, and use your time, energy, strength, mental capacity, physical space, etc. effectively and efficiently 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)
2 Organizational Skills—Examples
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. It's one of the
soft skills you'll bring with you to any position. And it's featured as an important employability skill for any employer.
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. You have the right set of
hard skills but without strong organizational skills, your productivity plummets. That's why both hard skills and soft skills matter in order to be a top-notch employee.
Here's a closer look at organisational skills:
Organizational Skills in the Workplace and for a Resume
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 manner to be sure your message is understood. This means your
communication skills and active listening skills must be up to par to achieve success in 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 while boosting your
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. It also shows you have a strong set of interpersonal skills.
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 building your
project management skills and developing strong problem-solving skills when something doesn't go as planned.
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
analytical skills you can adopt a methodical approach to solving problems. Here’s a list of some of the most important mental organizational skills:
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:
Filing Office management Record keeping Stock inventory
Time management Time management is 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.
3 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:
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 Documenting Office management Planning 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.
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)
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check?
Check. Start building a . professional resume template here for free
When you’re done,
will score your resume and tell you Zety’s resume builder exactly how to make it better.
4 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:
Situation Task Action Result
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:
5 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.
And skills you
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:
Watch TED Talks centred around developing organisational skills
Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator
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.
How to Gain Control of Your Free Time
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.”
How to Manage Your Time More Effectively (According to Machines)
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.
How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings
As the title suggests, David Grady will show you a couple of ways in which you can make your meetings more effective.
Time Management: How to Write a To-Do List & Know Where Your Time Goes
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.
Forget Multitasking, Try Monotasking
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.
Read books on organizational skills
Time Management & Organizational Skills for Students
This book is not just about improving high school students’ time management and organizational skills, it’s for their parents as well.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
This classic book by David Allen will help you get organized and get rid of stress.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Another classic. Stephen R. Covey teaches you how to maximize your effectiveness and efficiency.
Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World
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.
Join some online classes
seriously serious about honing your organizational skills, you might want to consider taking one of the online courses:
Try some of these apps to help you get organized:
Try organizational skills apps
Tasks—this basic app will help you create and manage your to-do lists 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
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our
Here's what it may look like: cover letter builder here.
cover letter templates and start writing. Key Takeaways
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!