Being organised can help you minimise stress, ensure timely completion of work and carry your out day-to-day activities without facing issues. As a result, it is one of the most important skills an employer looks for in a candidate. You can develop these skills through a dedicated plan and self-discipline. In this article, we define and provide examples of organisational skills and discuss how to highlight and improve them.
What are organisational skills?
Organisational skills are competencies that help you structure, order and prioritise tasks in your everyday life. When you remain systematic in the workplace, you can efficiently manage your time and workspace and complete your tasks before the deadline. Employees with this skill set have excellent communication skills, analytical thinking and time management skills.
Examples of organisational skills
Here are a few examples of the different types of organisational skills that you should master:
Physical organisational skills
Employees with this skill set always keep their workspace (physical and digital) neat and functional. They also have good work habits and a strong work ethic. These skills are important because a cluttered desk or desktop invites trouble and results in physical discomfort and wastage of time. Planned work habits improve efficiency and increase your productivity. For example, when attending a meeting, you can showcase this skill by taking notes, maintaining a record of these notes and storing them in a designated place for future reference.
Effective time management is when you use your time efficiently to complete your work, maintain a work-life balance and accomplish your goals. In your workplace, you can create a to-do list of all your tasks based on their urgency and importance. Always complete the most important and urgent tasks before moving forward with other less important tasks. Additionally, being organised can help you avoid the urge to multitask and you can batch similar tasks together. Employers look for candidates with time management skills because they focus their time and energy on where it matters the most.
An organised person knows how and when to delegate tasks to others. Instead of managing excess workload and getting overwhelmed, you can assign one or two tasks to your team members. An essential aspect of delegation is understanding which team member is most qualified for a particular job. When you delegate the right task to the right person, you increase your team's productivity.
The ability to interpret information and draw logical conclusions requires mastery of organisational skills. Often, employees have to follow a systematic approach to analyse the root cause of a problem. Employers look for people who can think logically and find a solution to recurring problems without causing a delay in the project timeline.
Employees who are systematic always follow an orderly procedure and are highly productive because they plan out their time and resources well. For the success of any project, strategic planning is critical. Planning helps you decide what resources are necessary, how to allocate them and what steps you should take in high-pressure situations. Some examples of strategic planning include maintaining a calendar, creating a to-do list, using time tracking apps and scheduling important meetings. With strategic planning, you can create a schedule of your work and accomplish your goals on time.
Setting SMART goals is an essential skill to master. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. Employees who follow a systematic process set their personal and professional goals and work hard to achieve them.
Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples
Ability to work under pressure
Performing well under high-pressure situations is a quality that distinguishes an excellent employee from an average one. Unexpected situations and unprecedented circumstances may require you to take a quick decision. When you are methodical in your approach, it helps you stay focused. Also, you remain calm because you plan your time and resources to overcome the problem.
How to highlight your organisational skills
Employers look for these skills during the hiring process. They either ask behavioural questions targeted at your skill set or search for certain keywords in your CV. Here are three ways to highlight your skills during the hiring process:
1. In your CV
The way you format and present your CV showcases a lot about your physical organisational skills. Make sure your CV is error-free, well-formatted and follows a logical order as it shows the employer that you are systematic, attentive and have the skills to present information.
When writing your CV, use keywords like “multitasking”, “meeting deadlines” and "managing resources” or any other skills mentioned explicitly in the job description. Use these words either in the skills section or mention them in your employment history to make your CV applicant tracking system (ATS) compliant.
When writing the past employment section of your CV, use the following example as an inspiration:
XYZ Ltd | Project Manager | June 2017-July 2020
- Managed a team of 20+ employees
- Worked with C-level executives to develop goals for the project
- Met 100% deadlines and project goals throughout the project life cycle
- Set deadlines, allocated budgets and worked across different teams to ensure no team was under-resourced
- Regularly communicated progress and project timelines to all stakeholders
2. In your profile summary
As you do it on your CV, try using keywords from the job posting. You can use action verbs to express your proficiency in a particular skill. Additionally, to make your profile summary stand out, mention keywords like “reliable”, “goal-setter” and “task-oriented”. When writing your profile summary, use the following example as an inspiration:
“Task-oriented project manager with 8 years of experience working in Agile framework with a leading IT company. Possess strong analytical thinking and can lead a team to success by meeting project deadlines.”
3. In your interview
When you come early for the interview, dress neatly and ask relevant questions, you successfully portray your physical organisational skills to the employer. Also, your interview is a great place to demonstrate your ability to communicate and showcase your skill set. So, always try to use the STAR technique to answer interview questions.
Use the following example as an inspiration when answering interview questions:
“In my previous job, I scheduled various events and client meetings because the company was expanding and my manager wanted to increase the number of events and meetings. Using various online tools and Microsoft Excel, I created a system where booking, scheduling and conducting meetings were easy. This impressed my manager and he suggested my name for quarterly promotions, and I received a promotion bonus.”
How to improve your organisational skills
Here are four steps to improve your skills:
1. Make a to-do list
You can follow a systematic approach at the workplace by creating a to-do list of the tasks that require completion and the tasks you are currently working on. You can create a list using a digital app. However, remember to update it every time you complete a task. You can even assign deadlines for every task you have to complete. This helps you stay on track and allows you to complete your projects based on priority.
2. Stick to your schedule
Another way to remain systematic is by creating and sticking to a schedule. You can use a digital or physical calendar to plan your daily, weekly and monthly schedules. If there are many time-consuming tasks on your list, you can break up your schedule into hour-long increments. For example:
9.00 a.m.: Reply to emails and attend the daily meeting
10.00 a.m.: Meeting with stakeholders
11.30 a.m.: Create 10 years corporate strategy
In your schedule, allot time for coffee breaks or a short walk to refresh your brain. You can leave a few open time slots in your schedule to fit any unexpected assignment that you may have to complete.
3. Communicate with team members
To sharpen your skills, regularly communicate with your team members. With communication, you can share information with the team in an effective and timely manner. Strong communication skills remove the scope of miscommunication and ensure everything follows a logical order. Also, to increase coordination in the workplace, you should improve your verbal and nonverbal communication.
4. Reward yourself
The ability to plan your activities efficiently requires a lot of motivation. Therefore, build a reward system and treat yourself with something you love on completing a task as per the schedule. Rewarding yourself motivates you to perform and complete each project without missing deadlines. This creates a positive work environment and encourages you to follow an orderly procedure for everything you do.