Plenty of resumes out there have critical thinking skills listed, but few offer real evidence of such abilities. It’s one thing to simply fill the document with the skills recruiters and potential employers want to see, but it’s something entirely different to properly demonstrate your competence.
After all, anyone can say that they are critical thinkers, but not everyone has the ability and the know-how to corroborate those claims. That’s why we created this article—to help you break free from bland and unsubstantiated lists and bullet points.
So let’s sharpen our pencils and learn how to impress potential employers with our keen minds.
Critical thinking skills allow individuals to think independently, consider multiple perspectives, ask the right questions, and solve complex problems effectively.
These abilities are crucial in the modern workplace, which makes it important to highlight them properly on your resume.
The best way to demonstrate your critical thinking skills in your resume is through specific examples of notable achievements and results obtained.
Some of the most prominent critical thinking skills include observation, analysis, inference, evaluation, problem-solving, and open-mindedness.
There are many ways to improve these skills, including introspection, mentorships, collaboration, courses, workshops, and more.
What Are Critical Thinking Skills?
Critical thinking skills refer to an individual’s ability to think independently and identify the pros and cons of arguments and evidence presented.
So, in other words, critical thinkers look for evidence before believing potentially baseless claims. They can look at problems from multiple perspectives, often trying to figure out the best approach before coming up with solutions.
To develop strong critical thinking skills, you often need to be open-minded, curious, and flexible. Critical thinking usually involves asking the right questions and continuously considering alternative perspectives. After gathering enough evidence, critical thinkers can generally draw logical conclusions and solve complex problems in thorough, systematic ways.
For all these reasons, critical thinking skills are highly valued by employers in many different professions, including business, healthcare, science, and education. By using them, you can observe and analyze information, assess different ideas and viewpoints, and make solid judgments based on concrete data.
Why Are Critical Thinking Important For Your Resume?
As many as 72% of employers consider critical thinking vital to their organization’s success. They know that candidates with these abilities can bring a unique perspective to the table, often come up with innovative ideas, and drive success. That’s why you should optimally highlight critical thinking skills in your resume and stand out from other applicants.
Today’s business environment is fast-paced and ever-changing. Critical thinking skills allow students and seasoned professionals alike to think independently, assess situations quickly, and swiftly adapt to changes. That makes these abilities vital in various roles, including technology, finance, marketing, and management.
Not only that, but critical thinking helps you “dig deeper,” check for facts, and remain skeptical until you find irrefutable proof. That’s all the more important nowadays when everyone has access to an endless supply of information that isn’t always true.
Lastly, this skill set can be applied in a variety of situations, both in the workplace and in everyday life. As a result, highlighting critical thinking skills on your resume shows that you’re a multi-talented, versatile candidate committed to personal and professional growth.
How to Add Critical Thinking Skills to Your Resume
The first thing you want to do before adding critical thinking skills to your resume is to ensure you’re listing the right ones. That’s because these abilities represent a collection of sub-skills that are usable in many different professions and roles. The ones you should list will depend on the specific position that you’re going for.
The correct approach to this conundrum is to start the process by reading the job advertisement you’re interested in and looking into the company that posted it. You’ll find out which of these abilities recruiters want to see, and this will make it easy for you to list them in the skills section of your resume.
However, when it comes to substantiating your critical thinking skills, one of the difficulties stems from their nature. Since these are soft, transferable skills, they are hard to measure and even harder to prove. After all, you can’t exactly get a degree or a certification in critical thinking.
Fortunately, there’s an easy solution that not many job seekers know about. What you should do is mention some of the key skills throughout your resume in places where you can link them to the relevant accomplishments. The best places for it are usually your resume objective or summary and your work history.
In essence, you want to demonstrate a specific result—preferably quantified with exact numbers or percentages—and include an appropriate critical thinking skill next to it. That way, your skill stops being an unsupported claim and becomes solid proof of your competence.
8 Critical Thinking Skills to Include in Your Resume
Let’s examine some of the most prominent critical thinking skills, find out what makes them valuable, and learn how to demonstrate them for optimal chances of success.
In a way, observation represents the inception of critical thinking. Observant individuals can gather plenty of information by looking at situations, environments, and people.
So, in essence, critical thinkers use observation to lay the groundwork for future analysis and problem-solving. This makes it one of the core critical thinking skills that helps people spot potential issues and recognize patterns.
By listing observational skills on your resume, you can show recruiters that you’re a keen individual who can pay attention to details and detect trends. That makes this ability vital in many industries, including research, engineering, and healthcare.
Let’s see how you can demonstrate observational skills on your resume:
Observed and identified a recurring issue with product returns before implementing a solution that reduced the number of returns by 31%.
Analysis usually comes right after the situation has been observed and an obstacle has been identified. It’s an essential critical thinking skill that enables individuals to systematically examine complex information. Analysis also precedes problem-solving, as it helps individuals break down intricate data into smaller components for easier evaluation.
