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Supported keys: analytical skills define, 2021-05-23, What is ANALYTICAL SKILL? What does ANALYTICAL SKILL mean?, Analytical skill is the ability to visualize, articulate, conceptualize or solve both complex and uncomplicated problems by making decisions that are sensible given the available information. Such skills include demonstration of the ability to apply logical thinking to breaking complex problems into their component parts.

In 1999, Richards J. Heuer Jr., explained that: “Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But like many other skills, such as riding a bike, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

To test for analytical skills one might be asked to look for inconsistencies in an advertisement, put a series of events in the proper order, or critically read an essay. Usually standardized tests and interviews include an analytical section that requires the examiner to use their logic to pick apart a problem and come up with a solution.

Although there is no question that analytical skills are essential, other skills are equally required. For instance in systems analysis the systems analyst should focus on four sets of analytical skills:

systems thinking,

organizational knowledge,

problem identification, and

problem analyzing and solving., Digital Creator


Analytical Skills Definition

Analytical skills are problem-solving skills that help you parse data and information to develop creative, rational solutions. An analytical person in the workplace focuses on making sense of the facts and figures and using logical thinking practices to identify a fix. 

These skills apply to multiple fields, not just in traditional data-heavy or analytics roles. You can use analytical skills in the workplace for: 

  • Reviewing website traffic data to understand what company tactics are driving people to the site
  • Planning a multi-channel communications strategy based on past successes and failures
  • Identifying seasonal trends to understand the best time to launch a campaign
  • Preparing forecasts of the company’s financial performance for the next year
  • Understanding UX problems by interviewing a user
  • Creating models for the sales team to track their revenue growth

Analytical Skills Examples

While analytical skills are a type of soft skill, there are also hard skills that can help you be a better analytical thinker. Analytical skills examples include data analysis, research, creativity, and communication.

Data Analytics

Data analytics includes the more traditional hard skills of analytics, like data visualization, coding, statistics, and reporting. An employee familiar with data analytics will have an easier time digging into numbers to search for answers and predict results. 

Examples of data analytics skills include:

  • Creating charts and graphs to show recent company performance
  • Discovering which products have the most success during the summer vs. winter months
  • Saving production costs by identifying surplus expenses
  • Combing through user survey feedback to decide on focus areas for improvement

>>>MORE: Improve your data analysis skills with virtual experience programs from Accenture, PwC, Quantium, ANZ, KPMG, GE, and BCG.


Analytical people seek all the facts and information before coming to a conclusion. A smart researcher knows where to find those facts and who to ask for help to get more information.

Examples of analytical research skills include:

  • Conducting a reflective analysis to show the company’s progress in the last five years
  • Talking to colleagues in other departments to understand how a problem is affecting their team
  • Setting up an informational interview with an outside expert 


Analytical skills aren’t just facts and figures; they also require creativity to brainstorm solutions and possible answers to problems. Creativity helps analytical people move away from the small points and think big picture. 

You also need creativity in communicating and storytelling with data, especially when explaining analytical answers to team members who might not have a data background.

Examples of analytical creativity skills include:

  • Organizing a brainstorming session with key stakeholders 
  • Proposing product improvements based on client survey feedback
  • Asking a team member clarifying questions about their problem-solving process
  • Using data storytelling to share a company progress update


Your analytical thinking won’t have an impact unless you share it with the team; however, not everyone can easily understand data or analytical problem-solving. Communication skills help you translate complex analytical ideas into digestible, actionable takeaways for the rest of your team.

Examples of analytical communication skills include:

  • Presenting high-level key findings from a data exercise to the company
  • Explaining a data visualization to team members to help them understand company performance
  • Sharing learnings from a statistical analysis with applications for other team members

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What Are Analytical Skills?

Employers look for employees with the ability to investigate a problem and find the ideal solution in a timely, efficient manner. The skills required to solve problems are known as analytical skills.

You use analytical skills when detecting patterns, brainstorming, observing, interpreting data, integrating new information, theorizing, and making decisions based on the multiple factors and options available. 

