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Analytical Skills: Definitions and Examples

Analytical skills are in demand in many industries and are commonly listed requirements in job
descriptions. Analytical thinking can help you investigate complex issues, make decisions and
develop solutions—and you likely already possess many analytical skills that employers value.
In this article, we’ll explore the definition of analytical thinking, how to identify which of these
skills you possess, and how to highlight these qualities during the hiring process.

What is analytical thinking?


Analytical thinking is observing and researching a problem or topic to develop more complex
ideas about it. Your analytical thinking should result in additional knowledge, solutions or ideas
related to the problem or topic.
The process usually involves several steps:
 Identifying a topic, problem or issue
 Gathering information
 Developing solutions or furthering your understanding of the topic
 Testing solutions or new ideas based on what you’ve learned
 Post-analysis, or reviewing what solutions worked, or assessing your new knowledge
A key element to analytical thinking is the ability to quickly identify cause and effect
relationships. This means understanding what might happen during the problem-solving process,
for example, and examining how new ideas relate to the original topic.
Most analytical thinking requires trial and error. Those with strong analytical thinking skills are
often capable of quickly analyzing a situation, topic or problem, and often work well in a team
setting to accomplish goals.

Why are analytical skills important?


Analytical skills are important because it allows you to find solutions to common problems and
make decisions about what actions to take next. Understanding problems and analyzing the
situation for viable solutions is a key skill in every position at every level. Developing this ability
can improve your work, help you achieve company goals and eventually support your personal
career goals.
If you are seeking a role specific to analytics such as a data analyst or lab analyst, you should
build analytical thinking skills specific to your industry. While analytical thinking is a soft skill,
analyst jobs will also require you to have specific hard skills that relate to the position. This also
applies to roles with required technical knowledge like nursing, engineering or scientific
research.
Many other jobs including computer programming, architecture, teaching and customer service,
regularly require the use of analytical skills.

Analytical skills list and examples


There are several analytical skills you may find valuable to include on your resume. Here are a
few examples:

1. Critical thinking
Critical thinkers are capable of identifying all aspects of a problem and understanding why a
problem exists. They will take the time to fully understand a problem in order to develop a
workable solution.
2. Data and Information Analysis
Data and information analysis is one of the primary parts of analytical thinking. Once a problem
is identified, it’s important to know how to review and analyze the data or information that will
be essential to solving the problem.

3. Research
Research is an integral part of the analytical thinking process. Once a problem is identified, it’s
important to perform research for a solution. Research can be as simple as asking a co-worker or
manager who may have more knowledge of the problem, to more extensive online searches
through official sources. Part of the research process also involves knowing what information is
valuable or essential to solving the problem.

4. Communication
It is essential to be in constant communication with stakeholders while identifying problems,
developing solutions, carrying out research, and discussing results. Once a problem or solution is
identified, communicating it out to an individual, team or company is essential to achieve the end
goal. Transferring this information clearly and thoroughly is a key skill in the analytical thinking
process.

5. Problem solving
After a problem, situation or area of improvement is identified and research is complete, it is
important to solve for a solution. You will use analytical thinking skills to sort and organize data
uncovered during the research phase to find a reasonable and effective solution with problem-
solving skills.

How to improve your analytical skills


Improving your analytical skills can help you achieve various career goals. Highlighting your
analytical skills on your resume and during your interview can also help you stand out as a
candidate in the hiring process when applying for jobs.
To improve your analytical skills, consider taking some of the following steps:
 Take on leadership roles that require the use of critical analytical skills
 Practice key analytical skills in your current role
 Take classes that emphasize the use of analytical skills
 Participate in activities that require the use of analytical skills such as team sports, games
or reading
 Seek advice or mentorship from professionals in your field or desired industry
 Conduct research on best practices for your industry
 Improve your subject-matter knowledge, which is essential to faster problem-solving
Take some time to consider which analytical skills you possess and those where you have room
for improvement. Write down specific times when you used analytical skills to improve
something or solve a problem whether it was at work, in a volunteer position or in school.

How to highlight your analytical skills


Once you have a good understanding of your current analytical skills, work them into the job
application process including your resume and interview answers.
On your resume
There are three places in your resume where you can include analytical skills including your
summary or objective, professional history, and skills sections.
For example, you may write a summary section that mentions how you’ve used analytical skills:
Summary
An experienced and attentive nursing assistant with a proven ability to quickly and
efficiently identify and solve patient needs.
In your professional work history section, you can include analytical skills in specific
achievements on the job:
Professional History
Nursing Assistant, Jefferson Medical Center
September 2014–Present
o Offered first-line patient care
o Researched proper medications per patient to avoid medical complications
o Offered after-hours and emergency care as needed
You should also include key analytical skills as part of your skills section:
Skills
Accounting skills: CNA • CPR certified • Knowledge of common prescription
medications • Working knowledge of HIPAA • Fast and efficient problem-solver • Active
communicator

In your cover letter


Your cover letter is a great place to elaborate on your analytical skills. After reviewing the job
description, select a specific story you can tell about a time when you used analytical skills that
is relevant to the employer. Relate your story back to the job and why it makes you a strong
candidate for the position.

