You’re looking for a new job, and almost everywhere you look, it seems that 'analytical skills' are a requirement. What exactly does that mean? And how do you know if you have them? Here, we’ll discuss what analytical skills are and how to demonstrate them when applying for a job.
What are analytic skills?
Analytical ability means that you can analyse a situation, problem or issue well. It means you can approach a problem or issue in a solution-focused manner and through different angles. You can also quickly distinguish the main issue from the secondary issues. In short, you aim to understand an issue first and then devise appropriate action.
Analytical ability is very similar to critical thinking. Critical thinkers don’t just take everything for face value, but they ask questions to get to the deeper issue: “Is that true? What does that mean? Why? And how does that work?” These kinds of questions help you better understand the issue so you can give a better answer.
Why are analytical skills important?
Especially if you often deal with more complex issues in your work environment, it is important not to get overwhelmed by all the information that comes your way. By categorizing and making connections, you can easily map out your tasks independently and perform them quickly. This is an important characteristic in technical and medical professions, for example.
Do I have analytical thinking?
Analytical thinking may be an abstract concept if you have never really studied it. The list below will help you determine if you have analytical thinking skills. Are these qualities familiar to you?
- ■ You quickly see the core or essence of an issue
- ■ You can distinguish between main and secondary issues
- ■ You foresee the possible consequences of certain choices and can weigh them against one another
- ■ You can quickly make connections
- ■ You only take action after looking at the issue from multiple angles
- ■ Questioning and listening is something you are good at
- ■ Sometimes you think too much and keep contemplating before you come to a choice
- ■ You first weigh all options and are therefore described by others as 'indecisive'
Develop your analytical skills
Are the above characteristics not immediately familiar to you? No problem. Like many skills, you can train your analytical skills. A good exercise is to not immediately take the first course of action that comes to mind when dealing with a problem or issue. First, write down in one sentence what the essence of the problem is. Below that, put all possible solutions and describe the advantages and disadvantages of the best three. By being goal-oriented, you develop your analytical skills until this kind of thinking comes naturally.
Demonstrate analytical thinking when applying for a job
Are analytical skills a requirement in an application? Then you will probably be asked to demonstrate this during the interview. Practical examples of how you deal with a certain situation are your best course of action. Below are some examples:
- ■ Indicate that you never just choose a solution for a problem or issue, but weigh the options first. Describe an example from practice that shows this.
- ■ Explain how you can view a problem or issue from different angles.
- ■ Explain how you involve the input of others in a particular problem or issue.
- ■ Explain how to map connections by looking for background information or by comparing practical examples.
- ■ Give an example of how you distinguish between main and secondary issues.
Example: You apply for a vacancy as a journalist. When researching a story, you make an overview of main and secondary issues to quickly see through the common thread and not to drown in the amount of information.
Use your analytical skills!
Do you have analytical thinking? You now know what it is and how you can demonstrate this soft skill during your job interview — a must for more and more data-driven functions. Check which of our vacancies have this competence.