Solutions can be reached by clear-cut, methodical approaches, or through more creative techniques. Both ways of solving a problem require analytical skills.

How Analytical Skills Work

Most types of work require analytical skills. You use them to solve problems that may not have obvious solutions or that have several variables.

Let’s say you’re the manager of a restaurant and have been going over budget on food for the past two weeks. You review the menus and what customers have ordered along with food costs from your suppliers.

You see that the cost of seafood has increased over the past two weeks. When you talk to the supplier, they explain that there’s been a disruption in the supply chain due to weather. They’ve increased costs to compensate. You decide to reduce your seafood order to lower costs and work with your chef to develop new specials that take advantage of other protein options.

In this example, you used analytical skills to review data from different sources, integrated new information, and made a decision based on your observations.

Types of Analytical Skills

Catherine Song / The Balance

The best analytical skills to highlight on a resume depend on the position you’re applying for. Here are five skills to consider.


Analysis only goes so far if you can’t share and implement your findings. You need to be an effective communicator to discuss the patterns you see and your conclusions and recommendations.

Analytical communication skills include:


Analyzing information often requires a creative eye to spot trends in the data that others may not find. Creativity is also important when it comes to problem-solving. The obvious solution is not always the best option. Employees with strong analytical skills will think outside the box to come up with effective solutions to big problems.

Creative skill sets include:

  • Budgeting
  • Brainstorming
  • Collaboration
  • Optimization
  • Predictive modeling
  • Restructuring 
  • Strategic planning
  • Integration

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking refers to evaluating information and then making a decision based on your findings. Critical thinking is what helps an employee make decisions that help solve problems for a company. It may include:

  • Process management
  • Auditing
  • Benchmarking
  • Big data analytics
  • Business intelligence
  • Case analysis
  • Causal relationships
  • Classifying
  • Comparative analysis
  • Correlation
  • Decision-making
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Diagnostics
  • Dissecting
  • Evaluating
  • Data interpretation
  • Judgment
  • Prioritization
  • Troubleshooting

Data Analysis

No matter what your career field, being good at analysis means being able to examine a large volume of data and identify trends in that data. You have to go beyond just reading and understanding information to make sense of it by highlighting patterns for top decision-makers.

There are many different types of data analysis, but some of the most common ones in today’s workplace include:

  • Business analysis
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis
  • Cost analysis
  • Credit analysis
  • Critical analysis
  • Descriptive analysis
  • Financial analysis
  • Industry research
  • Policy analysis
  • Predictive analytics 
  • Prescriptive analytics
  • Process analysis
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Return on investment (ROI) analysis


You must learn more about a problem before you can solve it, so an essential analytical skill is being able to collect data and research a topic. This can involve reviewing spreadsheets, researching online, collecting data, and looking at competitor information. 

Analytical research skills include:

  • Investigation
  • Metrics
  • Data collection
  • Prioritization
  • Checking for accuracy


Analytical thinking is a soft skill, but field-specific, technical types of analysis are hard skills. Both should be highlighted on your resume and in interviews.

Highlighting Analytical Skills

Analytical skills are sought after employers, so it’s best to highlight these skills when you’re applying and interviewing for jobs. Consider:

  • Adding relevant skills to your resume: Keywords are an essential component of a resume, as hiring managers use the words and phrases of a resume and cover letter to screen job applicants, often through recruitment management software.
  • Highlighting skills in your cover letter: Mention your analytical skills and give a specific example of a time when you demonstrated those skills.
  • Provide examples in your job interview: They can be from past work, volunteer, or school experiences.

Key Takeaways

  • Analytical skills refer to the ability to collect and analyze information, problem-solve, and make decisions.
  • You use analytical skills when detecting patterns, brainstorming, observing, interpreting data, and making decisions based on the multiple factors and options available to you. 
  • Most types of work require analytical skills. You use them to solve problems that may not have obvious solutions or have several variables.
  • There are many types of analytical skills, including communication, creativity, critical thinking, data analysis, and research. 
  • Highlight and provide examples of your skills in your resume, cover letter, and interviews. 

