Have you ever noticed how hard it is to become productive when you are trying really hard to be productive? But then, something clicks in your brain and you get into your working groove. To some, it may appear as a strike of “inspiration”. But in reality, those are just your self-management skills.
What are Self-Management Skills?
Self-management skills indicate your ability to autonomously manage your workflow, personal efficiency, and productivity.
People with strong self-management skills require fewer external naggers (like an impending deadline) to kick into a productive mode and get the job done. Such employees have an in-built sense of accountability and can create effective personal routines to whizz through all the assigned work.
Likewise, people with good self-management skills are tempered with their emotions and can remain tactful, professional, and composed even under pressure.
As Berkley University notes:
Self-management is the ability to navigate and shift in a healthy way one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to make decisions and reach goals that benefit oneself and others.
To provide you with some extra context, here are several self-management skills examples you probably recognize in yourself:
- Ability to make realistic to-do lists and stick with them
- Task prioritization, based on the urgency/importance levels
- Ability to stave off emotions and de-stress after a taxing day
- Perseverance and resilience in the face of challenges
All of these attributes indicate your ability to “course-correct” on your own, instead of waiting upon some direction.
Why are Self-Management Skills Important?
Productivity is a fickle state of mind we can’t achieve without the ability to properly regulate our actions and emotions. When we need to get things done, we are mostly driven by extrinsic motivation – an external factor such as a reward for our effort or fear of punishment for the lack of it.
But as numerous studies have proved, our internal self-motivation (intrinsic motivation) is a far more potent medium. One workplace study suggests that intrinsic motivation helps us maintain high performance levels over the long term.
In other words – your ability to self-manage your actions (and emotions) has a direct impact on your personal productivity, work performance, and happiness levels.
That’s why cultivating self-management skills is so important. Plus, they also make you a more attractive prospect to hire.
Why Do Employers Typically Hire People They Believe to Have Strong Self-Management Skills?
Most roles today assume a high degree of autonomy, especially in the wake of remote work. That’s why employers seek out people with high levels of personal accountability and efficiency, capable of working alone and as a group. Also, much of the work done today is creative. Meaning a pure directive to “do this or that” isn’t enough to make progress. A lot of self-management sub-skills assume independence in thinking and this often prompts such employees to take initiative, pitch innovative ideas, and cultivate a growth mindset.
Self-Management Skills List for Resume
Therefore, it’s best to communicate them as your inclination to:
- Effectively manage your commitments and time
- Stay motivated and eager to learn new things
- Manage your emotional response to different events
Below is a list of resume keywords you can use to elaborate on your self-management skills.
1. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) indicates your ability to self-regulate emotional responses and show consideration when interacting with others. This skill includes both:
- Your personal ability to recognize and manage different emotions (to prevent them from driving your actions.
- Your social skills and the ability to handle other people’s emotions.
Some good indicators of high Emotional Intelligence include strong listening skills, empathy, self-awareness, ability to accept criticism, and constructive feedback.
Adaptability is another in-demand skill, up to 70% of hiring managers screen for. Why? Because as the recent event has taught us, sweeping changes can happen in a matter of months. That’s why employers want people who can grapple with the change fast and stay flexible in their thinking and actions.
You can mention “adaptability” as a skill on your resume, contextualize it with an example in your cover letter – and then practice your replies to common adaptability interview questions (these are a “norm” these days!).
3. Time Management
Good time management is the pillar to personal effectiveness. Without understanding how you spend your workdays, you’ll struggle to make realistic commitments and deliver on the set deadlines.
The best way to illustrate your time management skills on a resume is by providing an example of how you make the clock work for you.
For example, as an administrative assistant you can write that:
- “Developed an improved document management workflow, which cut contract acceptance times by 20%.”
Or you can mention your go-to time management technique such as time-blocking or rapid planning method.
Prioritization is another core skill you need to master to always be atop of your game. At every job, you’ll get bombarded with “ASAP” requests. But everything can’t be a priority at all times.
