Stay one step ahead of your workload with these core talents!
Are the tasks stacking up faster than you can manage them? Do you lie in bed wondering how you're going to get everything done before that next big deadline? If you're struggling to stay on top of your workload - despite it being objectively manageable - sharpening your organisational skills is one solution you can try.
We all fall behind from time to time. Whether you're working from home, hybrid, or in the office, getting stuff done can be challenging. One in ten British workers currently feel “unproductive” according to a 2023 study from RingCentral. If you don't have a solid system in place, keeping up with the ever-growing demands of modern work is hard.
It should come as no surprise that recruiters value organisational skills. Having the ability to manage your workload and stay on top of things is a real advantage. So, what exactly are these skills and how can you make sure that you possess them? In the following guide, we'll take a look at the top organisational skills and how to develop them.
What are organisational skills?
It's all in the name… Organisational skills are the talents that you use to organise your workload. These skills allow you to meet deadlines, collaborate with others, and keep your workflow moving at a steady rate. While they tend to fall firmly into the “soft skills” category, you shouldn't overlook the importance that they have to hiring managers.
As we'll cover shortly, there's a wide selection of organisational skills that you may already have. These range from having excellent communication and time management to knowing how to best delegate your workload. While some people are naturally organised, other people have to work a little harder to establish a system that works for them.
Why are organisational skills important?
Scatty, unorganised workers need not apply. Yes, the modern working world is increasingly fast-paced. That means that everyone needs to pull their weight and complete their tasks in order to keep things moving. Think of the company as a finely tuned machine - if one of the cogs is turning too slowly, the whole thing grinds to a halt. For that reason, recruiters want to see that you've got a solid set of organisational skills up front.
Having strong organisational skills will set you apart from the crowd for all the right reasons. If you can aptly demonstrate these on your CV and in an interview scenario, you'll be putting yourself in a prime position. Once a hiring manager recognises that you have these skills, they're sure to slide your name to the top of their candidate list.
11 of the top organisational skills: examples
Now that you understand why organisational skills are important, let's take a look at some examples. Chances are, you already have a few of these core traits in your arsenal. What's more, should you find that you lack any of the skills we cover, you can develop them. With that in mind, here are 11 of the most high-value organisational skills out there.
You can walk the walk, but can you talk the talk? If you want to stay on top of your workload, you need to communicate well with other staff members. A failure to understand them could mean that you don't know when deadlines are, have no clue when they will finish their tasks, and generally have to “wing it.” Avoid problems by honing this skill.
Communication is one of the main people skills you need. While some people are natural-born communicators, others find it difficult to get their point across and understand others. If you fall into the latter category, it's important to work on this skill-set.
It's not merely about what you or others say. You might have heard the frequently-quoted statistic that more than 50% of communication is nonverbal. It's true. The way in which you carry yourself, your body language, your facial expressions, and your tone of voice all play their role in the message you convey. Working on every area of your communication can help you to better understand people, work with them, and organise your mutual tasks.
Do you get stumped when facing a big decision? If you're slow to take action when it comes to choices, it could be hard to keep moving forward. As the old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. The same is true when it comes to deciding how to complete a certain task. You may have many options in front of you.
So that you can stay organised and productive, you need the ability to make swift decisions that benefit the whole team. That means weighing up the options on the table and deciding which one will be the most efficient. You need to have a high-level of confidence in your own judgement here, which often comes with years of experience.
3. Software competency
It's 2023 and there are no end of technological solutions to your organisational woes. If you want to stay on track, there are many different apps and programs you can use. You've got Asana, Monday, Trello, and Clickup for workflow management. Then there's Evernote, OneNote, and Notion for note-taking. You've also got the iOS Reminders app or Microsoft ToDo, to ensure that you don't miss important tasks. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Of course, to use these apps and programs, you're going to need a level of software competency. The ability to not only use some of the software we've listed but also to learn how to use new software is essential. Having at least a baseline understanding of technology means that you can use all or any of the above when organising your work.
What is it that drives you forward? How do you find that inner spark of motivation? If you can motivate yourself - rather than being motivated by external factors - it's a huge bonus for hiring managers. Knowing that the team will have what it takes to work without needing too much managerial encouragement is sure to be a load off their mind.
Consider what it is that motivates you to work hard. You might find that it's something as simple as the satisfaction of a job well done. On the other hand, some people find motivation by giving themselves rewards along the way. Whatever it happens to be that keeps you on track, you can use it to get more things done during the work day.
5. Time management
Time management is one of the most important organisational skills. You might have the best-laid plans in the world, but they're useless if you can't stick to a schedule. When people don't have a proper time management system in place, they can end up missing deadlines, letting coworkers down, and generally getting behind with their work tasks.
If that sounds like a familiar scenario, you need to do something about it. When you've got on top of your everyday time management, it should be easy to deal with tasks as they come in. It means dedicating time to your existing workload but allowing some space too. That way, should an unexpected job crop up, as they always seem to, you'll be ready.