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Analytical skills: the ability to make sense of data

What Are Analytical Skills? 

Analytical skills are the abilities which allow you to collect, organize, visualize, and assimilate data. They let you see patterns, draw conclusions, and find solutions that can boost your employee productivity and company’s bottom-line performance.

No surprise it’s very hard to find a job offer where analytical skills aren’t listed among the employer’s requirements.

It would be a bit of an understatement to say that analytical skills are the same as research or problem-solving skills. 

Analytical skills consist of a set of abilities. That’s why we’re talking about skills, not a single skill. They can be treated as an umbrella term for a set consisting of such skills as:

List of Analytical Skills

  • Research
  • Forecasting
  • Problem-solving
  • Data mining
  • Data and metrics interpreting
  • Reporting
  • Organization
  • Communication
  • Diagnostics
  • Troubleshooting
  • Creativity
  • Theorizing
  • Brainstorming

In practice, your analytical skills can enable you to prepare a highly accurate sales forecast. This is more than solving a single problem.

In the next section we’ll have a look at some hands-on examples.

Want to find out more about other essential skills in the workplace? We’ve got you covered! Try our guides:


Examples of Analytical Skills in the Workplace

Analytical skills are welcome by employers from a wide variety of industries.


Because of their versatility.

Analytical skills are transferable and come in handy in lots of professional contexts. Take a look at the list of jobs that require analytical skills:

In fact, the list could go on and on.

Thanks to new business models and rapid technological development, there appear more and more jobs where analytical skills are more than welcome.

Think of SEO, CRO, UI/UX, or product development positions in SaaS companies.

Analytical Skills—Example


At this point, you may feel like you can more or less define analytical skills.

But what do analytical skills mean in practice?

Here’s an example:

Say, one of your website’s landing pages has been underperforming in terms of sales. You’ve been tasked with identifying the problem and proposing a solution.

The task requires you to use at least a couple of your analytical skills and take several steps:

First, you might want to decide what data you’ll be looking at to make initial assumptions.

  • How did the page perform historically in relation to other landing pages?
  • Was there a moment in time when something changed?
  • What does the structure of the page look like?
  • What keywords is it centered around?
  • What anchors are used to link to it?

Once you collect the relevant data, you might want to start putting it together to look for patterns and anomalies, theorize, prepare an action plan, and communicate it to your team leader.

If you have analytical skills, these are the things that might be expected of you at work.

Depending on your industry, experience, and expertise you may be asked to:

  • Develop solutions with the use of statistical analysis, simulations or predictive modeling.
  • Devise and evaluate methods for collecting data (e.g. surveys, questionnaires, or opinion polls).
  • Review budget proposals for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with laws and other regulations.
  • Conduct simplification and measurement studies to devise efficient and effective ways of operating.
  • Select hardware and software to ensure stable and efficient support of the network.


Even though all these tasks come from various industries, they all require strong analytical skills to succeed.

There are many other examples of analytical skills:

  • Synthesize large volumes of data

It’s not just about researching any data. You need to be able to identify what data is relevant and what is just random noise.

  • Visualize and communicate your findings

Making sense of data is one thing, it’s equally important to be able to put your point across in a convincing manner.

  • Compare available resources

Sometimes it all boils down to looking at pros and cons of available solutions and putting them in a larger context.

  • Draw logical conclusions

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re working with a data set or gain understanding through trial-and-error. Logical thinking is the basis of your success.

  • Find solutions to problems

Even though your analytical skills can serve other purposes than problem-solving. Most of the time this will be the most practical application of them.

  • Rationalize your choices

The choices you make must be understandable to your co-workers.

Analytical Skills Test


No employer will take your word for it.

There are a number of ways in which your analytical skills can be tested:

  • Pre-employment tests

These could be taken online or at the company location. Depending on the company and the position you’re applying for these could consist of numeracy questions, literacy questions, tasks where you need to put events in a logical series or look for inconsistencies.