In the job interview


During the job interview phase, you should provide detailed responses about how you used your
analytical skills in the past and how it improved or solved issues for previous employers. You
might also be able to show your analytical skills through pre-employment assessments some
employers use to filter candidates. These are more common in technical roles such as data
analysts or developers.
Related: How to Prepare for a Behavioral Interview

On the job
Once you get an offer and begin working, you can begin using and improving your analytical
skills on the job. Offer to help solve problems when they arise and be proactive in identifying
problems and solutions. You might also volunteer for team or individual assignments that give
you an opportunity to display the analytical skills you possess or have been working to improve.
Every industry requires analytical thinkers who can identify problems, evaluate those problems
and develop solutions. Before applying for jobs, identify your analytical strengths and highlight
them during the application process. Then, work to refine your analytical skills and develop new
ones as you grow in your career.
Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
In job descriptions, employers often ask for a combination of hard and soft skills. Hard skills are
related to specific technical knowledge and training while soft skills are personality traits such as
leadership, communication or time management. Both types of skills are necessary to
successfully perform and advance in most jobs.
Below, we’ll explain the difference between hard and soft skills, examples of each, and how to
highlight your skills on your resume and in interviews.

What’s the difference between hard skills and soft skills?


The key differences between hard skills and soft skills are how they are gained and put to use in
the workplace. Hard skills are often gained through education or specific training. They include
competencies like how to use a certain machine, software or other tool. Soft skills are more often
seen as personality traits you may have spent your whole life developing. They are called upon
when you manage your time, communicate with other people or confront a difficult situation for
the first time. Put another way, hard skills could be defined as your technical knowledge whereas
soft skills are your overall habits in the workplace.

What are hard skills?


Hard skills are technical knowledge or training that you have gained through any life
experience, including in your career or education. For example:
 If you’ve worked in food service or retail, you may know how to use a point-of-sale
system.
 If you taken an accounting class, you may know how to use Microsoft Excel.
 If you’ve studied a foreign language, you may be able to speak it fluently.
Every job will require certain technical skills specific to that industry. If you want to work as an
architect, for example, you will need to know how to use drafting software. The National
Council of Architectural Registration Boards also requires architects to be licensed. The NCARB
maintains the Architectural Registration Examination, a series of tests required of architects that
test different technical skills necessary for the work.
Many other industries have such tests in place, requiring prior knowledge and skills essential for
career success. Other employers may have the availability to teach certain technical skills on the
job.
You can learn more about the requirements of different jobs and the skills employers are looking
for on Indeed Inspire. Begin by selection a top-level job category and drill down to find specific
job titles and their definitions.

Hard skills list


Some of the most in-demand hard skills include:
 Bilingual or multilingual
 Database management
 Adobe software suite
 Network security
 SEO/SEM marketing
 Statistical analysis
 Data mining
 Mobile development
 User interface design
 Marketing campaign management
 Storage systems and management
 Programming languages (such as Perl, Python, Java, and Ruby)

What are soft skills?


Soft skills are personal habits and traits that shape how you work, on your own and with others.
Effective communication, for example, is a key soft skill many employers seek. Some others
include dependability, effective teamwork and active listening.
Soft skills are essential to your career and as you search for jobs. While hard skills necessary to
successfully perform technical tasks in a job, soft skills are necessary to create a positive and
functional work environment. For this reason, employers often seek individuals who possess
proven soft and hard skills. Some employers may prefer to select candidates who have a stronger
set of soft skills over hard skills, as soft skills are at times more difficult to develop.
For example, you may be seeking a job in Human Resources but lack prior knowledge of data
analysis tools. If you have references that can attest to the effectiveness of your soft skills, such
as empathy, open-mindedness and communication, an employer may choose you over another
candidate whose hard skills are stronger but who lacks the same level of soft skills.

Soft skills list


Some of the most in-demand soft skills include:
 Integrity
 Dependability
 Effective communication
 Open-mindedness
 Teamwork
 Creativity
 Problem-solving
 Critical thinking
 Adaptability
 Organization
 Willingness to learn
 Empathy

How to include hard and soft skills on a resume


When updating or creating your resume, you might consider including a “Skills” section that
highlights your abilities most relevant to the position. This is especially important for positions
with specific technical skills requirements. For clues on what to include and prioritize in your
skills section, carefully review the job posting you’re applying for. Hard and soft skills the
employers wants to see might be found in the “requirements,” “education” or “desired skills”
sections of the post.
Hard skills and soft skills are both necessary to find career success. Although people gain and
develop these skills in different ways, you can learn and develop both hard and soft skills prior to
applying for jobs.

