Multitasking as a skill- Definition, Importance, Pros & Cons, and more


Fri, 08/12/2022 - 13:45

The highly desired skill that employers look for in their candidates is the ability to multitask. Your resume is an excellent place to discuss your multitasking abilities since it serves as an employer’s first impression of you. Learn how to describe your multitasking abilities on a resume and how to strengthen them.

What are multitasking skills?

Focusing on one task while keeping track of others is termed multitasking. In the workplace, Multitasking typically entails swiftly completing several tasks one after another while switching back and forth between them. An excellent example of multitasking is taking the phone in a busy reception area while greeting people or responding to emails.

Importance of Multitasking Skill

Your ability to multitask will help to hire managers quickly determine that you possess the necessary traits for the position. To demonstrate your skills and detail how you have applied them in your previous workspace, you can list your multitasking skill in several places in your resume. When hiring managers look over your resume, they can easily see that you have the necessary skill to multitask well and have done so in your past roles.

Examples of multitasking skills

To be a more productive professional, you should develop various skills, including multitasking. The most specific skills needed for multitasking are listed below.

  1. Organization

Knowing precisely what tasks you need to complete and when to complete them is essential for effective multitasking. Keeping track of your tasks requires organizing your day, week, and month. Maintain order in your workspace and quickly locate any documents you need. Similarly, set up your computer system and files to make it simple to find and access your documents.

  1. Prioritization

To manage your time effectively, prioritization is the skill of evaluating your obligations and classifying tasks according to importance. Setting priorities might entail finishing the simplest tasks and devoting the remainder of your time to more significant, trickier projects. It could also imply starting with the tasks requiring the least amount of time and moving on to the more important ones. No matter how you decide to prioritize, being able to make the most of your time by establishing order is a necessary skill for efficient multitasking.

  1. Scheduling

Planning your schedule will help you stay on and accomplish your goals. It is the capacity to take challenging circumstances and divide them into doable tasks with set deadlines. You can choose where you can multitask to stay on schedule by planning your daily activities and leaving room for unforeseen charges.

  1. Delegation

When you delegate, you enlist the aid of others to complete tasks on time. When you delegate, you typically give team members smaller jobs so you can concentrate on those that are more important. Scheduling and prioritization are closely related to delegation. Knowing when your workload is sufficient and upholding boundaries help you manage your time while multitasking.

How to Demonstrate Your Skills

If you noticed a job description has clearly mentioned that they are looking for candidates who possess strong multitasking skills, then it is a good idea to sit down before your interview and identify some instances.

List all the instances where you have had to multitask in your previous jobs. If you’re a recent college graduate, look for examples of when you managed multiple priorities as a part of your coursework.

Once you have two or three examples, you know you can elaborate upon them, and you’ll be more than prepared to show your interviewers that you are the multitasking rock star they seek.

Mentioning multitasking skills on your resume

  • Greeting guests in a busy reception area and answering the phone.
  • Cooking five different meal orders at once.
  • Creating a new website while maintaining the existing websites.
  • Disciplining a student who is misbehaving while teaching a lesson
  • Driving a bus while calming down an abusive passenger
  • Scheduling employees while overseeing their workloads
  • Managing multiple social media accounts while working on email marketing duties
  • Tracking aircraft movements and directing them
  • Refining a press release while finalizing the specifics for a promotional event
  • Giving complaints in a customer service office priority
  • Taking notes while answering patient’s calls on the button
  • Prioritizing patients in the emergency room
  • Improving computer software programs while attending to internal user’s needs
  • Processing closing documents for different real estate transactions
  • In a dental office, processing insurance paperwork, setting up appointments, welcoming clients, and taking phone calls
  • Working on three different software development projects that are all at different stages of completion
  • Managing portfolios during a market downturn while fielding calls from distressed investors
  • Preparing a lecture, creating a grant proposal, interacting with advice who drop in, and advising the committee chair
  • Putting together a sales presentation while handling a customer complaint simultaneously
  • Revision of the performance evaluation process while responding to inquiries from employees regarding benefits
  • Serving drinks, settling accounts, taking orders, and delivering food to customers while it’s still hot.
  • Finding a replacement for an absent employee while writing a performance review and taking a call from the boss
  • Drafting a remodeling project proposal while making subcontractor arrangements.