  • Assessment Centers

The tasks might involve training sessions which teach you some skills, which you’ll need to be able to use in practice to solve a problem. You may be asked to work in groups with other participants on case studies.

  • Interview questions

The recruiter might want to learn about specific situations where you had to use your analytical skills in practice. More on this below.

Even though analytical skills testing can take on many forms, you can be sure of one thing—

They will test you. One way or another.

The good news?

We’re talking about skills. Not talents.

And skills you can learn.

Here’s how—

How to Improve Analytical Skills

There are a number of ways for you to improve your analytical skills:

  1. Teaching.

Yes, you got it right. To teach someone effectively, you need more than just a good grasp of the subject matter. You must be able to explain it in a clear way, see it from different perspectives, understand the challenges it poses, find patterns, analogies, rules, and exceptions. Teaching others will help you hone your analytical skills and see the world through other people’s eyes.

  1. Tests.

As simple as that. Practice makes perfect. There are a lot of resources available online both paid and free that can help you develop analytical and critical thinking skills. Have a go at a couple of tests to see what’s expected of you. You can start with this one, or this one.

  1. Become more observant of the world around you.

Ask questions, consider alternatives, don’t take things for granted. No ideas on how to begin? Here’s a fun one: when watching your favorite Netflix series look for plot holes and inconsistencies, talk to your friends about them, say what you’d have done differently in the protagonist’s place. It’s a simple and enjoyable way of improving analytical skills.

  1. Play logic games.

Chess. Sudoku. Einstein’s Riddle. Rubik’s Cube. XCOM2. You name it! Improving your analytical thinking skills doesn’t have to be boring.


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Tham khảo[sửa | sửa mã nguồn]

  1. ^ “Psychology of Intelligence Analysis”, Richard J. Heuer Jr, published by “Center for the Study of Intelligence”, 1999, ISBN 1 929 667-00-0

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Logical Reasoning[edit]

Logical reasoning is a process consisting of inferences, where premises and hypotheses are formulated to arrive at a probable conclusion.[8] It is a broad term covering three sub-classifications in deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning and abductive reasoning.[9]

Deductive Reasoning[edit]

Deductive reasoning is a basic form of valid reasoning, commencing with a general statement or hypothesis, then examines the possibilities to reach a specific, logical conclusion’.[10] This scientific method utilises deductions, to test hypotheses and theories, to predict if possible observations were correct.[11]

A logical deductive reasoning sequence can be executed by establishing: an assumption, followed by another assumption and finally, conducting an inference. For example, ‘All men are mortal. Harold is a man. Therefore, Harold is mortal.’[11]

For deductive reasoning to be upheld, the hypothesis must be correct, therefore, reinforcing the notion that the conclusion is logical and true. It is possible for deductive reasoning conclusions to be inaccurate or incorrect entirely, but the reasoning and premise is logical. For example, ‘All bald men are grandfathers. Harold is bald. Therefore, Harold is a grandfather.’ is a valid and logical conclusion but it is not true as the original assumption is incorrect.[12] Deductive reasoning is an analytical skill used in many professions such as management, as the management team delegates tasks for day-to-day business operations.[13][14]

Inductive Reasoning[edit]

Inductive reasoning compiles information and data to establish a general assumption that is suitable to the situation.[15] Inductive reasoning commences with an assumption based on faithful data, leading to a generalised conclusion. For example, ‘All the swans I have seen are white. (Premise) Therefore all swans are white. (Conclusion)’.[15] It is clear that the conclusion is incorrect, therefore, it is a weak argument. To strengthen the conclusion, it is made more probable, for example, ‘All the swans I have seen are white. (Premise) Therefore most swans are probably white (Conclusion)’.[15] Inductive reasoning is an analytical skill common in many professions such as the corporate environment, where statistics and data are constantly analysed.[16]

Doctor using abductive reasoning to diagnose a man with diabetes

The 6 types of inductive reasoning[edit]