Therefore, most employers expect you to know how to prioritize different tasks on your agenda (even if each of them comes with an “urgent” tag).
Similar to time management, you can either include “prioritization” as a skill you exercise a lot in your role. Then contextualize it via an example or an accomplishment.
5. Psychological Resilience
Psychological resilience (also known as mental resilience) is your ability to recover quickly from a crisis or return to your pre-crisis level of functioning. A “crisis”, in this case, can stand for a minor issue with the client, an unpleasant encounter with a colleague, or some unfortunate personal news.
Many customer-service jobs – from hotel front-desk managers to flight attendance – come with a code of conduct (formal or informal) about displaying emotions at work. Meaning that you are expected to act in a certain way despite any personal issues that may be troubling you. That’s mainly because positive employee emotional responses are directly tied to better company perception and customer satisfaction.
One study also concluded that inappropriate emotional displays can forfeit the success chances of negotiation and hinder the goals of a team.
For the above reasons, employers highly value candidates who can remain composed and content even under emotional pressure.
6. Stress Management
While mental resilience indicates your ability to contain and suppress emotions, stress management shows how well you can cope with the mounting pressures.
Some roles come with a higher range of responsibilities, the fast pace of work, and long hours. All of these, paired with day-to-day interactions with others, can boost your stress levels. Though many employers attempt to implement corporate wellness policies, many also expect you to be well-capable of managing your stress levels yourself.
If you are applying for a demanding job, one of the best places to highlight your stress management skills is your resume summary. For example, as a PR professional you can put something like this:
“Veteran PR professional (15+ years of experience), specializing in crisis communication and PR campaigns for Pharma companies. Capable of producing fast results under demanding circumstances, good in stress management (for myself and others), proven track of reversing reputational damage”.
Personal accountability is a sense of “ownership” you develop over certain tasks. You understand the importance of completing them because others depend on you. Also, you aren’t afraid to call out others on their responsibilities to make sure that everyone’s playing their part.
Accountability is important skill employers want to see both in executives and at lower-level positions as it shows that you can be trusted to do the right thing at all times.
8. Self Motivation
Getting into the work mood can be tough, especially when your spirits are down at the end of a long, challenging week. But that’s when your self-motivation kicks in – your internal “cheerleader”, rallying you to get back on track and make the final push.
Employers value people with strong self-motivation skills as they can remain engaged and satisfied with the job without constant external validation and praise. Self-motivators also tend to be more productive and have better performance levels, compared to those driven by extrinsic rewards.
9. Problem Solving
Finally, you can’t be a good self-manager without strong problem-solving skills. Why? Because in your independent work you’ll often have to deal with various complexities, blockers, and other work constraints. And your ability to overcome them on your own affects your productivity levels.
If you want to best represent your problem-solving skills in the context of self-management you can mention that you:
- Excel in problem prevention
- Have strong anticipatory management skills
- Seeking new ideas and approaches
- Have a strong sense of inquiry/curiosity
Other Self-Management Skills To Mention on Your Resume
- Personal efficiency
- Change management
- Schedule management
- Task management
- Personal productivity tracking
- Consistent performance
- Performance management
Need even more ideas? Check out previous posts:
- 6 organizational skills to highlight on your resume
- 6 types of administrative skills employers look for
- 5 groups of management skills to add to your resume
To Conclude: How Can I Improve My Self-Management Skills?
Self-management includes a range of soft and hard skills. So first, you need to determine which aspect of them you’d like to fix. For example, if you struggle with personal productivity, try some new time management techniques or get a personal productivity tool. If you are struggling with emotional management, have a session with a licensed coach or therapist. Finally, there are plenty of online courses out there, offering to teach you all sorts of task management, prioritization, and productivity tips.
Remember: self-management isn’t a skill you were born with – it’s a personal attribute you can develop if you put in some work!