6 Critical Thinking Skills You Should Have On Your Resume

problem solving and critical thinking on resume

Critical thinking skills are the #1 competency that employers are looking for in recent graduates, according to the Job Outlook 2022 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. 

What does this mean for you?

It means that, no matter who you are, if you can show employers that you possess strong critical thinking skills you’ll have a significant advantage over other job applicants!

Let’s talk about what critical thinking skills are, why critical thinking is important, and how you can showcase these skills on your resume.

What are critical thinking skills and why are they important?

Humans employ critical thinking skills without even realizing it.

From the time we get up to the time we go to sleep, our minds are always working to analyze and make sense of the world around us. 

Critical thinking skills allow us to see beyond the surface level of many issues and problems, and to think deeply and creatively about potential solutions.

These skills are important not only in our personal lives but also in our professional lives .

Here are 6 important critical thinking skills that you should try to develop:

Illustrations of 6 critical thinking skills

1. Questioning

To think critically, you need to be able to question the information you’re given.

This means looking at all sides of an issue and not taking anything at face value.

For example, you might ask your boss for more information about a new project that’s been assigned to you, or for clarification on an email that was sent out to the team. 

Questioning information is a key part of being a successful employee, as it shows that you’re engaged and interested in what’s going on around you. 

2. Creativity

Critical thinking isn’t just about logic and reasoning – it also requires creativity. 

Sometimes the most unexpected solution can be the most effective. This kind of problem solving requires creative, outside the box type of thinking.

An example of using creativity at work is to brainstorm with colleagues in an attempt to come up with new ideas or solutions to a problem. 

“Sometimes the most unexpected solution can be the most effective.”

Or you can use creativity to look at a problem from a different perspective or angle.

For example, if you’re struggling to come up with new ideas, try talking to people outside your field for inspiration.

3. Analysis

When you’re presented with an argument, it’s important to be able to analyze it rationally to determine its strengths and weaknesses. 

For example, a vendor might try to persuade you to buy a product or service to help your business grow. 

In order to make a decision, you need to analyze the vendor’s argument.

What are the potential rewards of buying? What are the risks? Does the vendor’s argument make sense? Is there anything they’re leaving out?

4. Decision-Making

Critical thinking skills allow you to sift through information and make well-informed decisions. 

This is especially important in today’s age of overwhelming choices and constant decision-making.

With so many options and so much at stake, being a critical thinker gives you a definite edge at life and at work.

“Critical thinking gives you a definite edge at life and at work.”

For example, if your job is a customer service representative, you need to make decisions when people call to complain about a product. 

Should you refund the customer’s money, send them a replacement product, or offer some other type of compensation?

After using your critical thinking skills to consider all the options, you would then make the decision that you believe is in the best interest of the customer and the company.

5. Communication

Critical thinkers know how to express themselves clearly and persuasively.

They can communicate their ideas in a way that is logical and easy for others to understand. This makes them excellent communicators, both in writing and in person.

In the work environment, good communication helps prevent misunderstandings and conflict at work.

It also gets everyone on the same page, which creates a more efficient workflow. 

“Good communication helps prevent conflict and creates a more efficient workflow.”

Overall, good communication skills result in a more positive, professional, and productive work environment. 

6. Leadership

If you want to be a successful leader , developing your critical thinking skills is essential.

Leadership requires the ability to ask questions, make sound decisions, solve problems, and communicate clearly. Good leaders also continually challenge their own assumptions.

Many businesses do not reach their potential because the leaders lack the ability to do these kinds of things effectively. 

Are you beginning to see why employers place such a high value on critical thinking skills?

6 ways to add critical thinking skills to your resume

Employers are always looking for candidates who can think critically and solve problems. 

That’s why it’s so important to showcase critical thinking skills on your resume.

If you’re not sure how to add critical thinking skills examples to your resume in a way that will have the biggest impact, here are some tips and strategies:

1. Use keywords

When searching for jobs, be sure to include keywords like “critical thinking” or “problem solving.”

Some employers may even specifically state in the job description that they are looking for candidates with strong critical thinking skills . 

If so, it’s absolutely vital that you include that keyword.

The best way to make sure your resume contains all the right keywords is to use a tool like Jobscan’s resume scanner . 

The scanner uses AI technology to compare your resume to job descriptions that you’re interested in. 

Within seconds, you’ll be able to find out exactly which keywords you need to add and where.

Make your resume stand out and get noticed

Upload your resume to see what’s missing and get a free match rate.

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2. Highlight examples

On your resume , be sure to highlight any projects or tasks that required you to use strong critical thinking skills.

You can mention how you solved a difficult problem at work, or discuss a time when you had to make a quick decision using logic and reasoning.

For example, you could say, “Increased social media engagement by 82% after analyzing what our top competitors were doing.”

Remember, employers are also looking for creative thinking, so share any successful results you got from thinking outside-the-box.

3. Describe your process

It’s always a good idea to show exactly how you solved problems using critical thinking skills. 

In other words, present any research, analysis, or brainstorming that went into your decision-making process. 

You can also mention any tools or technology that you used. For example, you could say, “I improved department efficiency by 50 percent using Six Sigma management tools.” 

4. Use action words

When writing your resume, use powerful action verbs that demonstrate critical thinking skills, such as: 

5. Focus on transferability

Critical thinking is a transferable skill . This means you can apply it to any job, across all industries and positions. 

Even if you don’t have direct experience in the role you’re applying for, you can still highlight critical thinking skills that are relevant to the position. 

“Critical thinking is a transferable skill you can apply to any job, across all industries and positions.” 

For example, if you’re applying for a job in customer service , mention any experience you have with managing difficult people, even if they weren’t your customers. 

6. Use numbers and data

Whenever possible, use metrics to showcase your critical thinking skills. 

Rather than saying “I increased sales by coming up with an innovative marketing strategy,” instead say “I increased sales by 30 percent with an innovative marketing strategy.”

Following these six tips for adding critical thinking skills to your resume will make you a stronger job candidate for any position you apply for.  

How can you develop your critical thinking skills?