  1. Generalised: This manner utilises a premise on a sample set to extract a conclusion about a population.[15]
  2. Statistical: This is a method that utilises statistics based on a large and viable random sample set that is quantifiable to strengthen conclusions and observations.[15]
  3. Bayesian: This form adapts statistical reasoning to account for additional or new data.[15]
  4. Analogical: This is a method that records on the foundations of shared properties between two groups, leading to a conclusion that they are also likely to share further properties.[15]
  5. Predictive: This form of reasoning extrapolates a conclusion about the future based on a current or past sample.[15]
  6. Causal inference: This method of reasoning is formed around a causal link between the premise and the conclusion.[15]

Abductive reasoning[edit]

Abductive reasoning commences with layered hypotheses, which may be insufficient with evidence, leading to a conclusion that is most likely explanatory for the problem.[17] It is a form of reasoning where the conductor chooses a hypothesis that would best suit the given data.[18] For example, when a patient is ill, the doctor gathers a hypothesis from the patient’s symptoms, or other evidence, that they deem factual and appropriate. The doctor will then go through a list of possible illnesses and will attempt to assign the appropriate illness. Abductive reasoning is characterised by its lack of completeness, in evidence, explanation or both.[18] This form of reasoning can be creative, intuitive and revolutionary due to its instinctive design.[18]

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What are Analytical Skills?

Analytical skills refer to an individual’s ability to identify a problem, investigate to find out relevant facts, and find a logical solution. They are considered important skills in many different fields; however, it is especially important in finance when evaluating financial securities.

Analytical skills are the ability to collect information and to thoroughly analyze that information. They refer to problem-solving skills and making a decision based on insights drawn from the collected information.

Analytical skills are used when detecting patterns, brainstorming ideas, observing data, collecting data, interpreting data, integrating new information, synthesizing information, and making decisions based on the situation.

Types of Analytical Skills

The five types of skills that are crucial to success in many different jobs and industries are:

1. Communication

An underrated skill is the ability to communicate the analysis that has been conducted. Being able to identify problems and find solutions is useless if the conclusions and findings cannot be effectively communicated to decision-makers.

Findings from the analysis may need to be presented orally through a presentation or a meeting. The analysis may need to be presented in written form, either through a report or email. Therefore, communication skills are a critically important skill when developing overall analytical skills.

2. Creativity

Another important skill is the ability to think creatively. Many problems require “out-of-the-box” thinking in order to find the optimal solution. The obvious solution may not always be the most effective, and therefore, it is important to be able to think of creative solutions.

3. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is exceptionally important to obtaining strong overall analytical skills. It refers to the objective analysis of a complex problem to form a judgment.

Effective critical thinkers are able to think clearly and rationally and understand the logical relations between data points and ideas. To find rational solutions, critical thinking is a very important skill to master.

4. Data Analysis

Data is very important in all disciplines, specifically, the ability to analyze large volumes of data and identify patterns and trends. Therefore, it is increasingly vital to understand the discipline of statistics and quantitative analysis. Data analysis is becoming more prominent within finance, as trends such as technical trading and quant-investing continue to grow in popularity.

Quantitative analysis requires identifying patterns in data but also being able to define the findings to decision-makers, which ties into the communication aspect of analytical skills.

5. Research

Applying analytical skills requires patience and curiosity. If a problem is solved quickly, without considering all relevant information, then it is highly unlikely that it will be the most effective solution. Therefore, coming up with an effective solution requires taking the time to learn more about the problem before attempting to solve it.

Research requires collecting information and relevant data, then compiling it before analyzing it. Collecting data and thoroughly researching a topic is important for being able to apply strong analytical skills.

Importance of Analytical Skills

Analytical skills are important because they allow people to find solutions to various problems and make concrete decisions and action plans to solve those problems. As mentioned earlier, they are important skills in all disciplines, ranging from data science, project management, marketing, law, medicine, scientific research, accounting, etc.

