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You need many different skills to succeed in most jobs. Conceptual skills are high on many employers’ lists, but what are they, exactly?
Conceptual skills are abilities to allow you to understand abstract ideas and create answers for complex problems. These skills allow you to get your head around complicated issues and come up with creative solutions. Conceptual skills are not encapsulated in a single skill; you need to be able to combine analytical, problem-solving, organizational and management skills to have a good grasp of conceptual thinking.
2. Leadership: In addition to the ability to visualize hypothetical concepts, hiring managers also seek the ability to translate conceptual thinking into leadership. They will favor job seekers who demonstrate team-building skills, as well project management and managerial skills. Your skill set should be based around these strong leadership skills, along with the ability to formulate larger goals.
3. Career growth: Finally, hiring managers usually want to know that you’re able to ascend in the company. Remember, a hiring manager is trying to fill a job for the long term, not just for the next two to three years. If your thinking skills and competencies are top-notch and you have strong conceptual skills, you’ll have a better chance to ascend in a company.
It’s typically a good idea not to write that you “look at the bigger picture” on your resume. Even though this is something hiring managers are looking for, this can come across as cliché and generic. Instead, show that you know how to execute strategic planning and creative thinking through specific examples. Rather than saying, “I love to look at the big picture,” you could say, “Responsible for implementing a multi-tiered response to varied and complex sets of customer service feedback.” This shows off your skills instead of just stating them.
Even in non-managerial positions, conceptual skills are important. They showcase how you’ll be an asset to the company going forward. However, it’s true that these skills are most important for management positions. In a job interview for a non-managerial position, you can certainly discuss these skills, but don’t skimp on other soft skills and technical skills that are needed for the job. In general, technical skills are more important when you’re interviewing for a non-managerial position.
Your best bet is to discuss your skills in terms of experiences. Anyone can state that they have strong conceptual skills. Can you talk about how your thinking skills helped you increase productivity by 27% at a past job? What about how you were able to become the top salesperson by utilizing unique sales techniques? Do you have a unique story about becoming a managerial assistant because of your skills? Specific examples can prove your ability with conceptual skills.
All conceptual skills are soft skills, but not all soft skills are conceptual skills. If you’re trying to demonstrate that you have conceptual skills, you shouldn’t just list random soft skills and hope they measure up. Instead, think about how those skills have helped you in situations in which you’ve had to consider the big picture or handle complex projects. Remember to include examples and not just list skills, and show off how you’ve been able to rely on those skills in past jobs.
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