How to highlight your skills throughout the interview process


Once you make it to the interview phase, you will have an opportunity to display your soft skills
and elaborate more on your hard skills. You may be asked to display your hard skills with a test
or portfolio.
You can highlight key soft skills by:
 Showing up on time or early to the interview (punctuality or dependability)
 Maintaining eye contact (active listening)
 Speaking clearly when prompted (effective communication)
 Answering questions about your resume and experience honestly (integrity)
 Asking follow-up questions (active listening)
You can highlight your hard skills by:
 Elaborating on your experience and training
 Providing a portfolio (digital or physical)
 Effectively answering technical questions related to the work
 Asking follow-up questions related to the work
 Effectively working through skills tests (if required at the interview)
The most effective way to showcase your hard and soft skills is to share specific stories from
your past experience that directly relates to the requirements of the job you’re interviewing for.
When you’re telling a story, begin by presenting the situation, describe the task at hand, explain
the actions you took and end with the result you achieved. This is called the STAR technique and
it is a recommended method for providing examples with structure your interviewers can easily
understand.
5 Of The Best-Performing Analytical Skills For Your Resume

If you’re in business, technology, or even education, you’ve likely heard of analytical skills. The
term has become a modern buzzword that effectively piques the attention of many executives
and hiring managers.
Why? Because analytical skills have become the standard by which job applicants are being
measured.
These highly sought after practical thinking skills can easily transfer not only between industry
fields, but between the realms of your personal and professional lives.
But just what are analytical skills? And why do they matter?
What Does It Mean To Have Strong Analytical Skills?

Analytical skills, while practical in nature, mostly involve your ability to perceive, organize, and
assimilate information.
Simply put: analytical skills are problem-solving skills. They’re a collection of traits and
abilities that emphasize a logical, rational approach to tackling new ideas, sorting information,
and discovering creative solutions.
Having a natural inclination toward logical thinking certainly helps, but it isn’t necessary. An
analytical skill is just that: a skill! And skills can be learned.
Here are a few examples of common analytical skills:
 Communication
 Budgeting
 Data analysis
 Diagnostics
 Creativity
 Metrics
 Organization
 Research
 Analyzing
 Reporting
 Troubleshooting
You may have an inherent talent for thinking and strategizing – and that’s great! But rest
assured, even if problem-solving doesn’t come naturally to you, these skills can be
developed.
Why are analytical skills so important?
Analytical skills are useful in many ways. Developing analytical skills won’t just give you a leg
up at work — they will help you become a better problem solver in many different areas of your
life.
However, one of the real reasons these thinking skills have become such a hot topic is because of
how invaluable they are in the workplace.
Employers are increasingly interested in the analytical thinking skills of their employees and
potential hires. Workshops are hosted to develop facets of critical thinking. Seminars are
provided that seeks to encourage collaborative problem-solving.
While analytical skills are certainly useful at home, they’re a powerful commodity within the
workplace, which is why identifying what analytical skills you already have at your disposal
will help nurture your inherent potential.
How do you assess analytical skills?
As you can see, it is highly beneficial to have good analytical skills. And, naturally, there are
some questions that can help you assess your skills or the skills of your potential employees.
Here are a few questions to ask:
1. What did you do when you had a problem to solve but didn’t have all the information
you needed?
2. How do you weigh a decision based on pros and cons?
3. How do you choose between multiple options when you like all of them equally?
4. You have a lot of work to do, but not enough time? How do you prioritize your time?
5. How do you solve a fight with someone who just doesn’t want to listen?

What Analytical Skills Do You Have?

Think you don’t have any analytical thinking skills?


Think again!
You’d be surprised at how savvy a problem solver you truly are!
Analytical thinking skills are about a lot more than creative solutions to tricky conundrums.
If you’d like to find out more about your critical thinking skills, why not try an online analytical
reasoning test? This is a good way to discern where your natural talents lie, and where you may
need to invest some time improving your skills.
What Are Examples Of Analytical Skills?