Analytical skills are exceptionally important in finance. Financial analysts must be able to synthesize large volumes of data, analyze the data, and find a solution to various problems. For example, consider an equity research analyst for an investment fund. The problem that needs to be solved is finding the ideal equity investment that fits the portfolio’s philosophy.

In order for the analyst to solve such a problem, they must take financial information from reports of companies, pricing information, information on the current portfolio, and other relevant data points.

Next, the analyst must analyze the information and find an ideal equity investment with an optimal return and risk profile, as well as an investment that aligns with the fund’s investing philosophy. Lastly, the analyst must be able to communicate their findings to the portfolio manager, so that an investment decision can be made in a timely manner.

More Resources

CFI now offers the Business Essentials Bundle with courses on Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, business communication, data visualization, and an understanding of corporate strategy. To keep learning, we suggest these resources:

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There are a few skill sets that are important to hone no matter what industry you work in, and analytical skills are one of those.

In this article, you’ll learn about several different types of analytical skills, how to highlight them when applying for a job, and how to improve your analytical skills.

Key Takeaways

  • Analytical skills are necessary for figuring out how to overcome obstacles and make wise decisions.

  • Some examples of analytical skills are data analysis, research, critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, visualization, and creativity.

  • You should highlight your analytical skills on your resume, in your cover letter, and during your interviews.

  • It’s important to work to grow your analytical skills throughout your career.

What Are Analytical Skills?

Analytical skills are the qualities you possess that help you to assess situations rationally, create effective plans, and overcome obstacles. Analytical thinkers can separate themselves from their emotions in order to work effectively. They usually utilize a process to break down large problems into smaller issues to tackle.

There are a variety of traits and abilities that fall under the heading of strong analytical skills. Drawing attention to your strengths in analytical thinking can grab an employer’s attention, and land you an interview or a promotion.

Types of Analytical Skills

Some analytical skills may be more relevant to your field than others. Take some time to consider which qualities will be the most valuable to your potential employers. Below are some great examples of important analytical thinking that hiring managers look for on your resume.

  1. Data analysis. Taking in information, making sense of it logically, and using it to the best of your abilities is an important step in making calculated decisions.

    Having impressive skills in data analysis greatly supports analytical thinking. Considering they share a root word in common, it makes sense that these skills rely on each other.

    Data analysis could mean very different things for varying occupations.

    If you work for a retail company, it could mean:

    • Examining quarterly clothing sales

    • Considering why the numbers are what they are, and if that’s satisfactory

    • Researching possibilities for how to increase revenue

    • Make decisions about whether to stay on the current trajectory or make changes to increase sales

    • Following-up

    If you own a blog, it could mean:

    • Reading your website’s Google Analytics for each post

    • Determining increases or decreases in traffic and why that may be

    • Including traffic data points in a spreadsheet to consider trends

    • Coming up with strategies to boost website traffic based on success trends

    • Continually updating analytic data

    Contemplate where your data analysis skills come in handy, and how you could develop these skills to make yourself an even more competitive applicant.

  2. Research. Conducting worthwhile research is very important in building viable solutions. Once you’ve noticed an issue or a way things could be done better, you must look for solutions towards improvement.

    That depends on research. Luckily, we live in the age of the internet. Quite literally, we have a world of information available at our fingertips. You’re living proof of this — just look at what you’re doing right now by reading this article.

    Carrying out research on important analytical skills, in order to improve your resume and employee profile. Using detailed research in your work style enhances your analytical problem-solving process.

    Research involves:

    • Utilizing reliable resources

    • Fact-checking

    • Having an informational goal in mind

    • Attention to detail

    • Staying focused

    • Organizing data

    • Effectively presenting results

  3. Critical thinking. Critical thinking is the boat that keeps the rest of your analytical skills afloat. It’s largely about having logic and reason at work.