Where Multitasking Matters

Imagine yourself in the position of a controller for air traffic. With short runways and no room for error, constantly changing plane schedules are met. Numerous instant decisions that influence one another must be made. Regardless of how you define multitasking, you require it.

Below mentioned are the top ten jobs that require multitasking according:

  • Airline pilots, co-pilots, and flight engineers
  • Air traffic controllers
  • Forest firefighters
  • Ship pilots
  • Firefighting and prevention supervisors
  • Bus drivers
  • Locomotive engineers
  • Ship and boat captains
  • Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
  • Motorboat operators

Research from the University of North Texas states that, when it comes to more general job categories, “Business, Management, and Administration,” “Finance,” and “Human Services” are the professions clusters that demand the most demanding multitasking abilities.

Pros and Cons of Multitasking

Here are the pros of multitasking:

•             Saves time

The ability to combine different tasks while multitasking can help you save time. For instance, instead of taking handwritten notes and later typing a final copy, you could type the minutes while you’re still in the meeting. The time it takes to complete tasks and projects can increases if they are completed one at a time. By juggling multiple tasks, you might finish them faster and have more time for other things.

•             Saves money

There are several ways that multitasking can help you save money. You can eliminate the need to hire someone to perform the extra tasks by performing several tasks simultaneously. Having workers who can multitask frequently results in lower organizational costs for salaries and other employee benefits. For instance, if workers excel at operating machinery and providing excellent customer service, they can manage the front desk by addressing client concerns and running the switchboard.

•             Increases productivity

Productivity can be increased by multitasking. An organization is more likely to accomplish more than those unable to multitask if it has several employees who can do so successfully. This method of working may reduce the amount of time needed for tasks and projects. Employees who are more adept at multitasking may also be productive at home, enabling them to finish tasks more quickly and have more downtime after a long day at work. Professionals who can do this may experience less stress and produce better work the following day.

•             Prevents procrastination

You may be more productive and waste less time if you multitask. Multitasking allows workers who create a daily to-do list to check off more items, which is another powerful motivator. By keeping your mind occupied with other tasks, multitasking can keep you alert and help you avoid distractions.

•             Increases brain power

The brain needs constant engagement, just like the body needs exercise. One way to keep your brain active and increases your brainpower is to multitask. Continuously challenging the brain while multitasking can boost your mental endurance. As you get better at multitasking, your brain is better able to manage multiple tasks at once. Because of this, multitasking is a skill that anyone can learn, regardless of the level of experience.

•             Works through distractions

Although technology has made tasks easier, it has also brought about a lot of distractions. For instance, you might have to update the company’s social media accounts in the morning and read and respond to official emails. You might experience interruptions due to notifications on your phone during this process. You can switch between the two tasks despite the distractions if you can multitask. The ability to work through distraction is crucial, given distraction is crucial, given the distraction that professionals experience at work.

•             Allows for steady work progress

Even if the progress is slow, multitasking makes it possible to move tasks, projects, and assignments closer to completion. Most of the time, slow progress is preferable to a stalled task. This is crucial for projects that require the completion of concurrent or subsequent tasks before moving on to the next stage or tasks with a shared deadline.

•             Develops resilience

Regular multitasking may result in ongoing pressure to complete tasks. Working under a pressure to complete tasks. Working in a demanding environment strengthens your resilience and problem-solving skills. If you’re used to these types of environments, you might improve at managing stress and extend the limits of your patience.

•             Increases employability

Since most employers want to hire employees who can handle several tasks simultaneously, multitasking can handle several tasks simultaneously, multitasking can help you stand out as an applicant. A recruiter may be more drawn to you if you highlight in your resume your multitasking abilities and demonstrate how you have applied them in real-world scenarios. Excellent multitasking abilities might help you keep your job during a company restructuring.

•             Fosters better work-life balance

Better multitaskers are more likely to achieve work-life balance. This is because they can finish their work on time, avoiding the need to work late or bring some work home. Additionally, these professionals may multitask at home, giving them more time to spend with their families, relax, and refuel.