Developing strong critical thinking skills will not only benefit your professional life and help you get jobs, but they’ll also make you a more well-rounded and successful person in general. 

You won’t develop these skills overnight – it can take time and practice – but it’s well worth the effort. 

Here are 8 things you can do to increase your critical thinking powers. 

1. Read, read, read

Reading is great “brain-food” and you should try to do as much of it as possible.

The more you read, the better your understanding of the world will be, and the easier it will be to see both sides of an argument. 

Try to read a variety of materials, from news articles to novels to non-fiction books. 

2. Challenge your own beliefs and assumptions

Assuming that you are always correct can lead to close-mindedness and a lack of ability to see things from other perspectives. 

It can also prevent you from learning new information or considering new ideas. 

To become more open-minded, you need to be willing to challenge your own beliefs and assumptions.

Try to seek out other points of view as much as possible and always question the source of your information. Is it objective and reliable? 

“Seek out other points of view and always question the source of your information.”

Also, when you’re confronted with a new idea, take the time to really think about it before you form an opinion.

3. Weigh the pros and cons

Before making a decision, always consider carefully the potential positives and negatives of each option. 

This will allow you to see both sides of the issue and make a more informed decision. 

Of course, this is not always easy, and there are times when the best course of action may not be immediately obvious. 

However, taking the time to weigh the potential options is always worth the effort, as it increases the chances of making a decision that leads to a positive outcome.

4. Consider different interpretations

How many times has your initial reaction to a situation colored your judgment and prevented you from seeing all the possibilities?

When you’re trying to understand a situation, it’s important to consider all the different ways you could interpret it.

For example, if you receive a low grade on a test, it is easy to feel discouraged and think that you are not smart enough. 

However, if you take a step back and look at the situation objectively, you may realize that the test was unfair or that you simply didn’t have enough time to prepare. 

By considering the different interpretations of a situation, you can make better decisions and avoid potential pitfalls.

5. Practice active listening

In our fast-paced, often hectic lives, it can be easy to let our minds wander when someone else is speaking. 

However, if we make a conscious effort to actively listen to what others are saying, we can gain a better understanding of their point of view. 

The next time you find yourself in a discussion, really try to listen and understand the other person’s perspective. It could help you see the situation in a new light.

6. Be willing to change your mind

If you find that a new argument or piece of evidence has convinced you, don’t be afraid to change your mind.

This shows that you are flexible and adaptable, which are highly valued qualities in most workplaces. 

Additionally, being willing to change your mind can help you avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.

7. Ask questions

It’s important to remember that nobody knows everything. So don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Asking questions can deepen your understanding about a topic. It also shows that you’re interested and want to learn more. 

“Nobody knows everything. So don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

The next time you’re in a meeting or listening to a presentation, don’t be nervous about raising your hand and asking a question. 

Chances are, you’re not the only one who wants to know the answer!

8. Practice, practice, practice

Like anything else, critical thinking is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. The more you do it, the better you’ll become at it. 

So challenge yourself to think critically about everything from the news to your daily conversations. 

Over time, you’ll start to develop good critical thinking skills that will last a lifetime. 

And, of course, these skills also look great on your resume!

The best way to emphasize critical thinking skills on your resume is to use a tool like Jobscan’s resume scanner .

This tool uses AI technology to optimize the searchability of your resume so that recruiters and hiring managers are more likely to find it, resulting in more job interviews and opportunities.

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Essential Critical Thinking Skills: Demonstrate Critical Thinking in Your Resume

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Critical thinking skills: key takeaways for your resume

Essential Critical Thinking Skills in professional resumes. How to apply Critical Thinking in resume building in 2022. Show that you are a Critical Thinker and get the interview call.

How to demonstrate critical thinking skills on your resume

Remember that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of causes, which means that you have to pay close attention to describing the most essential and valuable facts about yourself as a professional. Thus, recruiters will be 100% sure that you know how to sort out data and explain it understandably.

Do not hesitate to use action verbs like ''analyze'', ''identify'' and ''solve'', which show that you have analytical skills. Focus on results rather than empty explanations. Now let's put everything said into practice.

Example 1: Demonstrate critical thinking skills in the experience section

Sales Analyst applying for the position of Sales Manager

Date period

The following candidate demonstrated undeniable experience in solving problems. They resolved gaps, created successful strategies and worked with big data. 

The applicant proved to be self-directed by designing an entire strategy entirely by themselves. The candidate's critical thinking skills led to astonishing results that impacted the entire performance of the company.

Demonstrate that you are good at prioritizing by selecting the essential experience points in your resume. Use action verbs that indicate critical thinking, like "analyze" and "conclude."

Prove that you solved problems and made critical decisions by providing appropriate examples. Let the results speak for you as a professional. Thus, recruiters are more likely to select you among other candidates because critical thinkers are the most promising employees.

Example 2: resume summary.

Project Manager applying for the position of Chief Operating Officer

With solid experience, this applicant proves to be a reliable professional who makes important decisions in a vast and successful company. They know how to coordinate massive projects while leading large teams of professionals.

Use this section to mention the most valuable experience in your career that proves your critical thinking and leadership skills. Do not forget the 80/20 principle. It is a clear sign that you are capable of evaluating and prioritizing information.

Example 3: Key Achievements

Research Scientist applying for the position of Medical Writer

Participating in such revolutionary projects is a clear sign that the candidate is highly intelligent. Their diligent work in writing these articles and holding inspiring and valuable presentations prove their critical thinking.

In this section, you should prove you are a trustworthy individual. Your accomplishments will provide evidence that you are a go-getter who always reaches their goals.

Example 4: Courses & Talents

Intern applying for the role of Business Analyst

You could build an impression about yourself by the courses you took in the past. They show that you are a self-directed individual who knows how to set SMART goals in their learning and professional experience. Mention only those courses that directly relate to the position you apply for.

Computer Technician applying for the job of Infrastructure Analyst

This candidate listed the most important skills for a computer technician. They emphasized both soft and hard skills that prove their professionalism.