If you want your credentials to be as competitive as can be, you’ll need to add some strong
analytical skills to your resume.
Executives and hiring managers love to see that you can exemplify these abilities. Anyone of
these skills will look fantastic on a resume,but the more you’re able to confidently exhibit, the
better!
1. Effective research
Being able to effectively research and gather data is an invaluable analytical skill, and
gathering the right information from the right sources isn’t always easy.
As an effective researcher, you need to know what’s relevant and what isn’t. You need to
know what sources are reputable, and which aren’t. You need to stay focused on the task at hand,
and not gather extraneous data.
Assembling information in a timely manner is important to your manager because it means the
company’s time is being utilized well.
Demonstrate that you can wield this analytical skill and your resume will shine.
2. Data analysis
The next step after curating your information is being able to analyze it. This is where critical
thinking comes into play.
Analyzing data may sound super technical, but don’t worry! This is something we actually do
each and every day, both in and out of the workplace. Data analysis is simply the ability to find
and detect patterns in a volume of information.
Being a competent data analyst means you’re able to look at a collection of data and discern
where logical patterns and sequences emerge.
Data analysis comes in many forms, so see where you can detect your own inner analyst at work
in your everyday life!
3. Efficient problem solving
Problem-solving isn’t just about finding a solution. It’s about being able to identify that
there’s a problem in the first place.
Sometimes, projects are sidelined by simple, small problems that were allowed to snowball into
catastrophic monstrosities. An effective problem solver might have been able to detect the
presence of such a hitch before it became a true hindrance.
Once a problem has been identified, critical analysis and a rational deduction will help you
solve it. Try to find the most efficient, practical solution available. If your options are few, try
some outside the box thinking and create something entirely new and unique.
4. Creative thinking
This ties in well with being an efficient problem solver. Creative thinking is an analytical skill
that’s highly valued and very transferrable.
Nurturing your inner wellspring of creativity will help you tackle challenging problems. It will
also encourage you to try alternative methods and inventive approaches that may help streamline
the problem-solving process.
Being a creative thinker means you are able to see a problem from a different vantage
point than most. This makes you an invaluable asset to the team.
5. Compelling communication
Being able to solve problems, think analytically and spot trends are all useful skills in and of
themselves. But they require something else, something more to facilitate their effectiveness in
the workplace:
Communication.
Without communication, we’re unable to make our ideas heard. Without communication, we’re
unable to share our other analytical skills with our teammates, our co-workers, or our project
managers.
Whether it be written or verbal, we must be able to communicate our thoughts. As an effective
communicator, we can facilitate the potency of all our other analytical skills.

