4 skills to take you from overtime to 9 to 5

Tired of working over the holidays? Wish you didn't have to clock in or out? Many employees crave the stability of the nine-to-five job but aren't sure how to land one. Here are four skills you need to increase your chances of working 9 to 5.

1. Organization and Planning

Whether you're looking to rise to a management level that doesn't have to pull overtime shifts and come in on the holidays or you simply want to work in a traditional office as an administrative assistant, organizational skills can make you shine.

Managers need to keep the schedules of their employees organized so everyone works balanced hours and there are no gaps in attendance. For example, if a manager schedules two employees and both of them call out, he or she has to quickly identify the best backup options to replace them. Meanwhile, administrative secretaries and administrative assistants are often responsible for organizing the calendars of the people they work for to prevent missed deadlines and meetings.

On your resume, highlight certain instances where you organized an event or new system to increase efficiency. This will show that you can approach a problem and find ways to manage it in a neat and logical fashion.

2. Professional Communication

While most businesses are open from nine to five, employees come in well before the door opens and stay late into the night preparing food, stocking shelves, or organizing the sales floors. In many of these companies, there are typically two types of employees: those who are customer-facing and work during traditional business hours and those who work odd hours when the customers aren't there. If you're struggling to move from the back area with odd hours to the front of the store, then you might need to improve your communication skills.

Consider signing up for a customer service training program or seminar to improve your communication. You'll learn how to interact with customers, giving you the skills to work at the front of the store, even if your current employer isn't able to train you.

3. Writing Skills

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 73 percent of employers want a candidate with strong writing skills. This skill only followed leadership and teamwork as the top skills desired in the workplace. Written communication is a must in the nine-to-five workplace, not only to make sure information is shared but that it is done so in the best way. For example, employees need written communication to:

  • Explain new programs or processes clearly and thoroughly
  • Recap meetings for people who weren't there
  • Assign tasks and request what needs to be done (and how)

Without the ability to write well and clearly explain your needs, you're likely to frustrate your employees, managers, and co-workers who are trying to guess what you want.

4. Computer Literacy

More roles than ever require employees to have a basic understanding of technology — or at least the ability to learn it quickly. If you're planning to switch to a desk job, consider enrolling in a basic Microsoft Office class at your local library or community college. These classes will be able to teach you the nuances of Word and Excel that you might not have known existed.

On your resume, highlight different software tools and programs that you're familiar with to show that you can handle the technology that the job requires. For example, if you used a particular POS system at one of your jobs, your future employer could see you as an asset because they don't have to train you on how it works.

When you do land the job, work to familiarize yourself with new tools and technology to prove your adaptability. This way your employer won't regret hiring you despite a lack of skills.

You don't have to have years of professional experience to get a nine-to-five job, you just have to have the right skills, or at least the ability to learn the right skills quickly. By identifying what employers want, you can market yourself as the top candidate for the job and move away from the overtime shifts before you know it.