6. Attention to detail
Having good organisational skills means you have a keen eye for detail. If you're the type of person who rushes through your to-do list and barely pays attention, you're missing a trick. Sure, you might appear to be uber productive, but you're likely to make silly mistakes. It could be as simple as misreading a deadline and putting the wrong date into your calendar. That means that you'll be working towards a completely different day.
Before you know it, you'll get a message from your manager asking you where your work is. If you haven't started it - thanks to that thoughtless mishap - you're going to end up with egg on your face. Slowing down and paying more attention is the key here.
7. Prioritisation skills
Let's say you have 20 micro-tasks to complete this week. You might have to reply to some important emails, set up a shared calendar, and order new supplies, to name but a few things on your list. How do you decide which one to do first? If there's no hierarchy to your everyday duties, you may find it challenging to know where you should begin. Since every task seems as important as the next, you'll start to feel overwhelmed by them.
The ability to prioritise is one of the biggest organisational skills and yet it's often overlooked. There are countless approaches that you can take here and it's about figuring out which one works for you. For example, you may use an app or software to help you along the way. Alternatively, you may want to make a list and put numbers next to each task.
You can leave your cape and mask at home; you're not a superhero. You don't have to do every minute task yourself. One of the best organisational skills you can learn is that of delegation. Now, ask yourself the following: are there duties that you can pass down the line?
If the answer is yes, start making a habit out of this. Minimising your workload, and eliminating tasks that you can outsource, means that you can pay closer attention to the core of your job role. In the long run, that means that you'll produce better quality work.
9. Goal setting
It's time to drag out the question that everybody hates: where do you see yourself in five years? While that tired interview question has the power to make your stomach clench, it's worth keeping in the back of your mind. The truth is, we all need to set ourselves goals.
If you want to get ahead in work and keep organised, looking at the bigger picture will help. All of the small tasks you do on a daily basis are stepping stones towards your final destination. Start setting yourself both long-term and short-term goals now.
10. Strategic thinking
When it comes to organisational skills examples, it would be a crime to leave out strategic thinking. This ability allows you to see into the future and predict how things will go down. That means that you can make a plan that will produce the results that the company needs. It may involve using analytics, noticing patterns, and coming up with solutions.
How well do you work with others? When you're part of a wider team, this should be one of your main organisational skills. Working efficiently alone is one thing. However, if you want to make sure that the company reaches its targets, you need to be pulling in the same direction as other workers. If you haven't already, you should hone this skill.
Improving your ability to collaborate means working on your communication (see our first organisational skills example!), fostering good interpersonal skills, and understanding other people's roles. When you can do all of that, you should find that working with other people is more straightforward than it once was. Remember: you're all on the same team.
Where to include organisational skills on your CV
Okay, so you've identified a ton of organisational skills that you already have. But wait, how can you share them on your CV? The obvious solution is to cram them into your skills section. However, this is a mistake. Stating that you have “good communication skills” is not enough. The wisdom here is to show a recruiter what you can do, not just tell them.
Instead, you can pepper your CV with hints and references to the skills that we've mentioned. For instance, you might talk about how your communication skills helped you to successfully work on a team project within the bullet points of your experience section.
Your professional profile is also a good place to highlight your organisational skills. Pick one of the above to include in this freeform section and remember to show your working. You might say that you have “great time management skills leading to a 36% increase in productivity,” for example. Be as specific as you can when demonstrating these skills.
How to improve your organisational skills
Looking for ways to improve your organisational skills? There are plenty of opportunities that you may want to look into. Here are some of the approaches you may choose to take:
Organisational training. Some companies offer in-house organisational training or courses. If your company has this type of opportunity, don't be afraid to take it up. On the other hand, you can look for online courses to do in your own time.
Prioritise planning time. If possible, set aside around 10 minutes each morning to plan the rest of your day. You can use this time to prioritise your task list, prepare for the work day, and delegate any duties that you can afford to outsource.
Diary management. Want to get on top of your work? Ensuring that you manage your diary in a way that works for you is the way to go. That may mean slotting in tasks by time, colour-coding your priorities list, or blocking out periods.
Give yourself rewards. Finding it hard to get your work done? If the paycheck at the end of the month isn't enough to motivate you, look for additional boosts. Giving yourself small rewards along the way may be helpful. For example, you could have a coffee after finishing your emails or go for a quick walk after you complete a task.
Declutter your workspace. It's hard to stay organised if your desk is a mess. When was the last time you cleared up? If it's been a while and the pens and paper are stacking up, do something about it. Spend a few minutes tidying up this space. When your workspace is clean, you may find it easier to think clearly.
Organisational skills are the cornerstone of a successful worker. Making sure that you develop these talents and show them off could accelerate your career. Now that you're well-versed in each of them, why not look into the ways that you can enhance them? That may mean further training, independent work, or collaborating with your manager on this mission.
Are you looking for a new job? Submit your CV for a free CV review to ensure that you're presenting all of your skills in the most impactful way.