How To Include Analytical Skills On Your Resume

Now that you know what hiring managers are looking for, you know exactly what to add to your
resume.
But — how?
Besides compiling a laundry list of buzzwords and tossing them into your CV, how can these
skills be demonstrated and displayed?
In other words: what’s the best way to integrate analytical skills into your resume?
Well, to weave analytical skills seamlessly into your credentials, you’ll need to identify the times
in which you’ve displayed an effective use of these skills.
What job experiences have you had in which you had to use critical thinking? Data analysis?
Creative problem-solving?
Once you know which relevant job experiences you’ve had that directly relate to analytical
thinking skills, find a way to include them in the description of the work you did!
Carefully pick apart your resume to find spots where you can slide in a reference to an analytical
skill or two. The next hiring manager you meet will definitely notice, and you may just get the
call for that second interview sooner than you were expecting!
7 STEPS TO IMPROVE Y OUR ANALYTICAL THINK ING SKILLS
October 19, 2017 | Career Transition
H o w a r e yo u r a n a l y t i c a l s k i l l s ? A n a l yt i c a l t h i n k i n g s k i l l s , l i k e a n y o t h e r
s k i l l s , a r e n a t u r a l t o s o m e b u t n o t i n n a t e t o e v e r yo n e . Y o u m u s t h a v e a
keen interest, a sense of drive, and perseverance to learn about a certain
t o p i c t o a c q u i r e t h i s s k i l l . A f t e r a l l , c u l t i v a t i n g a n a n a l yt i c a l s k i l l s e t i s a
skill like an y other that takes honing and application. If you’re ready to
e n h a n c e yo u r a n a l y t i c a l s k i l l s , t h e n r e a d o n .
WHY DO YOU NEED ANALYT ICAL THINKING SKILLS AT WORK?
A n a l yt i c a l t h i n k i n g s k i l l s a r e c r i t i c a l i n t h e w o r k p l a c e . I t i s e s s e n t i a l f o r
gathering data, solving complex problems, making rational decisions, as
well as summarising data and executing well-thought-out projects. When
y o u ’ r e a p p l yi n g f o r a j o b , a l o t o f h i r i n g m a n a g e r s l o o k a t t h i s p a r t i c u l a r
s k i l l a l o n g w i t h o t h e r h i g h l y d e s i r e d j o b s k i l l s t o d e t e r m i n e i f yo u ’ r e a
g o o d f i t f o r t h e c o m p a n y. C l e a r l y, t h i s i s a s k i l l t h a t e v e r y e m p l o ye e
should gain and sharpen to be able to climb up the career ladder.
7 STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR ANALYTICAL THINKING SKILLS
I f yo u t h i n k yo u r a n a l yt i c a l t h i n k i n g s k i l l s n e e d s o m e b r u s h i n g u p o r yo u
j u s t w a n t t o i m p r o v e i t , h e r e a r e s o m e s t r a t e g i e s yo u c a n d o :
Be Observant
T a k e a w a l k o u t s i d e o r o b s e r v e p e o p l e i n yo u r o f f i c e . U s e a s m a n y o f yo u r
s e n s e s , s e e w h a t ’ s h a p p e n i n g a r o u n d y o u . I s t h e r e a n yt h i n g t h a t i n t e r e s t s
y o u ? R e m e m b e r yo u h a v e t o a c t i v e l y e n g a g e yo u r m i n d .
Read Books
O n c e a g a i n , t h e k e y t o i m p r o v i n g yo u r a n a l yt i c a l t h i n k i n g s k i l l i s t o k e e p
your mind active and running. Read books and try to work on an active
r e a d i n g s t r a t e g y: p r o a c t i v e l y r e a d a n d d i g e s t a n d q u e s t i o n w h a t yo u ’ r e
reading. You can highlight, raise questions, read aloud or make
p r e d i c t i o n s t o s t a y e n g a g e d w i t h yo u r r e a d i n g m a t e r i a l .
Learn How Things Work
Don’t just find the solution but know how exactly certain things work. By
s c r u t i n i z i n g h o w t h i n g s w o r k , yo u w i l l h a v e a b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e
p r o c e s s w h i c h i s v i t a l i n s t i m u l a t i n g y o u r a n a l yt i c a l s k i l l s .
Ask Questions
D i d yo u k n o w t h a t c u r i o s i t y m a k e s u s s m a r t e r ? A c c o r d i n g t o
Neuroscientist Aracelli Carmago, “The more curious we are about a
subject, the more it engages our cognitive functions, such as attention and
m e m o r y. ” W i t h t h a t s a i d , a s k i n g m o r e q u e s t i o n s c a n h e l p d e v e l o p b e t t e r
problem-solving skills, retention, and memory of a subject. So don’t be
s h y t o a s k q u e s t i o n s , e s p e c i a l l y i f yo u r q u e r y i s v a l i d .
Play Brain Games
I f yo u w a n t t o i m p r o v e yo u r a n a l yt i c a l t h i n k i n g s k i l l s , i t m a y b e t i m e t o
play Sudoku or other brain games like puzzles, chess, or crosswords. The
b e s t p a r t o f w o r k i n g o n b r a i n g a m e s t o d e v e l o p yo u r a n a l yt i c a l s k i l l s e t i s
it is fun and doesn’t require a lot of motivation to get started.
Practice Your Problem Solving Skills
Keep in mind that for every problem, there is a solution. Visualize and be
articulate in the presentation of a particular concept. Prepare two, three
or even more solutions to a problem. And, if possible, do test runs on
those solutions. See which one is the best and the most logical.
Think About Your Decisions
Making important decisions at work is very common. Thus, think hard and
r a t i o n a l i z e yo u r d e c i s i o n s . W h a t a r e t h e p r o s a n d c o n s o f yo u r d e c i s i o n ?
Ask for an expert opinion if available or do extensive research. Ask
yourself, is this the best solution for this problem? Take a step back to
r e t h i n k i t a b i t m o r e , a n d t h e n yo u c a n f i n a l l y d e c i d e .
A t t h e e n d o f t h e d a y, l i k e a n y s k i l l d e v e l o p m e n t , yo u h a v e t o a l o t o f
p r a c t i c e a n d a p p l i c a t i o n . L e a r n f r o m y o u r e v e r yd a y e x p e r i e n c e s . T h e n ,
p r a c t i c e yo u r a n a l y t i c a l s k i l l s u n t i l i t c o m e s n a t u r a l l y.

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How would one define analytical skills?

What are analytical skills and why are they so important? Analytical skills are the ability to
visualize, gather information, articulate, analyze, solve complex problems, and make decisions
Analytical skills are essential in the workplace to ensure necessary problem solving occurs to
keep productivity and other areas of the workforce functioning smoothly.
Testing Analytical Skills
If you were to test for analytical skills you might be asked to take a series of events and put them
in proper sequence, look for advertisement inconsistencies, or read an essay with a critical eye.
There are generally standardized tests used as a guideline. In all instances analytical skills
require you to dissect a problem and then find a solution for that problem. There are many skills
required within a company and its workforce, but analytical skills are essential in every
organization.

