by Guest Author, Frankie Wallace
When you are looking to secure a professional or executive-level position, you need to have
more than just a few years of experience and a brightly-colored resume. You also need to
impress during the application and interview stages. You can do that by showing off your skills and demonstrating how those abilities will help the company to which you are applying. One of the most important skills you can show is your knack for critical thinking.
You may not believe it at first, but you can showcase your critical thinking abilities on your
resume and during the interview. It will just take some research, an understanding of what
critical thinking entails, and a strategy for how you can verbalize your skills. Let’s talk about the steps you can take to prepare for your next big interview.
What Is Critical Thinking?
Yes, companies are looking for individuals with critical thinking skills. Employers want to know that they can give you a project and that you can run it with minimal supervision and still get the desired results. Critical thinking skills are used in some fashion in just about every type of job you can find. While critical thinking may only be used casually in some professions, if you are going into a field like law or research, then critical thinking will likely be a key requirement that you will need to incorporate into your resume to even get in the door.
In essence, critical thinking involves correctly identifying and understanding problems. Then, it requires using all available information to formulate an effective and rational solution to that issue. Rather than just throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks, a real critical thinker will take the time to consider all possible solutions and review the analytics to make an educated decision that will ultimately help the company.
As a business professional, you have likely used critical thinking skills to make great decisions over the years. Now that you are looking for a new job, you need to look back at that past experience and find a way to vocalize what you accomplished, so you can impress the interviewer and get the job. These attributes are called transferable skills.
Start With Your Resume
Your resume needs to prove that you have the skills necessary to help your new company thrive and succeed. When you submit your resume to a company, they will be looking for keywords that will help them decide if you are worth considering or not. You can sum up your soft skills in a list near the top of your resume, but you will also want to implement those keywords into real-life examples that you can describe during the interview.
Start your bullet points with action words like “identified” and “analyzed.” Then, explain the
variables of each task.
So, if you worked in sales and you were able to find a new or untapped demographic to sell to, then mention how you did it on your resume. Include something like: “Analyzed the
demographics of the city to determine the best audience for my products.” Or, if you researched other companies to increase your marketing reach, you could say something to the effect of, “Increased social media engagement by 74% by analyzing the tactics of our competitors.”
Be honest on your resume and brag about your accomplishments. You can then use those or other similar examples during the job interview.
Explain How You Get Your Answers
During the interview, it will be essential that you hit on these bullet points but then expand on exactly what you did to find the answers necessary to complete your project. When the
interviewer asks you about a big challenge you faced, show enthusiasm and explain what you did to get from points A to B. Before you get to the interview, you should research the company so that you can avoid common interview mistakes. Modify your responses accordingly and show that your previous experience will help this new company as well.
Think about the techniques that you used to reach past decisions. If you are going into
business, then you should have some understanding of analytics, and you should learn how you can apply that to the job for which you are applying. For instance, you may have used predictive analytics to forecast how a change you made would impact the company in the future. Many business professionals have also used sales channel analytics to determine if they will find profits with a particular tactic. Explain how you used analytics as part of your critical thinking strategies at your past job and how you can do it here too.
After you explain your tactics at past jobs, your interviewer may then give you a hypothetical
situation and ask you to explain how you would solve it. You might not know the answers ahead of time, but you can practice a general approach by using a decision tree. This tool will allow you to enter a series of choices that you plan to make and then help you to see all of the possible solutions that may come of them. It is a good way to visualize every possible scenario so you can choose what is best. If you like the idea of using a decision tree, then mention how that is one of your critical thinking methods during the interview.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can express and demonstrate your critical
thinking skills during your next job interview. Consider the tips mentioned here, and you have a good chance of impressing the hiring manager.
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About the author
Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys writing about career guidance and education but occasionally goes back to her roots with socially active news journalism. Frankie spends her free time cultivating her zero-waste garden or hiking in the mountains of the PNW with her loved ones.