Critical Thinking Skills: What Are They & How to Improve

Critical thinking skills are an essential and valuable asset that can help you be successful in the workplace as well as other aspects of life. Here's how you can feature them in your resume.

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By Maria Correa 5 minute read

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Highlight critical thinking skills in your resume

Critical thinkers are among the most highly sought-after employees, as critical thinking is an essential skill for the workplace. Regardless of the profession in question, critical thinking abilities allow employees to think independently, helping with decision-making and being able to break down, analyze and solve complex problems.

We’ll walk you through five essential critical thinking skills that can help you advance your career and make you successful in any other aspect of your life.

Most jobs these days require a good foundation in critical thinking. Some employers may not even mention critical thinking in job posts, but it’s crucial to showcase these skills regardless. By highlighting critical thinking skills on your resume, you can effectively demonstrate your workplace competencies to hiring managers and land the job of your dreams.

Below, we’ll walk you through how critical thinking skills are defined, how you can think critically, and the top five critical thinking skills you should work on improving now.

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What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking can be defined as the ability to think independently, clearly and perhaps most importantly of all, rationally. It’s the decision-making process of analyzing available facts, observations and arguments to get a better point of view and form a judgment in everyday life.

The critical thinking process leads you to draw conclusions that are logical, well thought out, and backed by evidence. By critically thinking, you don’t simply accept things at face value. Instead, you take a different perspective and have the viewpoint to question things and seek evidence to either support or refute them.

Regardless of the profession or situation, you find yourself in, it’s important to always use your critical thinking skills. Be a learner and develop these skills if you don’t have them to succeed as a college student, in the workplace, and beyond.

How to think critically

Thinking critically is very different from the kind of thinking we do in a regular everyday life, which often happens automatically. By critically thinking, you use intellectual tools to reach a more accurate judgment that you otherwise wouldn’t consider.

The starting point to thinking critically is observing and identifying an issue correctly. You then must understand why the issue exists, collect more information, and explore various ways to solve the problem. This is then followed by organizing your findings to make an informed decision and final judgment.

Next, you create and implement solutions to solve the issue and compare which solutions worked and which didn’t. Defining critical thinking requires that you continue to think of ways to improve the solution even after it’s implemented.

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Five essential critical thinking skills

  • 1

    Complete observation

    Observation is the starting point to the development of critical thinking. To effectively identify a problem or understand why something might become a problem, you need to know how to observe the subject matter properly. The key to being fully observant is to pay close attention to your surroundings in the workplace.

  • 2

    Proper analysis

    Once you identify a problem, analyzing and processing information to evaluate a situation is crucial. This requires you to know what facts or information about the problem are important for assessing a problem.

    Taking a proper approach to evaluating a situation requires collecting unbiased research and information. Then it requires asking important questions about the collected data’s accuracy and validity. Finally, it requires objectively evaluating the findings.

  • 3

    Correct deductions

    Deducing is the skill that enables you to draw accurate conclusions about the information you have collected. It often requires industry-specific knowledge or experience, depending on your profession.

    By making correct deductions, you create meaningful answers and educated guesses based on the limited information you have gathered rather than quickly drawing conclusions.

  • 4

    Effective communication

    Effective communication skills are an important part of critical thinking and many other professional soft skills. They are essential for discussing and synthesizing issues and possible solutions with coworkers and communicating your viewpoint.

  • 5

    Problem-solving

    After you’ve correctly identified, analyzed and chosen the best solution for a problem, you need to implement your problem-solving skills, whether it’s rolling up your sleeves and implementing a solution independently, or collaborating with others to find the best possible solution to the problem.

FAQ: Critical thinking skills

Have questions? We’re here to help.

You can improve your critical thinking skills by asking basic questions about your work or other issues, and identifying potential problems. You should also question basic assumptions. For example, practice reversing situations, like “X causes Y, but what if Y caused X?” Engage in challenging discussions, such as opening a dialogue with a colleague who has opposing views on a topic.

The foundation for critical thinking allows employees to think and problem-solve independently, logically, and rationally. This helps them build strategies that make them more productive and better at their jobs.

You should showcase your critical thinking skills on your resume by weaving them into your previous job duties and accomplishments. Do this by citing specific examples of achievements or responsibilities that relied on critical thinking skills to reach results.

To update your resume with critical thinking skills and other important qualifications, use our resume-building tools.

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Maria Correa Profile
WRITTEN BY Maria Correa

Maria Correa is a Puerto Rico-based Content Writer with ample background in digital marketing and copywriting. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a B.A. in English and enjoys making information accessible to others.

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