Do not hesitate to add those critical thinking skills that you find appropriate for the section. Just remember to emphasize results and abilities rather than empty explanations. Action verbs and catchy phrases might help you create a good impression as an extraordinary person and professional.

About this report:

Data reflects analysis made on over 1M resume profiles and examples over the last 2 years from Enhancv.com.

While those skills are most commonly met on resumes, you should only use them as inspiration and customize your resume for the given job.

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How to Present Critical Thinking Skills on Your Resume

Elena Prokopets

It’s no secret that employers want people who are adaptable, can solve problems, and contribute to the organization’s success. The difference between an employee who can do these things and one who can’t come down to one simple thing: they have great critical thinking skills.

So of course you’d want to tout these on your resume and all over your job application materials too. But there’s one problem. Critical skills aren’t always easy to put on paper. But there are a few ‘workarounds’ this post will show you! 

What Are Critical Thinking Skills?

Critical thinking skills stand for your ability to rationally process information, find connections between ideas, reflect, and draw conclusions. 

As a person with well-developed critical thinking skills, you are good at: 

You use critical thinking skills in the workplace to solve problems, collaborate with others, resolve conflicts, and complete many leadership tasks.

Why Are Critical Thinking Skills In Demand By Employers

The “ Future of Jobs 2020 ” report states that employers listed critical thinking among the top skills and skill groups that will rise in prominence by 2025. 

In particular, the top skills employers will be searching for among new hires include:

Why do these qualities trump hard skills in demand? Simple! Because they enable effective on-the-job learning. 

Employers realize that industries now operate at a breakneck speed with the ‘best practices’ constantly in flux. Respectively, it’s not always easy to find a candidate with the ‘freshest’ set of skills. But it’s easy to nurture such as long as they are good critical-thinkers! For similar reasons, 93% of employers actually state that they value strong critical thinking skills over the candidate’s undergraduate degree.

problem solving

Additionally, critical thinking has emerged as an essential skill because of the sheer volume of data we encounter. Much of this information is accessed online and often comes from questionable sources. It takes a combination of digital literacy and critical thinking skills for workers to discern which information is reliable, and what can be dismissed as pseudo-science, fake news, marketing propaganda, outdated, or speculative. Employers need workers who can fact-check, evaluate, and process this information effectively.

List of Critical Thinking Skills For Your Resume

Let’s be real: you won’t convince hiring managers by simply stating, ‘I have critical thinking skills’ in your cover letter . It’s a fact you need to demonstrate via your duties and accomplishments. The best way to do so is to break down the “critical thinking skills” group into more concrete sub-skills such as: 

Analysis stands for your ability to effectively deal with the incoming information and translate it into insights. To analyze things properly, you must know how to source information, verify that it is valid, determine which data is relevant, and take an objective approach to draw conclusions based on that information.


Collaborating with others, discussing problems, and giving and receiving feedback is a critical skill for every hire. Show the employer that you can hold productive exchanges with people who don’t always agree with you, be persuasive, and critically process all the information others are sharing with you. 


This skill involves having a heightened awareness of your surroundings, understanding what you observe, and knowing the appropriate action to take. For example, they may notice a downward trend in productivity, and take action to address potential staffing issues.

Inference indicates your ability to draw conclusions based on a limited set of data. For example, the manager of a community pool may infer that an unseasonably hot day will mean that more people will order cold drinks from the concession stand. 


Problem-solving skills denote your ability to strategize the best solution to a given problem and evaluate the success of that solution after having implemented it. It requires that you can look at a problem objectively, and think through potential solutions in a methodical manner. 

Still not sure how to best frame your problem-solving skills? Check role-specific resume examples our career team has created for some real-life examples. 

How to Improve Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking skills are key for effective collaboration, continuous learning, and personal efficiency. If you feel that your skillset could do with an ‘upgrade’, try the following techniques.

Critical thinking is one of the most important skills to have to ensure your long-term “hire-ability”. Today, these skills are crucial for working with data, solving emerging market problems, and discerning truth from a growing volume of unproven information, circulating online. Tomorrow, critical thinking will become even more important as the future workforce will be primarily focused on “knowledge work”.

Elena Prokopets

Elena runs content operations at Freesumes since 2017. She works closely with copywriters, designers, and invited career experts to ensure that all content meets our highest editorial standards. Up to date, she wrote over 200 career-related pieces around resume writing, career advice... more

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How to Demonstrate Critical Thinking and Problem Solving on Your Resume

Hanging glowing light bulb to represent problem solving

You’ve probably heard that hiring managers spend less than 10 seconds on each resume . And during that brief time, they’re looking for certain must-have skills—skills that pop up in job and internship postings again and again. That’s because employers know what they want in new college hires, so they look for certain essential competencies. According to NACE’s Job Outlook 2019 survey , one of the top four competencies employers look for in new college hires is critical thinking/problem solving. The other three are teamwork/collaboration, professionalism/work ethic, and oral/written communications.

These soft skills show that a candidate is prepared for a successful transition to the workplace. But how do you prove to potential employers that you truly possess these traits? In this article, we’ll show you how to demonstrate your critical-thinking and problem-solving skills on your resume.

You can read about how to demonstrate other essential resume skills in the guides below:

What is critical thinking/problem solving?

Being skilled in critical thinking and problem solving means that you seek solutions to issues in an effective and orderly manner, based on facts.

Every job has problems to solve and challenges to overcome. Individuals with strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills take a methodical approach to these issues, using data and evidence to inform their process and asking smart questions rather than believing everything they’re told. Being able to think critically about situations means you form judgments and make decisions based on reason, often in an innovative or creative way.

Why are critical thinking and problem solving important in college hires?

In today’s fast-paced world, businesses encounter complex new challenges every day. There’s also a huge amount of information available to everyone—and not all of it is accurate. Interns and employees who can actively work through issues on their own to arrive at sound solutions make life easier for their supervisors and colleagues.

Most people can make a decision when needed. But when someone thinks through a problem critically and works through it step by step, they’re more likely to reach the best decision. That’s because they ask questions, look at evidence, analyze their own biases, and consult with others. When you add all that up, it’s far more likely that a person with strong critical-thinking skills will take effective action that yields a successful outcome. And that’s good for the business and the bottom line.