Examples of Good Analytical Skills


Let’s have a look at some way examples of analytical skills and how they might apply in a work
environment. There are many examples of analytical skills. A few examples include:

Analyzing abilities: The ability to take a large volumes of data and then analyze trends and
produce a result
Dealing with problems: Give examples of problem solving at work
Programming: Write a systems program with accurate results output
Reporting: A written report on the effectiveness of a particular event such as a political campaign
Handling assignments effectively: Discovering a more efficient and productive way to complete
a particular job task.
Process: Creating a set of steps to implement a process that could have a yes or no outcome.
Problem handler: Identifying a problem and then creating a repair to avoid it becoming a major
problem.
Collect information, analyze the data from the information collected, and come up with a
solution to a problem.
Interview Questions to Determine Your Analytical Skills
The following are some job interview questions to probe these skills of a candidate.

What would be the steps you would follow to study a problem and then make a final judgment
on?
Talk to me about a time when you discovered a more efficient method to carry out a particular
work related task.
Can you give me an example of a smaller problem that you identified and fixed before it could
turn into a major problem?
Describe a task that you undertook that tested your analytical abilities.
Do you recall a problem you analyzed that required a quick and easy solution?
Can you recall a situation where your analytical outcome was incorrect and if you could do it
again what would you handle differently?
What is the most complex analytical assignment you have undertaken to date?
Having Strong Analytical Skills – Improving Analytical Skills
If you want to improve and develop your analytical skills you simply have to practice, after all
practice makes perfect.
Take time to do a variety of different analytical questions.

Where can you develop your skills?


Online practice: There are plenty of sites online that offer free challenges and of course you can
also invest in a number of books that improve analytical skills.
Professional development at workplaces: Many workplaces also offer seminars and other
training to help improve analytical skills. Be sure to sign up. This is a skill that will benefit you
throughout your career.
“Analyze your life your love your future with your improved analytical skills.”
Analytical Skills
You probably already know that strong analytical skills and analytical thinking are among the
most required business abilities widely used in job resumes and cover letters. But what exactly
they are and how to improvethem?
On this page you will learn:
 What are analytical skills?
Definition and examples.
 A complete list of analytical thinking skills.
 How to improve your analytical abilities?
Ultimate guide with tips and examples.
 Careers and jobs for people with strong analytical skills and traits.
The quality of our lives depends on the quality of our logical and analytical thinking and on how
good we are in decision-making and problem-solving.

What are Analytical Skills?

Analytical skills are the ability to collect, gather,


visualize and analyze information in details. They include also the ability to see a problem or
situation from different points of view.
Analytical skills allow you to solve complex problems by making decisions in the most effective
way. That is way analytical thinking became one of the crucial skills in the workplace with a
vital role in every type of business field.
For example: If you are a business management developer your main goals are to find business
opportunities for market growth and to increase sales.
To achieve that you have to be able to gather and analyze information about company’s current
position and to build a plan and strategies for business developing. If you do not possess strong
analytical skills, it would be a mission impossible.
Fortunately, analytical skills can be learned.
They can be improved with practice!
Analytical Skills List
When it comes to analytical skills, there are many examples that can be given. Here are some of
the most important of them:
1. The Ability to Collect the Right Information
Yes, it is sound simple. But it is not. It’s not just about collecting lots of information.
You have to be able to gather and collect the right information required for a specific situation.
Collecting information is the beginning of the analytical process.
Information is a great power! If you gather the right information, you have a better chance to
resolve the problem.
If you collect wrong or unnecessary information, it will have a negative influence on the whole
analytical process and you may come up with a wrong solution to the problem.
Here are some useful tips on how to collect the right information:
 Determine exactly what you want to know.
 List down all possible sources of information.
 Determine which are the best sources of information and which are just useful.
 Determine the methods and ways of collecting information. For example, if you are in the
marketing area, online survey tools are a great way to collect information.
 Determine gaps in your knowledge and try to fill these gaps.
 Think about who will use this information – only you or some of your colleagues and
managers and etc.
2. Numeracy Skills
Numeracy skills are basic mathematical skills that include a range of abilities to understand and
analyze numerical information and to make the right conclusions and decisions.
They also include the ability to express ideas and situations using numerical or mathematical
information.
Mathematics is a science with a key role for a career of the people who deal with technology,
finance, IT, banking, engineering – all professions related to analytical thinking.
Numeracy skills are some of the vital analytical skills. Examples are:
 Knowledge of numbers and figures;
 Understanding relationships between numbers;
 Interpreting mathematical information;
 Ability to remember;
 Visual perception of information;
 Ability to organize information;
 Argumentation and logical thinking;
 Calculation skills;
 Understanding trends (for example with the help of data visualization software,);
 Scheduling or budgeting (for example with the help of project scheduling software and
etc.);
 Measurement and data analysis;
 Working with graphical information and different graphical software such as Gantt
chart software, flowchart software;
3. Strategic Thinking Skills
Strategic thinking is the ability to know what you want to achieve and how to achieve it.
On a business level, strategy thinking means that you are able to come up with effective plans to
resolve a situation or to achieve a company’s goal.
It allows us to manage better our personal and business life and to achieve different types of
success.
Examples of strategic thinking skills:
 Clear vision about what you want to achieve.
 Understand and analyze your current position and resources.
 Prioritization.
 Develop a strategic action plan.
 Being flexible.
 The ability to learn.
 Understand underlying processes with the help of business process management
software.
4. Attention to Detail Skills
Attention to detail skills is a crucial analytical skill.
What is attention to detail?
To pay attention means to focus on an action or thing. In business aspect, attention to detail
definition includes the ability to concentrate on a task.
Detail-oriented strengths give you the ability to see hidden details and connections when you
analyze situations, to be more effective and to minimize the risk of errors.
Companies value and require these strengths, that’s why many people include attention to detail
capacity on their resumes, CV and job applications.
Example of attention to details skills:
 Organization skills
 Time management skills
 Observation skills
 Active listening skills
5. Technical skills
In our information and high technology era, good technical skills and knowledge are a must for
all level of management and job positions.
Go to top
If you want to improve and develop your analytical skills, you have to be able to work
effectively with a wide range of software programs, applications, hardware, and devices.