If your job revolves around finance, research, or technology, you should definitely make an effort to properly demonstrate your analytical skills on a resume. Here’s a good example of how you can do so:
Conducted a comprehensive analysis of industry trends and market conditions to give clients timely and accurate financial advice.
The business-related information that you’ll have at your disposal won’t always be complete enough to offer a clear-cut solution. In that case, you’ll need to make an inference and utilize your extensive knowledge of the subject to come up with answers.
In essence, inference as a skill allows you to synthesize information from various sources to draw logical conclusions. All of that makes it a particularly important critical thinking skill in the education, healthcare, and law industries.
Here’s an example of a candidate showcasing their inference skills on a resume:
Reviewed over 150 legal documents to identify key issues and infer the right course of action, obtaining a 95% accuracy rate.
Evaluation and critical thinking go hand in hand. This ability allows you to assess and judge the quality of the information that you’re presented with, which means you’re not taking any bit of data, thought, argument, or idea for granted. Instead, you’re always looking to identify the strengths and weaknesses before making an evidence-based, informed decision.
Candidates with strong evaluation skills can, therefore, gauge the effectiveness of plans, ideas, and solutions, which can help them select the best ones for any given situation. This is important in many fields, particularly if you’re looking for a job in research, healthcare, or education.
Here’s how you can demonstrate your evaluation skills on your resume:
Analyzed and evaluated 70+ research studies to identify key findings and limitations, creating concise research summaries with a 100% accuracy rate.
Communication is a vital aspect of critical thinking, as it allows you to convey and share information that you have learned, gathered, and interpreted. Strong communicators can clearly and concisely articulate their thoughts and findings to clients, team members, and stakeholders.
On the other hand, communication skills include active and attentive listening. This can help you collect data and obtain information from others, which will, in turn, enhance your critical thinking prowess. All that makes communication vital in almost any industry, especially if you’re in marketing, customer service, or public relations.
Let’s see how you can highlight your communication skills on a resume:
Managed multiple projects simultaneously while effectively communicating their progress to stakeholders, achieving a 100% compliance rate, and reaching all deadlines.
Problem-solving is an actionable part of the critical thinking process and one of the most important skill sets in the business environment. It represents a collection of abilities that allow individuals to develop and implement solutions based on problem analysis.
Showcasing your problem-solving competence is particularly important if you’re in fields such as finance, engineering, or technology. Here’s how you can do that:
Analyzed financial data, identified discrepancies, and devised an automated solution to reduce accounting errors by up to 25%.
Open-mindedness is both a soft skill and a character trait. It represents your receptiveness to the ideas and perspectives of others, even if that means changing your existing assumptions and beliefs.
Open-minded individuals are capable of actively listening to others and carefully examining their points of view. That makes this skill invaluable in business environments, where collaboration is crucial and both individuals and team members continuously need to adapt to changing circumstances.
Considering open-mindedness is one of the more abstract soft skills, it can be challenging to showcase it on your resume, but you can always demonstrate it by using relevant keywords. Here’s a good example:
Participated in cross-functional team brainstorming sessions, actively listening to others and considering everyone’s perspectives, resulting in a 30% increase in the number of strong ideas generated.
Considering that critical thinking abilities are soft skills, you can continuously work on improving them. One of the best ways to achieve that is through introspection. It allows you to examine your feelings, thoughts, and actions in a meaningful and analytical way.
By reflecting on your experiences and identifying any assumptions and biases that might affect your judgment, you’ll find ways to improve yourself, enhance your skills, and boost your performance.
Demonstrating introspection on your resume can be challenging, but if you manage to do it, you’ll portray yourself as a responsible and adaptable candidate who is able to learn and grow from their experiences.
Here’s an example:
Cultivated a self-aware and reflective approach to project management, closely monitoring project progress and identifying opportunities to learn and grow, increasing project success rates by 11%.
How to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills
We brought up the importance of improving critical thinking skills through introspection, but there are many other ways to develop them further. By doing so, you can make better business decisions, solve problems more quickly and effectively, and communicate more clearly.
Here are some tips to help you improve your critical thinking skills:
Practice active listening. Pay close attention to what someone is saying and ask questions to clarify any potential misunderstandings. That will help you look at things from other people’s perspectives and gain valuable insights.
Thoroughly analyze the information that you encounter and take the time to check out its source and credibility before acting on it.
Seek opportunities to collaborate with others. Working with people helps you gain new perspectives and examine different approaches to problems, which will, in turn, improve your critical thinking prowess.
Take courses and attend workshops that focus on developing critical thinking skills.
Look for mentors and ask for advice from more experienced professionals in the field.
Improving your critical thinking skills might take time and effort, but the benefits are more than worth it.
As you can see, critical thinking skills can make you stand out from the competition in more than one way. They don’t just speak volumes of your knowledge and experience; they also paint you as an out-of-the-box thinker who can analyze, interpret, and assess information in a strategic way.
The fact that they are highly valuable yet difficult to prove is your chance to get a head start with recruiters and potential employers. Remember to back up your critical thinking skills with specific examples and quantifiable results, and you’ll be one step closer to landing an interview and, subsequently, getting your dream job.