Here are some cons of multitasking:

•             Inefficient use of time during switching

Time can be wasted by switching between tasks. Even though switch costs might be negligible, switching between tasks frequently can add to a significant amount of time. Rogers and Monsell (1990) research found that people were still slower on task-switch trails when given more time to prepare or perform predictable tasks than on task-switch trails. Hence, multitasking may appear to be time-efficient, it often takes longer and increases the risk of mistakes.

•             Mental blocks

The human brain can concentrate on one task at a time most efficiently. Heavy multitasking may also cause mental blocks, significantly reducing someone’s ability to get work done. The ability of humans to multitask is severely constrained by a neural network of the frontal lobe of the brain, according to Vanderbilt University’s researchers.

•             Memory function

The brain’s capacity for memory retention can be hampered by multitasking. Overstimulation of brain activity is one result of multitasking. The brain may be unable to distinguish between what’s necessary and what’s not necessary if forced to process too much information.

Furthermore, juggling multiple tasks may make distinguishing between urgent and non-urgent tasks difficult. The attempt to complete several tasks at once might result in priority tasks having to wait longer than less critical tasks.

•             Mental health effects

Anxiety and stress brought on by multitasking can harm one’s mental health. Professionals who attempt to complete two or more tasks at the same time might feel anxious about their success. Constant multitasking may result in cycles of stress and anxiety, which can eventually reduce productivity in the long run.

•             Creative inhibition

Multitaskers frequently have little time to consider novel ideas, such as how to approach a task. Serial multitaskers alternate between tasks all the time, and as a Harvard Business Review study demonstrates, they have significantly lower creative abilities than people who can concentrate on one thing for a more extended period of time.

•             Ability to collaborate

The desire of multitaskers to complete the tasks on their to-do list can significantly put impact how they interact with others at work. Because they fear losing track of their tasks, people who multitask are less likely to assist colleagues at work. Additionally, multitaskers might be less likely to take breaks between work sessions or engage in non-essential activities at work, which could impact how they interact with co-workers. Professionals must maintain their interpersonal skills while working to improve their multitasking abilities.

Highlighting your multitasking skills on your resume

You can highlight your multitasking abilities in a variety of resume sections. Here you should demonstrate to potential employers how to manage and prioritize various tasks and assignments. Below mentioned are some examples of how to demonstrate your multitasking abilities on your resume.

1.            Describe your multitasking skills in your summary

Most resume formats include an opening summary or objective statement that sums up your skills and qualifications for potential employers in a few sentences. An employer will typically read this section of your resume first, setting the tone for the rest of it.

By reading your summary of the objective statement, employers can see that you are capable of multitasking. A succinct summary that demonstrates some multitasking abilities might be: “Professional with keen attention to detail who can efficiently prioritize and carry out assigned tasks. I’, looking for a job at [company name] as a [your job role] where I can use my multitasking abilities to streamline the work process.”

2.            Mention multitasking skills in your work experience

An expanded understanding of your abilities in a particular role comes from, outlining your prior work experiences on your resume to potential employers. In the experience section of your resume, describe the duties of your prior employment in a way that demonstrates your multitasking abilities. Use descriptive words highlighting your multitasking abilities, and keep your descriptions brief. Here’s how to list your employment in a way that best exhibits your multitasking abilities:

Express your multitasking abilities using action verbs. Using action verbs like manage, prioritize or organize, demonstrates that you actively participated in carrying out multiple tasks at once. With this wording, you have more ways than just using the phrase “multitasking skills” to describe your abilities.

Indicate how your ability to multitask helped your previous employer. It helps to demonstrate to an employer how your multitasking abilities can improve their results. Use specific language or numbers to describe the outcomes you attained with your previous employer. For example, “used organization and paid keen attention to detail to reduce code line errors by 27%’”

3.            Write all your relevant multitasking skills in the skills and abilities section

Your resume’s skills and abilities section expands on your work history by highlighting your hard and soft skills. Give succinct justifications for your abilities so hiring managers immediately know the breadth of your multitasking abilities. You can use the following examples to list your multitasking abilities. You can use the following examples to list your multitasking abilities:

  • Outstanding organizational skills
  • Is able to manage multiple concurrent deadlines
  • Pays exceptional attention to detail
  • Ability to assign tasks to manage workload

4.            Mention your interests and hobbies

If you still manage to find space on your resume, then include a section titled “hobbies and interests” and take advantage of this section by highlighting your multitasking abilities. It might be advantageous to include them because many hobbies, such as arts and crafts, call for organization and attention to detail. Sports demonstrate your ability to work under pressure in a deadline-driven environment, which benefits many jobs.