In addition, critical thinkers and problem solvers tend to be inspiring and enjoyable to work alongside. Because they examine their own biases and take into account differing opinions, they’re usually open-minded, respectful, and reasonable.

These competencies are particularly important for college hires. Interns and entry-level workers who can think critically and solve problems need less hand-holding, and they can offer fresh opinions and ideas. At the same time, they’re flexible and willing to listen.

Problem solving and critical thinking are useful in any role, but they’re frequently listed as key skills for the following categories:

Examples of critical thinking/problem solving

Since so many companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to scan resumes for key qualifications and skills, you need to carefully read the job description to ensure you’re including the right terms. To find these keywords, simply look at the skills listed as “Requirements” or “Preferences” in the job posting. You can read more about relevant resume skills here.

For critical thinking and problem solving, other keywords might include:

You can use all these terms to highlight your critical thinking and problem solving throughout your resume and cover letter.

Example resume bullets that highlight critical thinking and problem solving

If a job description emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving, or any related terms, you want to include keywords related to these areas in your resume. But you can’t just list “problem solving” as a skill; it means nothing. Instead, you need to include specific examples of when you demonstrated these competencies in the past. To get past the ATS and impress the hiring manager, try to incorporate the keywords themselves as well as specific past examples.

Consider situations in which you’ve thought outside of the box or worked long and hard to increase efficiencies. Maybe you successfully navigated a tricky situation with a customer. Maybe you used your creativity to make something work despite a limited budget. These are all examples of critical thinking and problem solving that you can include on your resume. You want to prove that you have a history of carefully and creatively thinking through issues to arrive at the best solution.

Example 1: Software engineer intern

Software Engineer Intern, Velcor Computer Designs Boise, ID (Dec 2019–Present)

To demonstrate problem solving and critical thinking in your resume, focus on keywords and numbers. This candidate mentions several key skills associated with these areas, including analyzing, investigating, performing experimental runs, and instituting new protocols. All of these tasks speak to an ability to analyze and evaluate problems to arrive at sound solutions.

Example 2: Resume summary

Resume Summary Chemical engineer with expertise in troubleshooting systemic validation issues, developing manufacturing resolutions, and presenting findings to managers and inspectors. Field experience in operating and maintaining electromechanical equipment and systems. Technical skills include C++, MS Office, MS Visio, AutoCAD, BioKM, and MATLAB.

By highlighting problem solving and critical thinking in your resume summary, you feature these key skills right away. A true critical thinker knows how to troubleshoot problems to find creative solutions—just like this applicant.

Example 3: Demonstrating problem solving through awards

Received $10,000 innovation grant towards biodegradable plastic research from EJC Company, beating out over 250 other candidates.

Awards showcase your best and brightest accomplishments, so they’re the perfect way to highlight key skills. In this example, the applicant showcases related keywords (“research” and “innovation”), along with how many other candidates they were up against. The amount of competition proves that this grant would only go to someone with superlative critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

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Critical Thinking Skills for a Resume

Critical thinking skills are the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas. Critical thinking could be described as the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. It requires you to use your ability to reason.

For example, you can research the pros and cons of running two miles a day. A quick Google search will give you plenty of information for and against this idea. Reasons why it is good for your health and reasons why it is hard on your body. You can find data and research to back up either side of the claim. Then, using critical thinking skills, you decide for yourself if running two miles a day will be more or less beneficial for you personally.

Related :  Personal Qualities Employers are Looking For

Why are critical thinking skills important on a resume?

Critical thinking is the only way to make sense of the world. You’ll constantly challenge what seems given. For example, in your job, even if something appears to be functioning properly, critical thinking will help you try and identify new, better  solutions.

Employers and hiring managers want to be sure you can process what is going on around you and use that information in your career. Critical thinking skills are the cornerstone of self-development and improvement. That’s why they’re so critical  to have in today’s job market.

The Seven Steps of Critical Thinking

1. Identify the problem or question.  Be as precise as possible: the narrower the issue, the easier it is to find solutions or answers.

2. Gather data, opinions, and arguments.  Try to find several sources that present different ideas and points of view.

3. Analyze and evaluate the data.  Are the sources reliable? Are their conclusions data-backed or just argumentative? Is there enough information or data to support the given hypotheses?

4. Identify assumptions.  Are you sure the sources you found are unbiased? Are you sure you weren’t biased in your search for answers?

5. Establish significance.  What piece of information is most important? Is the sample size sufficient? Are all opinions and arguments even relevant to the problem you’re trying to solve?

6. Make a decision/reach a conclusion.  Identify various conclusions that are possible and decide which (if any) of them are sufficiently supported. Weigh the strengths and limitations of all possible options.

7. Present or communicate.  Once you’ve reached a conclusion, present it to all stakeholders.

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Critical thinking skills: What are they and why do employers care about them?

Paul Drury

Being able to conceptualize, analyze and evaluate information to generate appropriate outcomes is the primary driver of corporate decisions. Disciplined and critical thinking skills lead to creative approaches, free of irrational biases and self-interest.

Employers understand that decision making is inherently complex, so when it comes to meeting a potential new employee, critical thinking skills are often at the top of the agenda. When left unchecked, lazy workplace thinking can cause damage. If your boss knows that you have turned over every stone in the search for a solution, they will sleep easy.

In this blog, we will consider critical thinking from a job seeker’s perspective:

Being able to “think about thinking” is central to self-awareness and career success. 

Six steps of a critical thinking process.

Critical thinking is an essential skill and should be highlighted in your cv and cover letter. If you need any additional inspiration, check out our resume examples, and cover letter examples.

Why your future employer cares about your critical thinking

Employers want people who can consider a problem from multiple angles and take into account the context before they decide on a way forward. If you do not take the time to explore the nuances, the level of uncertainty in terms of the outcome will be high.

If everyone in the team is comfortable with thinking critically, every debate will be well informed, and every decision will be optimized.

