Critical Thinking Skills List and Examples
Critical Thinking Skills and Keywords for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews
Critical thinking is one of the most sought after qualities that employers look for in job candidates in almost any industry. Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment.
Read below for a list of critical thinking skills that employers are looking for in resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Included is a detailed list of five of the most important critical thinking skills, as well as an even longer list of critical thinking skills.
Also see below for information on how to demonstrate your critical thinking skills during your job search.
Why Employers Value Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking involves the evaluation of sources such as data, facts, observable phenomenon, and research findings. Good critical thinkers can draw reasonable conclusions from a set of information and discriminate between useful and less useful details for solving a problem or making a decision.
This is important for almost any job in any industry. Employers want job candidates who can evaluate a situation using logical thought and come up with the best solution. Someone with critical thinking skills can be trusted to make decisions on his or her own, and will not need constant handholding.
Examples of critical thinking vary depending on the industry. For example, a triage nurse would use critical thinking skills to analyze the cases at hand and decide the order in which the patients should be treated.
A plumber would use critical thinking skills to evaluate which materials would best suit a particular job. An attorney would review the evidence and use critical thinking to help devise a strategy to win a case or to decide whether to settle out of court.
How to Use Skills Lists
If critical thinking is a key phrase in the job listings you are applying for, you want to emphasize your critical thinking skills throughout your job search.
Include this phrase and related terms in your resumes, cover letters, and interviews.
Firstly, you can use these critical thinking skill words in your resume. In the description of your work history, you can use some of these key words. You can also include them in your resume summary, if you have one.
Secondly, you can use these in your cover letter. In the body of your letter, you can mention one or two of these skills, and give a specific example of a time when you demonstrated those skills at work. Think about times when you had to analyze or evaluate materials to solve a problem.
Finally, you can use these skill words in an interview. Be ready to mention a particular problem or challenge at work, and explain how you applied critical thinking to solve the issue. Try to use some of the keywords listed below in your answers to questions.
Some interviewers will even 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 answer rather than the answer itself. The interviewer wants to see you use analysis and evaluation (key parts of critical thinking).
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.
Also review our other lists of skills listed by job and type of skill.
Top Five Critical Thinking Skills
Part of thinking critical 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, and then understand what it means, and what it represents.
Often, you will need to share your conclusions with your employers or with a group of colleagues. You need to be able to clearly communicate with others to share your ideas. You might also need to engage in critical thinking with 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 some level of creativity. 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.
To think critically, you need to be able to put aside any assumptions or judgments, and simply analyze the information you are given. You need to be objective, evaluating ideas without bias.
Problem solving is another important critical-thinking skill that involves analyzing a problem, generating a solution, and implementing and then assessing that plan. After all, employers don’t simply want employee who can think about information critically. They also need to be able to come up with effective solutions.
Critical Thinking Skills
- Applying Standards
- Asking Thoughtful Questions
- Cognitive Flexibility
- Decision Making
- Embracing Different Cultural Perspectives
- Identifying Patterns
- Information Seeking
- Logical Reasoning
- Making Abstract Connections
- Making Inferences
- Open-Minded Thinking
- Problem Solving
- Questioning Evidence
- Recognizing Differences and Similarities
Read More: Employment Skills Listed by Job | Lists of Skills for Resumes | Soft vs. Hard Skills | List of Keywords for Resumes and Cover Letters
Are you a job candidate looking to land the perfect job? Or an employee aiming to climb the next rung on your career ladder?
Developing your critical thinking skills will make you a better candidate for that new job or that promotion.
The words “critical thinking” frequently pop up in job descriptions and on adjective lists for resume-writing, so it’s clearly a desirable characteristic.
What Is Critical Thinking?
Thinking critically is the ability to analyze a concept objectively, considering the facts and differing perspectives to reach a sound, logical conclusion.
The reason critical thinking is a skill—and not just an automatic thought process—is because most people naturally think “uncritically,” making decisions based on personal biases, self-interest, or irrational emotions. Everyone is vulnerable to this type of simplistic thinking—it’s human nature.
However, there are ways to improve your thought process to be more intentional about thinking critically.
How to Think Critically
Developing your critical thinking skills will help you become a valued member of any team—at work, at school, or anywhere that solid decision-making skills are needed.
Here are some ways to improve your critical thinking skills:
- Know your biases and try to look past them
- Ask questions and gather information
- Evaluate the facts of the situation and all available data
- Collaborate and get feedback from others—especially people with different backgrounds to your own
- Generate possible solutions, particularly out-of-the-box ideas
- Consider the short- and long-term consequences of implementing each solution
Impress Employers With Your Critical Thinking Skills
Employers value workers who know how to think critically. Critical thinkers bring creative solutions to the table and help businesses to innovate and remain competitive.
Critical thinking examples exist in every part of the workplace, from the corporate executive offices to the sales floor. Whether you’re the boss or an intern, knowing how to think critically gives you the power to make positive contributions to the company.
Here are some critical thinking examples in different job positions.
As team leaders, managers are role models for their direct reports. How managers analyze problems influences how their team members will handle issues going forward. Managers that use critical thinking processes foster teams that are intentional about assessing problems and devising solutions.
A business analyst’s job is to evaluate data and make informed decisions regarding a company’s performance. Careful critical thinking can uncover innovative solutions to address issues that come up and to boost business growth in the future.
Human Resources Specialist
Workers in the human resources department are responsible for hiring new talent, determining which employees get pay raises and deciding appropriate consequences for workers who have violated company policy. Each of those situations requires deliberate critical thinking on the part of human resources specialists, who literally have the power to make or break a colleague’s career.
Well-developed critical thinking skills are vital to the marketing team’s ability to create and manage successful marketing campaigns. Marketing associates must be able to gather and analyze demographic information about an organization’s target audience in order to know how to reach customers effectively when promoting the brand.
Sales Agent and Customer Service Representative
Customer service reps and sales agents have the most direct contact with clients. The ability to think critically enables both groups of workers to satisfy customers’ needs. For instance, if a disgruntled customer storms into a store to complain about a faulty product, a critically thinking customer service associate can get to the root of the problem and suggest possible solutions to the client, who can then choose the best option and leave on a positive note.
Written by Jessica L. Mendes.