How to improve my analytical skills?


When it comes to analytical thinking, the key question is “How to improve my analytical
skills?“. Which factors correlate with developing my analytical thinking?
Every one of us naturally possesses some kind of analytical abilities. But they are not enough.
Analytical thinking gives the mankind opportunities to evaluate and create.
We want to be more successful! We want to make the right decisions! We want to resolve
problems in the most effective way!
That is way, we need to learn, develop and improve our analytical skills.
And there are many ways to do that. Here you will see some of the best of them:
1. Learn to be more observant
When it comes to analytical thinking, it starts with attention to detail and observation. You have
to be able to see hidden details and connections!
Use every moment (when it is possible to you) to observe the situation and environment.
Examples:
 Example 1: When you are going for a walk in the park, pay attention to what’s happening
around you. What do you see? Do you see green grass? How green is it – dark or bright
green? Do you think this grass have enough water or it needs to be watered?
These questions may sound strange and silly, but they are not! These details are crucial for
the grass and the park as a whole (not enough watered will destroy grass and will have a
negative impact on the beauty of the park).
And the ability to see the crucial hidden details is what makes a person good analyst!
 Example 2: When you read a newspaper or a website page, pay attention to details. What
are the colors? Is design attractive or boring? Is the text formal or informal? Can you tell
how many text colors we use on the page you are reading now? What do you think we
want to achieve with the design?
Observation and asking yourself questions are key factors fo developing and improving
analytical skills and thinking.
2. Practice describing a process step-by-step
Pick a process and describe it in written form with any details that come to your mind.
Examples:
 Example 1: Before your are going to visit a friend, right down a plan in details and define
the process step-by-step. In your plan, you may include: 1. when you will get up in the
morning, 2. what transport you will use, 3. what and when you will buy a present….
Try to write down more deeply details such as what you will tell him when he opens the
door, how you will say “hello” with a smile or not, and etc.
Here again, deeply details are in the core of the analytical thinking. Deeply details
are those details that look ordinary and no one pays attention to them.
But if you want to improve analytical skills, your main goals are to see the depth.
Practicing step-by-step thinking goes hand-by-hand with improving analytical skills.
3. Try to find a relation between two completely different objects
Search for hidden connections! Hidden connections are what you have to see with ease if you
are want to be a person with good analytical skills.
Examples:
 Example 1: A table and a lamp.On first sight, they have a completely different purpose.
But look deeply.
The two of them are making our life more convenient and easy. The two of them can be a
part of a beautiful room design.
There are mobile lamps that can be put on the table for more light.
As you see, these two objects not only have something in common but they can work
together to make improvements to our life.
Finding not obvious connections between two objects are crucial from problem-solving and
decision-making. Practice regularly if you want to improve your analytical thinking.
4. Play analytical games
There are so many games that can help you improve your analytical skills.
Some of the most popular examples of analytical games are:
 Chess;
 Puzzle;
 Backgammon Table;
 Any kind of strategy games;
 Other online analytical games.
There are many websites dedicated to online games suitable for those who want to develop
analytical thinking.
5. Learn brain and memory training from courses, books, and other sources
Learning from courses or reading the appropriate books is always one of the best ways to learn
new skills!
Here are some high rated online courses you can use to learn how to train your brain and
memory:
1) Brain Science: Improve Your Memory & Boost Your Memory
This Udemy online course is fully accredited by a globally recognized CPD body, the
Continuing Professional Development Standards Agency. The course will provide you with very
useful, and easy to do methods to improve your memory.
2) Master Your Mindset & Brain: Framestorm Your Way to Success:
This course is very easy to understand and thought provocative. It helps individuals and teams
grow their mental flexibility and self-regulation.
3) Master your brain: Neuroscience for personal development
Discover how this approach can help with stress, self-confidence, motivation, change,
communication, relations, …