Critical thinking skills allow an employee to:

Critical thinking is a complex topic. As you read through this blog, have a think about how you can frame your decision making to shine a light on how you came to your conclusions. You might be surprised at just how interested your future employer will be about how you got there. Sometimes the process of thinking is as important as the result.

The benefit of foresight in critical thinking . Thinking through the impact of workplace decisions is critical in any dynamic workplace. Show your future employer that you can pause and consider the deeper ramifications of your actions. You will only achieve the best outcomes if you evaluate the potential outcome from multiple angles.

What are interpersonal skills: definition + top examples

Getting on with others is the key to business success, but how are interpersonal skills defined and how might we use these examples in our resume to make it stronger? Which interpersonal skills does the job require?

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7 examples of critical thinking skills

The following seven critical thinking skills form a roadmap for making an informed decision:


Being observant at work means sensing the undercurrents of what is going on and how the future might change as a result. Employees who can perceive a problem before it has arisen will be better placed to deal with it. Observational skills often revolve around an understanding of patterns of behavior – if you have seen something happen before (in similar circumstances), there is a fair chance that it will happen again. 

Critical thinking skill: Be an observant and perceptive sounding board.

When thinking critically, the ability to compare and contrast various information is key to reaching a balanced conclusion. Where do you source your information? How do you verify its validity? Be open minded about where you inform yourself and do not be satisfied with a narrow range of sources. Industry echo chambers are real – especially on social media. Go out of your way to solicit contrary opinions and be dispassionate in your evaluation.

Critical thinking skill: Thorough research forms the foundation of a sound opinion

When you are faced with a mass of information at your disposal, you need to be able to analyze what will help you to make the best decision. Review the data, examine the sources, and interrogate the findings. The quality of the data set will determine the quality of the conclusion. If you make a decision based on shaky sources, you will be fumbling in the dark. Collecting and categorizing information at the early stage of any critical thinking process might take longer than you hope, but this investment is central to an optimal outcome.

Critical thinking skill: Analyze exactly what you need to include in your thinking.

When there is not enough information to make a fully informed decision, you sometimes need to make an educated guess. Inference is the ability to take raw data and fill in the gaps to make the best possible decision. The ability to extrapolate information and infer the correct conclusions is an incredibly valuable skill in the workplace – it requires sound judgment and an ability to solve an incomplete puzzle.

Critical thinking skill: Making an educated guess with incomplete source data.


As the process of critical thinking is rarely straightforward, the ability to tackle problems and resolve conflicts is central to smoothing the path. Adopt a self-critical mindset and constantly ask yourself the question: “is this going to get us to where we need to be?” Problem solvers view setbacks as opportunities for exploring a different path and know that the resultant insights will move them one step closer to a conclusion. There is nothing scarier than admitting that something isn’t working, but such feelings should be embraced.

Critical thinking skill: Problem-solving turns scary setbacks into unexpected opportunities.

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It might sound obvious, but your critical thinking abilities are bound by the limitations of your mindset. If you are not self-aware enough to monitor and correct your assumptions, your thinking can be impaired. The ability to be self-aware and adaptable enough to correct your course when you are in a stressful situation is one of the hallmarks of a critical thinker. If your fixed mindset does not allow you to change direction, your potential is limited.

Critical thinking skill: Self-awareness means that you can adapt to change course.

Why? Pondering this simple word has the potential to reveal insights and question assumptions. Having the curiosity to explore the unknowns can tell you much about the problem that you face and throw up multiple other questions. You might not always find a satisfactory answer but allowing these questions to linger at the back of your mind proves an ongoing driving force for your intellect. Critical thinkers are not afraid of questioning everything like a five-year-old. 

Critical thinking skill: Curiosity opens up avenues of thought you didn’t know existed.

How do you improve your critical thinking skills?

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How to highlight critical thinking during your job search

Potential employers are interested in exploring how you went about making your decisions as well as their outcomes. When different problems come along, they want to be sure that your critical thinking ability is robust enough to make the right moves.

Showcase your critical thinking both in your job search writing and during an interview.

Resume and cover letter

One effective way of highlighting your critical thinking in your written job search documents is to outline the journey that you took to your decisions. This is easier to do in a long-form cover letter than a resume, but you can still include impactful action verbs in bullet-pointed resume achievements.

You should make it clear that you do not take the big decisions lightly. Touching on aspects of the six critical thinking skills listed above will prompt a hiring manager to explore further during an interview. Analyze your thought processes and crystallize your approach.

There will be many situational questions during an interview where you will be able to share the thinking skills that led to the result. If you choose to tell your career stories using the STAR method , you can weave your critical thinking skills in between the task and action parts. In some ways, it should read STTAR. You can’t take action without critical thought.

When you are outlining your critical thinking during an interview, it is important to consider the culture of your potential employer. Is short-term tactical thinking preferred over longer-term strategy? Are decisions made by collective agreement or are individuals trusted to do the right thing within their remits? How open are senior management to being challenged?

Don’t just talk about your thinking skills in an interview – back up your claims with proof.

An example of critical thinking : Think about something that someone recently told you. Who said it? What did they say? When did they say it? Why did they say it? How did they say it? Considering the wider context of a problem will lead you onto further questions.

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How to Highlight Critical Thinking Skills on Your Resume

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Frank Hackett

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Frank Hackett is a professional resume writer and career consultant with over eight years of experience. As the lead editor at a boutique career consulting firm, Frank developed an innovative approach to resume writing that empowers job seekers to tell their professional stories. His approach involves creating accomplishment-driven documents that balance keyword optimization with personal branding. Frank is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PAWRCC).

Hiring managers are drawn to candidates with a strong capacity for critical thinking. Organizations want applicants who can identify creative solutions to complex problems quickly and independently. The question is, how do you highlight critical thinking skills on your resume?

