Organizational skills are the skills required to arrange people, things, or affairs so they are orderly and structured.
Being organized is a desirable skill in today’s workforce, especially for people who will be managing and overseeing tasks. Employers will therefore often ask you to demonstrate your organizational skills in an interview or on a resume.
Project managers, executive assistants, and accountants are examples of people who need to have strong organizational skills.
Examples of Organizational Skills
- Delegation – To delegate tasks properly, you need to have an organized understanding of who can do what task to what ability.
- Planning – Without prior planning, you may run out of time or do tasks in the wrong order, leading to organizational inefficiency.
- Prioritizing – An organized person has prioritized their tasks so they ensure the essentials get done.
- Goal Setting – By setting goals, you will have a clear idea of what you’re doing rather than muddling around from task to task in a confused manner.
- Compartmentalizing – Sometimes, we need to put tasks aside and focus. By compartmentalizing tasks or ideas, we can improve focus and have a clearer idea of what we’re doing at any one time.
- Documenting – Many workplaces need to document everything they do and save those documents for future reference. Without them, you will appear very disorganized.
- Researching – Without prior research, you will turn up to an interview, meeting, or project feeling very disorganized.
- Taking Inventory – In retail, regularly taking inventory of products is necessary in order for your workplace to stay organized. If you don’t know how much product you have, you’re liable to run out and end up in a panic.
- Record Keeping – This is an organizational skill everyone from lowly students to CEOs needs. Keep records of everything you do in order to review it and recollect at a later date. In an interview, explain your recordkeeping processes.
- Document Filing – People who have a process for filing documents lose them less and can more quickly gather them when needed.
- Time Management – Time management and organization go hand-in-hand. If you can’t manage your time, you’ll end up frantically trying to catch up right before deadlines.
- Aesthetic Organization – One way to show how organized you are is to ensure your resume is very well visually organized. Ensure it’s easy to read and follow with clear sections.
- Collating – Collating refers to strategically gathering things together that belong together. For example, you might collate a collection of quotes that fit well together for a vision board.
- Categorizing – If you place things into their correct categories, then you’ll be able to file and withdraw them efficiently. Everything has a place.
- Marshaling – Marshaling means arranging groups of people. For example, you might be good at marshaling your friends to go to a party on the weekend.
- Note Taking (Diary and Calendar) – If you take clear and consistent notes, you’ll be able to organize your thoughts and days better. For example, by effectively taking notes about upcoming meetings, you’ll be sure you don’t miss any.
- Reminding – The most organized person in an office is often reminding people about upcoming deadlines to ensure everyone turns up.
- Starting Early – One of the simplest secrets of being organized is to start early and finish early. This goes for assignments at university right up to projects at work.
- Creating Lists – Lists and checklists are a strategy that can be used to more effectively organize and plan.
- Project Management – One of the primary tasks of a project manager is to be able to organize and motivate teams.
- Overseeing – A manager who oversees a group of people needs to organize, delegate, and distribute tasks in the most efficient and productive way possible.
- Decluttering – Decluttering is a way to get more organized. It involves removing thngs that are redundant or don’t belong in order to only have the essentials or most important things available to you.
- Scheduling – Anyone who has done scheduling for their job can talk about how they went about scheduling in order to show how they organized groups of people.
- Auditing – Auditing involves taking stock of a situation. Generally, an audit identifies ways to more effectively organize tasks. For example, a tax auditor would identify ways to more effectively organize recepits and invoices.
- Timetabling – Creating a timetable can help you to remember, plan, and structure your time. For example, a student who creates a college timetable will be able to plan study sprints for upcoming exams.
Why are Organizational Skills required in the Workplace?
As businesses grow, they need to employ people who can keep the booming organization structured. Without organizers within a company, the business will lose track of supplies and revenues.
Employers want to know they can employ someone who can organize their own time and projects efficiently so the assigned tasks will get done. Managers can’t spend all day hovering over your shoulder making sure you’re doing things well.
Furthermore, without organizers, multi-person projects will end up falling into disarray. When working in teams, you need someone in the team to organize the group. You may also assign group roles for people to arrange other aspects of the task such as keeping inventory and time management.
Why are Organizational Skills Required for Students?
Students need good organizational skills in order to succeed at university.
Situations when organizational skills wil come in useful include:
- Planning your week – In today’s world, students are regularly juggling university studies with another job and even a family. In order to make it through the week in one piece, you’ll likely need to be well organized from Day 1.
- Planning study sessions – Often, exams and assignment due dates are all stacked up in the last two weeks of semester. This means you’ll need to be organized. Study well in advance and create a schedule for when you’ll study for each subject.
- During study sessions – An organized student will think before they sit down to study. They will make sure they have their water bottle and notepad by their side while ensuring their phone and other distractions are a long way away.
- Group projects – Teachers assign group projects to students in order to help them develop teamwork, collaboration, communication, and organizational skills. You will need to organize your groups so each person knows what they’re doing and when they need to share it with the group.
- Taking Notes – When taking notes in class, you need a note-taking method. A famous method is the cornell notes where you have various spaces on the page to place notes of different types. This helps to recall information quickly when revising.
Good Jobs for people with Organizational Skills
- Project Management Professional – A PMP’s job is all abour organizing. You’ll have to organize people and tasks in order to ensure a project is completed in a timely and productive manner.
- Supervisor – A supervisor oversees a worksite. They may need to create a schedule to organize who works on what days. They may also need to assign roles and tasks, take inventory, and even plan out their own days to ensure everything gets done.
- Teacher – If a teacher isn’t organized when they start their day, there will be trouble! The teacher needs to have all of their lesson plans thought-out before the day begins. They’ll also need to know exactly where all the resources are in order to take them out when needed. And I haven’t even mentioned all the organizational skills teachers need to manage a group of 25 children!
- Accountant or Bookkeeper – Accountants and bookkeepers have the job of ensuring the finances of a company are well organized.
- Executive Assistant – An executive assistant needs to organize the professional life of a company executive. They may need to book flights and meetings as well as keeping the executive’s email inbox sorted and orderly.
Examples of Organizational Skills on a Resume
- Successfully oversaw the inbox management for a Fortune 500 executive including filtering, sorting, and prioritizing inbound mail.
- Conducted an audit of online document filing procedures in a 10-person team and streamlined processes to increase storage efficiency.
- Reorganized departments in a 150-person office to more effectively compartmentalize projects to achieve greater focus and role transparency.
- Oversaw scheduling for a team of 10 retail staff to ensure the shop floor was well-staffed at all times and customers had timely support.
- Implemented a cloud-based web platform (ClickUp) to improve communications between teams of remote staff members.
Related Resume Skills
To show you have strong organizational skills to a potential employer, talk about specific instances when you have relied on organizational skills to get a job done efficiently and productively.
Students can talk about when they have organized themselves to ensure they succeed at college or times they have implmented strategies to get groupwork completed in an orderly manner. People with employment history may be able to talk about times when they have implemented strategies to keep their workplace organized and structured.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.