Analytical Skills Revealed: Definitions, Examples, Ways to Improve

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Analytical skills refer to abilities that involve collecting and analyzing information, solving problems, and making decisions. Academically speaking, analytical skills are used to write essays where analysis is involved and come up with a coherent conclusion. Analytical skills are not only important in academics, but also in the workplace. Companies face a wide array of problems, thus analytical skills are required to formulate possible solutions and implement them to improve the organization’s processes.

Analytical skills are important in today’s job-seeking landscape. New business models and rapid technological advancements, this has led to an increase in the number of jobs that require analytical skills. Therefore, illustrating your analytical skills in your resume will show you have what it takes to tackle problems in a step-by-step and organized manner.

What are Analytical Skills?

What are analytical skills?

Analytical skills are the ability to gather information and analyze it thoroughly. They refer to problem-solving skills and decision-making based on the knowledge extracted from the information collected. Analytical skills are used to detect patterns, generate ideas, observe data, collect data, interpret data, integrate new information, synthesize information, and make decisions based on the situation.

Such examples of analytical skills are important as they can allow people to find solutions and develop concrete plans to solve an issue. As mentioned above, they are important skills in all disciplines, ranging from data science, project management, marketing, law, medicine, scientific research, accounting, etc.

What is analytical thinking?

Analytical thinking involves understanding the world in terms of patterns, logical reasoning, conceptual understanding, and methods of inference. Analytical thinking involves seeing a situation as a problem and not just as an opportunity. It entails taking a step back and understanding the situation. Analytical thinking helps us to evaluate our performance, identify flaws in our strategies, and adapt and innovate our approach in order to be better.

5 steps of the analytical thinking process

Analytical thinking process follows the following procedure:

Step 1: Identifying the topic or core problem of an issue

The first step of the analytical thinking process is to clearly define the problem before proceeding. This looks easier said than done, but this analytical ability is no easy task. Once you've identified the problem, you'll need to analyze the problem, and this usually starts with an analysis of the information you have to work with.

Step 2: Gathering data through observation or research to gain a deeper understanding

The second step involves having research and analytical skills. Data is useful in your analysis because it allows you to put information into perspective. In this step of the analytical thinking process involves gathering data through observations, research, or interviewing.

Step 3: Coming up with solutions

To determine the best solutions for the problem, you'll need to come up with multiple solutions based on the data you've collected and the understanding you've acquired up to that point.

Step 4: Implementing the solutions to solve the problem

Using your testing analytical skills, implement the solutions to the test and see the outcome in order to evaluate them.

Step 5: Evaluating the outcome, assessing and applying new knowledge to future problem

Having strong analytical skills does not only mean solving the problem but also learning from the results and refining the implementation for future problems.

Why are Analytical Skills Important?

Analytical skills are crucial as they enable problem-solving through decision-making and guide subsequent actions. Regardless of the role or level, understanding challenges and analyzing the situation for possible solutions is a crucial ability. Developing analytical skills can help you enhance your job performance, achieve corporate goals, and ultimately support your personal career objectives.

Examples of jobs where strong analytical skills are important in the current job landscape:

  1. Data Analyst 
  2. Business Analyst
  3. Supply Chain Analyst
  4. Financial Analysis
  5. Operations Analyst

1. Data Analyst

Data analysts gather information and make decisions based on solutions with the least amount of risk. Analysts need to have the analytical capability to predict events that may affect the company.

Analytical skills are also applied when determining effective strategies to maximize sales, acquiring knowledge, and making investments to secure returns on capital. Such circumstances further prove the importance of highlighting your data analysis skills on your resume and the necessity of having a strong understanding of them.

2. Business Analyst

Analytical skills are crucial for business analysts because they focus on problem-solving for the benefit of an organization. Possessing analytical and critical thinking skills as a business analyst aid to fulfill duties such as formulating the problem and possible solutions and use specific techniques to improve company’s efficiency.

Analytical skills in business involve understanding how to improve business processes and the impact of implementing new features. Listing relevant analytical skills in a business analyst's resume can greatly improve the resume quality and enhance job application success.

3. Supply Chain Analyst

Supply chain analysts are in charge to deal with current processes and give recommendations for supply to meet demand. These professionals shall have analytical thinking skills to deal with supply delay and any form of miscommunication that happens in product transfers. Additionally, some skills to use for a supply chain analyst resume are data analysis, mathematical analysis, and analyzing business improvement.

Other examples of analytical skills for a supply chain analyst are using tools such as SQL, Excel, and analytical models. Including supply chain analyst skills in a resume during a job application can increase chances of getting hired.

4. Financial Analyst

Financial analysts deal with accounting files, business process information, financial reports, and other information related to finance and revenue. Analytical thinking is vital as these individuals are in charge of analyzing and planning the financing of the company. Some examples of analytical skills required as a financial analyst are report analysis, forecasting, and situation analysis. With the correct financial analysis skills in your resume, you will be able to stand out among other applicants during a job search!

5. Operations Analyst

Operations analysts are responsible for ensuring that the company's operations are executed correctly. They utilize analytical skills to examine each process and verify that activities are completed promptly, ensuring the company's timely compliance. If you possess the skills required for an operations analyst, make sure to incorporate them into your resume writing to make sure employers can get a view of your values as a potential employee.

Analytical Skills & Analytical Thinking Examples

To further know what type of skills to list in your resume, here are examples involving analytical skills and analytical thinking:

  1. Logical Reasoning
  2. Problem Solving
  3. Critical Thinking
  4. Research
  5. Forecasting
  6. Financial Analysis
  7. Report Analysis
  8. Data Collection
  9. Brainstorming
  10. Creativity

1. Logical Reasoning

Logical reasoning is a process of structuring thought according to the norms of logic that allows reaching a certain conclusion or solving a problem. It helps to make better decisions in order to reach a solution to the problem.

2. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is the analytical ability to identify a problem, take logical steps to find the desired solution, and monitor and evaluate the implementation of such a solution. Crafting this skill further builds one’s resilience, aiding in tackling future problems more efficiently.

3. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the cognitive process of a rational, reflective, and analytical nature, oriented towards systematic questioning in order to reach a particular truth. This skill helps to reach a valid conclusion after gathering and analyzing information.

4. Research

Researching is the analytical capacity to locate and analyze relevant information on a certain topic. This analytical ability permits professionals to perform investigations and come up with relevant information to come up with a solution.

5. Forecasting

Keep track of the constant movements of the economy through balance sheets and reports. Strong analytical skills can make a difference in order to anticipate what may happen in the future.

6. Financial Analysis

Professionals use analytical thinking to know more about the financial state of the company, that is to say, the business, economic and industrial conditions. 

7. Report Analysis

Analytical skills in business and finance do involve the preparation of financial reports and graphs for further analysis. Reporting does follow a specific process to elaborate and communicate them in the company. 

8. Data Collection

When it comes to data gathering, analysts should have a solid grasp of research and analytical skills. This is because they study the data collected and investment programs: performance, price, stability, and then develop the company's action plans to enhance investments.

9. Brainstorming

Brainstorming is an analytical ability used in teamwork to generate new ideas or solve a certain problem, and it is highly used during business meetings or discussions.

10. Creativity

The ability to generate ideas to the fullest extent and refine them gradually is essential for creating something new, whether it's a business venture or a new solution that has never been implemented before.

Ways to Highlight Your Analytical Skills (w/ Tips)

During a job search, it is very important to highlight your analytical skills to capture hiring managers' attention, especially if you are looking to enter relevant fields.

1. On your resume/CV

There are many ways to illustrate analytical skills in your resume. Here are some tips on where to display your analytical skills:

1.1 In the work experience section

Your work experience section displays the duties and responsibilities you were in charge in your past positions. You can develop instances in which analytical skills were used. This will prove you have had hands-on experience in displaying analytical thinking skills.

Example of work experience section:

Data Analyst
Q&W Solutions

03/
2017 - 05/2020

  • Applied techniques to comprehend data through preliminary analysis.
  • Effectively communicated the results of analysis and data processing.
  • Developed new models and assisted colleagues in decision-making, leading to a 12% decrease in operating costs.

As shown above, these past duties involve analytical skills. Furthermore, it is recommended to add percentages and quantifiable results, as shown in the third bullet point.

1.2 In resume summary/objective section

Whether you decide to use a summary statement or resume objective, you can include details regarding analytical thinking and skills in one of the sentences that compose this paragraph.

Example of the resume profile: 

"Business Analyst with 6+ years of experience in the auto retail sector. Proven track record of boosting revenue by 15% through thorough analyses in business projects. Strong problem-solver who can communicate and analyze research clearly with colleagues."

Rather than being vague by just saying “strong analytical skills,” do specify in what way you are proficient when it comes to analytical skills.

1.3 In the resume skills section 

Prior to listing your analytical skills in your skills resume section, it is important to check which specific skills employers are looking for. This way you will not be vague or too general with just saying “analytical thinking/skills”.

Example of the skills section: 

  • Data Mining
  • Leadership
  • Creative Thinking
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Self-driven

2. In your cover letter

Your cover letter gives you the chance to elaborate your analytical skills in a narrative way. Provide details of instances where your analytical skills were used and how it helped within the organization. It is advisable to give a positive outcome from it, especially if it is a quantifiable result.

3. By showing certificates from analytical skill workshops/classes 

Perhaps you took a course involving analytical skills. You can attach the certificate of completion in your application (if possible), otherwise, it will suffice to include it under the education section of your resume/CV.

4. During a job interview

Prior to the interview, check for commonly asked questions that happen during interviews to use some analytical thinking in how the organization can improve in its processes. Once you attend the in-person interview, you can explain your ways to analyze and solve a specific issue they have.

5. On the job

The best way to show analytical skills is having a “can do” attitude. This will show you are committed to develop solutions and analyze the best move to solve any issues. You can volunteer and offer yourself to solve problems they face, which will lead you to use and refine your analytical thinking.

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How to Improve Your Analytical Skills

1. Take analytical skill tests

Analytical skill tests assess a wide range of abilities and see how well you can do under pressure since these tests have a time limit when answering their questions. Furthermore, it is important to improve your analytical skills with such assessments since many employers request scores to see if an individual does have the performance to fill in the position.

2. Read books

Constant reading exercises the mind and our ability to think outside the box. Reading expands your knowledge, thus giving you new ways to tackle problems by knowing more. 

3. Take leadership roles

By getting involved as the leader in something, you have greater responsibility in problem-solving and need to use more critical thinking to guide others towards their goals in the given context.

Key Takeaways:

  • Analytical skills are the ability to collect information and analyze it thoroughly. Analytical thinking helps us to evaluate our performance, identify flaws, and innovate our approach in order to be better.
  • Analytical skills are in demand by employers and they are present under many jobs in many circumstances.
  • Analytical skills can be displayed in more than one way in a resume, as well as in your cover letter, in the interview, or on the job. It is recommended to focus on the analytical skills employers explicitly listed.
  • You can further improve your analytical skills by reading books, taking on leadership roles, and taking analytical tests.

--- Originally written by Jose Joaquin Rosales ---

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