Simply listing it as a skill doesn’t carry much weight if you can’t provide tangible examples, so you’ll need to leverage your professional experience to highlight this attribute. Throughout this guide, we’ll provide insights to help you showcase your critical thinking skills using a variety of different strategies:

Avoid Listing Critical Thinking as a Skill

Although this may seem surprising, you should avoid listing critical thinking as a skill when building your resume. The term itself is broad and won’t help the hiring manager to gain a better understanding of what your qualifications are. Instead, you should provide examples of solving complex problems quickly and efficiently. You can also incorporate key terms and skills that draw attention to your capacity for critical thinking without needing to use the word specifically. The resume’s goal is to highlight why you’re qualified for the role you’re applying for, and you won’t be able to separate yourself as a candidate if your content is generic.

Skills Related to Critical Thinking

There are many ways to highlight your capacity for critical thinking by featuring more specific types of skills on your resume. For instance, data analysis and data-driven decision-making skills draw attention to your ability to analyze and interpret findings critically. By featuring skill sets that are more grounded in your field, you’ll be able to highlight your critical thinking capabilities and industry expertise simultaneously. Below, you’ll find a list of skills you can use to emphasize critical thinking on your resume:

Highlight Your Ability to Perform Critical Analysis

To highlight your critical thinking skills, you’ll want to draw attention to complex problems you’ve solved over the course of your career. For instance, if you were a project manager within the software industry, you may want to mention a time when you had to create a solution for a critical issue during the software development lifecycle. This paints a much clearer picture of your qualifications for the hiring manager while also drawing attention to your capacity for critical thinking in high-pressure situations. Below, you’ll find an example of how to showcase this attribute in your work experience:

Notice how the candidate never uses the term critical thinking once in any of these bullet points. Although it isn’t stated directly, these accomplishments emphasize the project manager’s ability to devise practical solutions and analyze data critically, which is extremely valuable to prospective employers. Critical thinking extends far beyond the technology field, as you’ll see in the following example:

Here, the candidate highlights their critical thinking skills by detailing a situation where they needed to develop marketing solutions for an underperforming brand. Only some of the problems you encounter during your career will always be purely technical. In this case, the job seeker showcases critical thinking in the form of strategy development. The important thing to emphasize is your ability to use objective reasoning to assess problems and determine the ideal solution. Providing tangible examples of this from your career will always carry more weight than simply listing “critical thinking” will in your skills section.

Feature Your Communication Skills

The ability to express yourself cogently and effectively is very much an indicator of critical thinking skills. Suppose you’re a sales executive educating a potential client on a service offering. In that case, you’ll need to build a compelling presentation that persuasively outlines the benefits of your product as it relates to the customer’s needs. As a team leader, resolving employee conflicts and collaborating effectively with your direct reports requires strong critical thinking skills. Communication skills are extremely important to hiring managers, and highlighting examples of this on your resume will go a long way in helping you secure your next interview.

When to Mention Critical Thinking on Your Resume

While you’ll generally want to avoid simply listing this as a skill on your document, there are situations where you may need to incorporate it as written. If you notice that critical thinking is mentioned multiple times in a job description, this is a strong indicator that the employer is using it as a keyword in the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This is a situation where it’s safer to list the term directly to achieve ATS compliance, even if it doesn’t paint a compelling picture of your professional experience.

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze information and make reasoned judgments.

Critical thinking helps to think rationally and understand the connection between ideas. It helps to make sense of the world. Using critical thinking skills will make you challenge the loopholes.

For instance, it would enable you to find better solutions or ways to deal with existing issues, thus making you an asset. It is also why employers wish to find such people who think critically.

Read on to understand more about critical thinking, its importance, and incorporating such skills into your resumes.

Additionally, you can get a clear understanding of the following questions about critical thinking skills :

What Are Critical Thinking Skills?

The skills that help us to analyze information, arguments, and situations are known as critical thinking skills. Critical thinkers can draw reasonable conclusions from plenty of information and discriminate between information.

Why is Critical Thinking Important?

A critical thinker evaluates sources of information- data, facts, and research findings. For instance, you can research the pros and cons of having a balanced diet. A quick Google search will give you plenty of information on why it is good for your health or is not.

You can find data to back up either side of the claim. Then, using critical thinking skills, you decide for yourself if having a balanced diet will be more or less beneficial for you.

So, critical thinking is important both personally and professionally. It is a skill that is highly valued by employers as well.

Why is Critical Thinking Important In a Workplace?

Critical thinking guides good decision-making, helping you spot possible obstacles and discover solutions to them. It assists you and your coworkers in coming up with new ideas to achieve objectives.

Critical thinking helps in identifying, and addressing workflow inefficiencies, improving management practices, guiding financial decisions, and cultivating a strategic attitude.

Employers want critical thinkers to evaluate a situation using logical thought and offer the best solution. Hiring a critical thinker implies micro-managing is not required.

How Would You Demonstrate Critical Thinking Skills in Your Job Search?

Critical thinking and critical thinker are the go-to words for employers, so much so that they mention them in the job listing. So, it fetches you brownie points when you mention critical thinking on your resume.

But is that all? Not really!

So, how do you demonstrate critical thinking skills in your job search?

Use Critical Thinking While Looking for Jobs

Read the job listing carefully and decide whether it would be worth your time. In your job search, it might happen that the role is suitable but the working hours are not, or the remuneration is not competitive. Would it then be worth going through the hiring process only to reject the offer in the end?

Add Keywords to Your Resume

If critical thinking is a key phrase in the job listing, then emphasize critical thinking skills throughout your job search. Use critical thinking keywords such as analytical, problem solving, creativity, etc. Include the top critical thinking skills that best describe you in your work experience and resume summary.

Demonstrate Critical Thinking in the Experience Section

Mention prior experiences where you had to make a decision in a challenging situation. It could be an instance where you supervised a project when no instructions were given or where you had to prioritize between many tasks.

What impact did your decision have? Quantify the results you achieved due to the decisions you took and mention them as bullet points in the experience section.

Demonstrate Critical Thinking in the Resume Summary

Craft a resume summary that encapsulates your experiences and sprinkle keywords such as implemented, result-oriented, problem solver, and driven. Keep the resume summary short and mention the most valuable experiences that you have had.