5.            create your resume according to the job description

You can tailor your resume to resume to the requirements of an employer by paying close attention to the specifics in the job description. when creating your resume, look for keywords that can help you understand what an employer is looking for, and adjust it as necessary.

Interview questions about multitasking

Here are some multitasking interview questions and answers to help you prepare for your next interview:

  1. What is multitasking?

With a basic understanding of the concept, one can fill various job roles requiring multitasking abilities. Describe Multitasking in detail using everything you know. Give an example of a time when you successfully handled multiple tasks at work, if you can. If you have trouble coming up with examples from your previous work, try relating them to the position you are currently interviewing for.

Example: “Multitasking is the real deal. In my opinion, multitasking is the act of doing several tasks at once. It aids in completing tasks more quickly, increasing productivity. I once used a headset at my previous job to listen to a customer while conversing with another customer face-to-face. For each customer, I opened two instances of our customer services application. I fill out the fields with their information. I finished talking to the customer on the phone after a short while, and I gave the customer my full attention in person.”

  1. Can you explain a time when you had to multitask?

A simple but common query about multitasking: since employers are most interested in your prior experience, this is an excellent opportunity to discuss it. These situational interview questions can be answered very well using the STAR technique.

Example: “In my previous position as a project manager, I managed several projects with strict deadlines. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, I found it essential to keep all of my tasks and notes in our tasks management system highly organized.”

  1. How do you handle having to multitask at work?

The purpose of this question is to learn more about your multitasking strategy. You can discuss how you would handle a challenging situation if you don’t have relevant multitasking experience.

Example: “I make every effort to prioritize my tasks so that my full attention is on the current project’s most crucial deliverable. However, I’ve discovered that as I’ve gained experience, I’ve become increasingly adept at Multitasking when that isn’t possible. For instance, after working at XYZ Corp’s reception for three months, I found it easy to scan employees into the building while juggling phone calls.”

  1. What is your secret to multitasking successfully?

Be ready to provide evidence to support your claim if you list “multitasking” as a skill on your resume because this question might be asked. This can serve as a strong point in an interview as well.

Example: “As I gained more experience, I developed my multitasking skill as a software developer in my previous company. When I observed that some of our recent hires could not keep up with the pace, I realized how demanding the job was. I believe that my ability to maintain my composure under pressure allowed me to multitask effectively in this setting.”

  1. Are you able to multitask on several assignments at the same time?

Here’s some advice for your job interview. Never say, “yes” in response to a query! The interviewer wants you to provide evidence to support your affirmative answer.

Example: “When I had to complete multiple tasks while working as a marketing intern at my previous company, I gained valuable experience in Multitasking. I found that excellent communication was constructive in managing expectations for my boss when doing multiple tasks at once.”

  1. How do you determine your priorities?

With careful prioritization of duties, multitasking can occasionally be avoided. Also, remember that no employer will expect you to figure everything out on your own when you start a new job; you won’t know exactly what to do. Communication is the key here so often.

Example: “Daily stand-up meetings were held at my previous workplace. They were an excellent way for me to set my priorities while still staying in touch with the team to ensure my priorities were always in the line with the team’s goals.”

  1. What are some of the benefits of multitasking?

To test your comprehension of the value of multitasking, interviewers may ask you to list its advantages. List some of the benefits you associate with Multitasking based on your prior experience, both personal and professional.

Example: “I have experience multitasking in the workplace and school. Depending on the tasks involved, it can be a challenging skill, but it can also help a business save time and money. Tasks take less time to complete, resulting in little to no overtime and encouraging employees to move on to other tasks. As a result, productivity rises due to people finishing more tasks throughout the day.”