How to Show Off Your Critical Thinking Skills and Land the Job

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Want to get a leg up in today’s competitive job market? As a creative professional, keeping your technical skills current is essential, but there’s another trait on which employers are placing great value: critical thinking skills.

If you were pressed to name the top skill creative managers seek for their teams, how would you respond? Perhaps user experience, web design or coding? While all of these ranked high on a list of skills in-house creative professionals would like to develop, hiring managers are increasingly seeking employees with strong critical thinking abilities, according to new Creative Team of the Future research.

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While it’s easy to list technical proficiencies like CSS, HTML or Adobe Creative Suite on a resume, an aptitude for critical thinking can be more challenging to convey. Here are some tips for highlighting your critical thinking skills throughout the job search process.

Reframe your resume

It’s important to not only list critical thinking and other soft skills on your resume, but also to tie them into your explanation of job duties or accomplishments. Show how your critical thinking skills played an important role in the successful outcome of a project. Use powerful verbs like “identified,” “analyzed” and “managed” to describe your efforts. For example, if you were tasked with creating a logo for a new product, you might mention how studying the competition, interviewing potential customers, and analyzing past sales data for similar products helped you come up with a design. Go one step further and provide any metrics related to the project, like sales growth.

Read how to refresh your resume in 30 minutes or less!

Parse your portfolio

Your work isn’t the only thing on display in your portfolio. You can also shine a light on your critical thinking skills by succinctly breaking down each project from start to finish. In both the written summary and your verbal presentation, emphasize the challenge at hand, the solutions you considered and your process for interpreting, evaluating and solving the problem. Any time you can make a business case for your decisions, do so, particularly if you can tie the outcome to measurable results.

Check out these digital portfolio best practices.

Spotlight your critical thinking skills in interviews

It’s not uncommon for a hiring manager to ask for evidence of how you’ve put your decision-making and problem-solving skills into practice. In these moments, focus not only on the outcome but also how you came to the conclusion. Remember: The interviewer isn’t looking for a right or wrong answer but rather a snapshot of your train of thought. Give examples of how you conducted research, consulted appropriate sources, weighed your options, took the time to digest the information, and considered similar past scenarios. Come to the interview armed with a few examples of how you’ve handled making important decisions or solving complex problems. You may even be able to weave them into the conversation without being directly asked about your decision-making or critical thinking skills.

Learn how to answer the most common interview questions

While you may be feeling the pressure to keep your technical skills sharp, remember that some creative managers most value flexible, collaborative and well-rounded workers who can provide creative, technical and business training. Highlighting your critical thinking skills may help you win them over.

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