For instance, a driven individual with 5+ years of experience in app development who has led a team of 10 and implemented complex changes in software for IT companies.

Mention Skills in Your Cover Letter

Include critical thinking skills in the body of your letter. Pick relevant situations and experiences that you highly value and challenge you the most. Give specific examples of times when you have demonstrated critical thinking at work.

Show the Interviewer Your Skills

You can use instances when you demonstrated critical thinking at work when answering behavioral questions. Use the STAR method or situation, task, action, and result method.

Discuss times when you were faced with challenges at work and explain how you applied critical thinking to solve them. Explain your thought process clearly to the interviewer.

Also read : Should I include my soft skills on a resume?

What Are the Examples of Using Critical Thinking on a Job?

Aside from hard skills that decide how skilled you will be at your job, soft skills decide how tactful you will be with your tasks. Having rich soft skills will ensure that you perform your tasks correctly with very little mistakes or setbacks.

The Top 5 Critical Thinking Skills

The in-demand critical thinking skills must be added to your resume and cover letter. They should be emphasized throughout the application process, such as during interviews.

The most important critical thinking skills are:

It means carefully examining something- a set of data or a text. Critical thinkers examine information, understand it, and convey its implications.


You have to communicate with colleagues and superiors to share your ideas effectively. Often, you will have to share your conclusions with them one-on-one or in a group.

So, you would use critical thinking and communicate effectively to figure out solutions to complex problems.

Also read : How to leverage communication skills in a workplace?

Critical thinking involves creativity and innovation. You would spot patterns in the information or provide a solution that no one else has thought of before. It requires a creative bent of mind.

Top 5 Critical Thinking Skills


To think critically, one needs to put aside assumptions or judgments. You have to analyze the information you receive and be objective in evaluating ideas without bias.


It is another critical thinking skill that involves- analyzing a problem, generating its solution, and then implementing it. It also involves assessing the success of the plan.

Hiring managers don’t simply want employees who can think about information critically. They need employees to come up with practical solutions.

How to Develop Critical Thinking Skills?

If you catch yourself making rushed decisions with no real thought, don't worry because it is a skill that you can build. Use the seven-step rule to develop critical thinking skills:

Step 1: Identify the Problem

Choose to be precise while identifying the issue. The narrower the scope, the easier it is to find answers. You do not have to do it all on your own either, if there are coworkers with the same skill set as you, consult them so that you cover all bases.

Step 2: Gather Data

Find several sources of information that contain different ideas and points of view. Doing so will help you avoid hasty decisions and understand how to ensure integrity of choices by looking at it from all points of view.

Step 3: Analyze and Evaluate the Data

To analyze and evaluate data, you need to check the reliability of the sources from where the data is derived. Check if the conclusions are backed by data.

Step 4: Identify Assumptions

Ensure that you identify any underlying assumptions before you come to a conclusion. Consider others' assumptions from every angle along with yours to eradicate any biased decisions and to come up with the best solutions.

Step 5: Establish Significance

Include information that is useful and relevant. While conducting surveys, use a suitable sample size to determine if the outcomes affect many people.

Step 6: Make a Decision/Reach a Conclusion

Identify various conclusions that are possible. Decide which of them are sufficiently supported. Weigh their pros and cons. Making brash decisions can be risky as the lack of thought can lead you to lose resources in many ways.

Step 7: Present or Communicate

Present the conclusion to all stakeholders. Instead of being unprepared, try to structure your thoughts and develop an outline so that you do not miss out on any points. Articulating your thoughts correctly can earn you great respect in a workplace.

Key Takeaways

Critical thinking skills are applicable in both personal and professional lives. More often than not, they are mentioned in the job listings. Keep these points in mind while incorporating such skills into your resumes:

Use our career platform for a smooth resume-building experience. We provide a 24/7 online chat service for all your job & career-related queries. You can also reach out to us at [email protected] for any professional assistance.

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problem solving and critical thinking on resume

Critical Thinking Skills To Advance Your Career: Definitions and Examples

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What are critical thinking skills?

Common critical thinking skills at work, examples of listing critical thinking skills on a resume, tips to improve your critical thinking skills.

Critical thinking is an ability you have to reason logically, rationally and reflectively. Critical thinkers can identify problems by observation and research, question assumptions and analyze to resolve issues. Managers value employees who use critical thinking skills in the workplace to become efficient problem-solvers. In this article, you’ll learn about critical thinking skills and see skill examples to help you get hired.

Critical thinking skills are thought processes you can develop that help you analyze problems and resolve situations in an analytical, unbiased way. Critical thinking skills are often used at work during problem solving, conflict resolution, collaboration, interpretation and in leadership tasks.  

Here are common critical thinking skills with definitions used in at work:

To be accurate is to be free of errors or discrepancies. This means you are careful to choose the right word, double-check your numbers and statistics, and be precise about times and places to the best of your ability. Accounting, for example, is a profession in which accuracy is crucial to ensure that the finances of a company are in good order. Accuracy is also important in the scientific research, engineering and pharmacy industries.


Information seekers actively search for data, through research and observation, for making decisions rather than relying only on personal preference or a desired outcome. Other professions in which information gathering is crucial include journalism and law enforcement. For example, an office administrator planning a holiday party cannot just make a reservation at their favorite restaurant; instead, they must seek out quotes, find open dates from venues and ensure each employee can attend before choosing a day. 

Logical reasoning

Logical reasoning is using rational connections between things, events and people to make conclusions. A judge is an example of a career in which logical reasoning is important. A judge has to collect a vast amount of information from a wide variety of sources, decide which information is most reliable, and come up with a verdict accordingly. Other professions in which logical reasoning is important include computer scientist and psychologist.

To evaluate is to judge the quality of something. You might do this every day when you decide whether or not something you want to buy is worth the price. An antiques appraiser has to look at an object, study its history and documentation, and decide its value. Financial advisors and building site inspectors are other professions that requires evaluation.

This skill requires you to use the information you’ve gathered and the conclusions you have made to make a reasonable theory for what might happen next. Predicting is different from guessing because you can use information like a past experience to help make your prediction more likely. 