    It also involves always being open to learning more. Critical thinkers draw practical connections to further a company’s success. This is an extremely valuable skill for employers because critical thinkers can:

    • Determine why issues arise

    • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of a particular strategy

    • Deciphering complex issues into smaller steps

    • Develop logical plans

    • Efficiently solve problems

    • Articulate their thinking to others

  4. Communication. You may have the ability to deep-dive into research and think critically about the results. However, this isn’t very helpful without being able to accurately translate these findings to others.

    Communication is key to developing workplace relations and completing projects productively. Throughout the analytical problem-solving process, be sure to keep your co-workers and supervisors in the loop about everything you’re doing and the conclusions you’re drawing. They could have input that affects your course of action or expands on your ideas.

    Communication skills involve:

    • Friendliness

    • Emotion control

    • Listening to others

    • Asking questions

    • Trust

    • Accepting and returning feedback

    • Paying attention to non-verbal communication

    • Coordination

    • Presentation

    • Following-up on past interactions

  5. Problem-solving. Problem-solving skills may sound synonymous with analytical, but really, it’s just another skill involved in the analytical process. Employers seek to hire applicants who are adept at problem-solving to handle any unexpected circumstances or issues.

    After identifying an issue and conducting proper research, brainstorming potential solutions is next. You use problem-solving abilities to organize all the information you’ve uncovered to produce a logical plan for action.

    Problem-solving skills involve:

  6. Visualization. One of the traits that make for a strong analytical thinker is a visualization for an end goal. Having a clear vision in mind is necessary for creating a plan that works well. After all, you have to know what outcome you’re looking for to analyze whether it was successful later.

    Without an objective, your research and strategy can become disorganized. Throughout the analytical process, keeping your original goal in mind can make your analytical work more productive.

    Goal visualization involves:

    • Taking data into account

    • Acknowledging your team’s strengths and weaknesses

    • Deciding what your team’s overall goal is

    • Discussing the best routes for achieving this objective

  7. Creativity. Creative thinkers have the ability to formulate new ideas and ways of doing things. This can be extremely productive when using analytical reasoning skills.

    A large component to coming up with effective solutions to problems that involve innovation. Creative employees make groundbreaking improvements from problems.

    Creativity involves:

    • Imagination

    • Asking questions

    • Keeping goals in mind

    • Curiosity

    • Problem-solving

    • Experimentation

    • Patience

    • Transforming ideas into action

Additional Useful Analytical Skills

  • Time-Management

  • Comparison

  • Recognizing achievements

  • Providing feedback

  • Computer skills

  • Clarification

  • Organization

  • Resilience

  • Planning

  • Dedication

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What are analytical skills?

Here’s a simple definition for analytical skills: they are the ability to work with data – that is, to see patterns, trends and things of note and to draw meaningful conclusions from them. (Note: contrary to popular opinion, data includes information and facts of all types, not just statistics.) This analysis is then used to solve problems, to make business decisions or to provide recommendations to colleagues, clients and bosses.

The competency is essential to business success. It’s not surprising, then, that ‘strong analytical skills’ is frequently listed as an essential requirement on graduate job descriptions, person specifications and job adverts. The good news is that if you have completed a degree you will have honed your analytical skills. All degrees are designed to develop critical thinking, which is, for all intents and purposes, analytical skills by another name.

Are you analytical in the right way for the job?

Different degree subjects give experience of different types of information. English literature students, for example, read texts critically to form a qualitative argument or analyse the reliability of sources, while engineering students often use the quantitative results from models to further their experiments or research projects.

Different sectors and professions, too, will use information differently. A candidate well versed in qualitative research may be short on examples that will convince recruiters that they are sufficiently numerate to work confidently with lots of quantitative data. However, many of the analytical skills tests interviewers use aren’t based on your previous experiences but on how you perform then and there, and there are ways to develop your analytical skills further (see below).

How are your analytical skills likely to be tested in your graduate job application?

Online aptitude tests

, often the second stage of the application process, assess your ability to analyse a situation and make a judgement.

Situational judgement tests (SJTs), numerical tests


inductive reasoning tests

are the most likely to focus on your analytical skills. Our commercial partner


has a number of free and paid-for practice tests available for graduates.

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