6. Other ways and tips to develop your skills of a good analyst


The listed and described above methods for developing your thinking abilities are the most
common. Here is a list of more ideas:
 Try to paint an idea that you have or an action that your are going to do.
 Try to make graphics of different trends by years or months.
 List down different arguments for an idea or a point of view you have.
 List down possible solutions for different problems (for example write solutions for a
problem of your best friend).
 Explain different things to kids or to your friends.
 Make lists of pros and cons your decisions or ideas you have.
The more you practice, the more your brain accustom to analytical thinking. Do not forget that
the practice makes perfection!
For more ideas and information you can read the post “Problem Solving and Analytical Skills”
by The University of Kent.

Careers and Jobs for People with Strong Analytical Skills


All kind of professions, jobs and careers required some analytical mind and ability to think
logically.
But there are some jobs in a close relationship with analytical traits and thinking. You know that
many companies put in their job descriptions phrases such as “strong analytical skills are
required“.
If you like solving problems and don’t mind to resolve complicated tasks, there are a list of
suitable jobs for you. If you are serious about analytical and logical thinking, it is a good idea to
follow high IQ societies and organizations such as
If you are serious about analytical and logical thinking, it is a good idea to follow high IQ
societies and organizations such as Mensa.
So, you are a person who has developed analytical skills. What careers might be good for you?
Here are some suggestions.
Examples :
 Business Analyst;
 Data Analyst;
 Data Architect;
 Data Scientist;
 Building Engineer;
 Marketing Analyst;
 Project Manager;
 Accountant;
 Financial Analyst;
 Business Developer;
 IT Developer;
 Programmer;
 Detective;
 Statistician;
 Mathematician;
 Lawyer;
 Doctor;
 Scientist
So, we can summarize the business fields: Enjeenering, Project Management, Computers
(Information Technology), Accounting and Finance, Science, Law, and Medicine.
All professions of the future!

What Are Analytical Skills and


How to Strengthen Them For
Success
Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making
better decisions that inch them closer to success. These individuals are not ruled by
emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome
challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

What Are Analytical Skills?


According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., former veteran of the CIA, “thinking analytically is a
skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can
improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom
and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”[1]
Analytical skill can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in
schools.[2] It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and
processing information. Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

• Visualization – Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict


the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. On a professional setting, visualization
involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and
detailed lists.

• Critical Thinking – Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured
by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to
evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed
by emotions. As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding
loopholes in proposed solutions.

• Computing – Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if
you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses
other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations. In
business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any
given strategy.

• Problem-Solving – Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand
problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates
to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between
objectives.

• Resource Management – Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource


management depending on the task at hand. For example, professionals with a tight
schedule is must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of
the most important resources in the world. Business leaders, on the other hand, must
know how manage company resources, including cash and manpower.

Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements
of a specific situation. For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may
refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for
optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand. The skill
set above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth


Opportunities
There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if
you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training
your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying
away from negligible actions you will regret.
For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to
decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part
of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business,
success will come – right?

If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.
What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a
new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to
make a profit? Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your
business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills


There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical
skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help
sharpen critical thinking.[3] Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education
has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[4]

But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s
why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself. Below are a few
strategies to get you started:

1. Ideate Business Ideas – Developing a profitable business idea, whether you


pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research,
computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan. You can organize
your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will
allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on
roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

2. Leverage Analytical Tools – Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage
other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint,
for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget
with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task
management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

3. Have a Personal Learning Library – Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal


amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and
train your visualization muscles. Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube,
for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content. For a
personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from
educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if
you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning
platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

4. Participate in Online Communities – The internet is a great place to share


experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded
individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic
imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship. For structured debates, you can
head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

5. Seek Mental Stimulation – To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in
mentally stimulating activities such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great
resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by
teams of scientists and game designers.

6. Keep a Personal Journal – Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take
a second look at everything that happened in your day.[5] Remember that writing about
learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help
you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and
what you can do to improve in the future.

As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work,
school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s
problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing
between you and your goals.

Reference
[1] ^ M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
[2] ^ Lifehack: 15 Things You’re Not Taught In School That Determine Your Success
[3] ^ KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
[4] ^ Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability
[5] ^ Lifehack: Journal Writing: 5 Smart Reasons Why YOU Should Start doing it TODAY