For example, an oncologist uses past data, research and their own experience to decide whether chemotherapy or surgery might have the best results for a particular patient. Other examples of professions in which predicting would be a good critical thinking skill include meteorologists and business analysts. 

The best way to demonstrate your critical thinking skills on a resume is by showing how you have practiced them in the past. Here are some examples of how to list critical thinking skills in the work experience section of your resume:

Example of observation, research and problem-solving

‘Researched and implemented a mobile phone app that parents and teachers used to reduce school pickup wait times by an average of 17 minutes.’

Example of communication and creativity

‘Created an ice-breaker evening event for junior analysts that included a scavenger hunt and skits; the event has since become an annual tradition and spread to all four branches.’

Example of research, evaluation and implementation

‘Analyzed customer service feedback surveys to identify three major areas of improvement, and organized trainings and course material accordingly.’

Example of predicting, reasoning and problem-solving

‘Adjusted inventory effectively to prepare for hurricane season, saving the grocery chain $1.2 million in wastage and improving profits by 30 percent.’

Here are popular ways that you can develop your critical thinking skills: 

Ask questions

Ask a lot of questions. Sometimes a situation that seems difficult to solve may not be if you ask questions to find out where the problem is coming from. Questioning is a way to continually gather evidence and find out why other people think or act the way they do. For example, if your team members miss a weekly meeting regularly, you can ask what their challenges are in attending the meeting, and find a way to make sure each person can attend. 

Think about your thinking

 It is important to examine your own thought patterns and assumptions to see if any prejudice or bias affects the way you tackle a problem. For example, if you have always worked in an office, you may feel that a fellow employee who works remotely is less productive than you. If you examine why you are thinking this way, it could be that you have only ever worked from an office, which is why home is synonymous with relaxation. However, if you objectively analyze that employee’s output and compare it to others who work from both home and the office, you will get hard data with which you can prove or disprove your assumption.

This applies to thought, perspectives and people. Always approaching problems with one set of tools, or always relying on one person’s advice, can only lead you to the same result each time. For better results, research alternate methods, talk to others in similar positions and even examine the viewpoints of those who oppose you. For example, if you are tasked with making a bicycle delivery in a new part of town, you might talk to others who live in the area to find out about shortcuts and look up different routes on map apps until you find one that best meets your needs.

Critical Thinking Definition, Skills, and Examples

problem solving and critical thinking on resume

Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment. It involves the evaluation of sources, such as data, facts, observable phenomena, and research findings.

Good critical thinkers can draw reasonable conclusions from a set of information, and discriminate between useful and less useful details to solve problems or make decisions. Employers prioritize the ability to think critically—find out why, plus see how you can demonstrate that you have this ability throughout the job application process. 

Why Do Employers Value Critical Thinking Skills?

Employers want job candidates who can evaluate a situation using logical thought and offer the best solution.

 Someone with critical thinking skills can be trusted to make decisions independently, and will not need constant handholding.

Hiring a critical thinker means that micromanaging won't be required. Critical thinking abilities are among the most sought-after skills in almost every industry and workplace. You can demonstrate critical thinking by using related keywords in your resume and cover letter, and during your interview.

Examples of Critical Thinking

The circumstances that demand critical thinking vary from industry to industry. Some examples include:

Promote Your Skills in Your Job Search

If critical thinking is a key phrase in the job listings you are applying for, be sure to emphasize your critical thinking skills throughout your job search.

Add Keywords to Your Resume

You can use critical thinking keywords (analytical, problem solving, creativity, etc.) in your resume. When describing your  work history , include top critical thinking skills that accurately describe you. You can also include them in your  resume summary , if you have one.

For example, your summary might read, “Marketing Associate with five years of experience in project management. Skilled in conducting thorough market research and competitor analysis to assess market trends and client needs, and to develop appropriate acquisition tactics.”

Mention Skills in Your Cover Letter

Include these critical thinking skills in your cover letter. In the body of your letter, mention one or two of these skills, and give specific examples of times when you have demonstrated them at work. Think about times when you had to analyze or evaluate materials to solve a problem.

Show the Interviewer Your Skills

You can use these skill words in an interview. Discuss a time when you were faced with a particular problem or challenge at work and explain how you applied critical thinking to solve it.

Some interviewers will give you a hypothetical scenario or problem, and ask you to use critical thinking skills to solve it. In this case, explain your thought process thoroughly to the interviewer. He or she is typically more focused on how you arrive at your solution rather than the solution itself. The interviewer wants to see you analyze and evaluate (key parts of critical thinking) the given scenario or problem.

Of course, each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully and focus on the skills listed by the employer.

problem solving and critical thinking on resume

Top Critical Thinking Skills

Keep these in-demand critical thinking skills in mind as you update your resume and write your cover letter. As you've seen, you can also emphasize them at other points throughout the application process, such as your interview. 

Part of critical thinking is the ability to carefully examine something, whether it is a problem, a set of data, or a text. People with  analytical skills  can examine information, understand what it means, and properly explain to others the implications of that information.


Often, you will need to share your conclusions with your employers or with a group of colleagues. You need to be able to  communicate with others  to share your ideas effectively. You might also need to engage in critical thinking in a group. In this case, you will need to work with others and communicate effectively to figure out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking often involves creativity and innovation. You might need to spot patterns in the information you are looking at or come up with a solution that no one else has thought of before. All of this involves a creative eye that can take a different approach from all other approaches.


To think critically, you need to be able to put aside any assumptions or judgments and merely analyze the information you receive. You need to be objective, evaluating ideas without bias.

Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another critical thinking skill that involves analyzing a problem, generating and implementing a solution, and assessing the success of the plan. Employers don’t simply want employees who can think about information critically. They also need to be able to come up with practical solutions.

More Critical Thinking Skills

Key Takeaways

University of Louisville. " What is Critical Thinking ."

American Management Association. " AMA Critical Skills Survey: Workers Need Higher Level Skills to Succeed in the 21st Century ."

Watch Now: 6 Skills That Set You Apart In Any Industry

problem solving and critical thinking on resume

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