In this highly analytical world, strengthening your analytical skills and understanding how to communicate them can lead to a successful future career. Analytical skills are in demand in many industries and are a requirement for most job descriptions.
Analytical skills can help you investigate complex issues, make decisions, and develop solutions. Aren’t sure if you have them or how to develop them further? These essential skills are worth more than a glance. Take some time to consider the following.
What Are Analytical Skills? Definition & Meaning
Essentially, analytical skills are the ability to take information and data, break it into manageable pieces, and work logically. It can include breaking down large tasks into small parts, pinpointing critical information, evaluating pros and cons, determining next steps, and organizing systems to keep track of different parts of a project.
Generally, those with excellent analytical skills are great team players. They are big-picture thinkers. Recognizing the different aspects of a project, they work well with others toward a common goal.
Breaking Down the Top 5 Analytical Skills (Examples)
Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is observing, analyzing, and problem-solving. Essentially, taking a step back and evaluating a situation. If you see a problem causing challenges, don’t take for granted that it can’t be resolved. For example, a manager at a restaurant might seek an opportunity to lower the daily waste by finding ways to manage the inventory better.
Data Analysis: Data analysis skills are tied in closely with critical thinking. Review and analyze data and, more importantly, understand which data is needed and how to process it. Perhaps you are a project manager with a project falling behind. Analyzing the correct data to uncover the root cause is an essential analytical skill.
Communication: Effective communication requires active listening, reporting concisely, being sensitive to stakeholders, and professionally presenting your findings. Regardless of how accurate your conclusions are, you won’t get far in solving the issue without effective communication.
Creativity: Being creative with your analytical skills means being able to find solutions that aren’t always obvious. Most great stories of triumph occurred because someone was creative in finding a solution. Consider the Apollo 13 mission engineers or Sully’s lifesaving landing in the Hudson River. Out-of-the-box thinking saved the day. While you hopefully won’t be in a life-and-death situation, finding creative solutions will stand out during your career.
Problem-Solving: When you have excellent problem-solving skills, you can put all the information together and find a solution. The essential final piece in analytical skills is to reassess and tweak the process to get the best possible outcome, then communicate it and implement it for success. It doesn’t matter how great your solution is if you can’t communicate it for a resolution.
How to Develop Analytical Skills
It’s helpful to understand why employers seek these skills and where you can put them to work in your career. You’ll be better able to develop them for future career growth. Unfortunately, you cannot get a specific certificate that declares mastery of analytical skills. Instead, you can design them yourself. Consider the following ways to grow your analytical skills.
Seek New Challenges
Ask for new opportunities at work. It’s easier to analyze something that you’re not already familiar with. Take time to explore why and how things are done in a different department. Then, consider how you might suggest opportunities for improvement.
Find a Mentor
Finding a career mentor to help you develop and focus your analytical skills is excellent career development. Reach out to your networks and ask for suggestions to improve specific aspects of your critical thinking process. Ask if anyone has had success in honing their skills, and be open about the fact that you’re looking for a career mentor. During upcoming interviews, recruiters will love hearing that you found a mentor to develop your skills.
Boost Your Resume and Your Skills
Volunteer with an organization, finding areas to create a better process and communicate a simple solution to be implemented. As a bonus, volunteer work is valuable for your resume.
Join a Professional Organization
Joining a professional organization or taking a course to boost your presentation skills is a terrific option. Not only will you be increasing your communication skills, but you’ll also be growing your industry knowledge and expanding your professional network.
Gather Examples of Your Analytical Skills
Perhaps you’ve got some great experience already or are currently working on them. Ensure that you note specific examples that showcase your skills in your career development file. Gather before and after data to demonstrate rather than list your skills.
Suppose you’re applying for an SEO role with a digital marketing firm. One of the job requirements is robust data analysis. You’ll need a tangible way to communicate that on your resume. In practice, that will look like something like this:
Analyzed and problem-solved stagnant web sales for the local humane society.
Utilized data-analysis skills for local nonprofit, resulting in a 45% growth in web traffic over a 2-month period.
You would then expound on that in your cover letter or your interview.
Create Career Momentum by Improving Your Analytical Skills
From an employer’s perspective, employees with analytical skills can handle situations they haven’t encountered before. They’ll make decisions based on data rather than emotions, prioritize tasks, understand the big picture without getting lost in the details, and use creative means to get the job done. Actively working to improve your analytical skills and finding a reliable manner of conveying them will create the career boost you’re seeking.
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