The 6 Best Critical Thinking Skills To Add to Your Resume

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November 27, 2023
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19
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3 key takeaways

  • Why critical thinking is key for all career levels and industries 
  • How to incorporate the six critical thinking skills hiring managers look for into your resume, with real-life examples
  • How Teal’s AI Resume Builder helps you incorporate critical thinking skills throughout multiple sections of your resume—quickly and easily

Hiring managers value professionals with both hard and soft skills. Strong contributors can assess a situation and make calculated decisions while considering different points of view. That’s where critical thinking comes in. 

Having strong critical thinking skills on your resume is a strength and helps you stand out as a candidate capable of making informed decisions, solving complex problems, and contributing to team objectives.

But which skills do employers prioritize?

Below, you’ll learn about the six most important critical thinking skills to highlight, including practical ways to include them on your resume. 

What is critical thinking, and why is it important?

The critical thinking process is the ability to think clearly and rationally, connect ideas, and apply logic to situations.

People who develop critical thinking skills and demonstrate them are adept at analyzing facts, identifying biases, and developing rational judgment when dealing with a situation or problem. 

For example, a team working on a go-to-market strategy needs to think about the business goal, brainstorm various options, and analyze which has the highest rate of success. 

Critical thinking is important for every career stage and every industry. You can analyze different perspectives, develop multiple solutions independently and with colleagues, and practice lifelong learning. Strong critical thinkers can identify biases, be curious, and understand how relevant something is to the situation. 

Top 6 critical thinking skills

Here are six common critical thinking skills that hiring managers often look for:

1. Questioning

A questioning mindset is the starting point for critical thinking.

People with a questioning mindset have strong observation skills and can quickly identify new problems and opportunities. Typically, those with a questioning mindset are curious and dive into research as they analyze a situation. 

By regularly asking questions like, "How can we do this better?" or, "What can we learn from this?" you contribute to an environment focused on growth and development.

Showcasing your questioning skills on a resume involves more than just listing "Questioning" under the “Skills” section. You'll want to weave it into various parts of your resume alongside qualifications, impact, and hard skills to demonstrate how you've applied it in real-world situations.

For example you can demonstrate critical thinking skills like this:

Work Experience

  • Questioned existing project management methodologies and initiated a review, leading to a 25% increase in project delivery efficiency
  • Conducted 12 stakeholder interviews per quarter to understand project requirements, ensuring alignment with organizational goals
  • Regularly engaged 10+ team members during meetings to foster open communication, resulting in improved collaboration

Add critical thinking skills to your work experience with Teal

Your resume soft skills, like critical thinking, should be highlighted alongside hard skills, qualifications, and impact to show how you used them for success.

With the Teal AI Resume Builder, you can showcase these key skills in your "Work Experience" section, as part of your awards, in a dedicated "Projects" section, and more. Teal provides customizable sections with built-in guidance so you can create a comprehensive overview of your career—without forgetting any important  sections or details.

Where to showcase critical thinking skills on a resume
Add critical thinking skills to every section of your resume without forgetting important details

2. Creativity

Creativity and critical thinking are usually considered two opposite ends of the skills spectrum—but in reality, the two are deeply interconnected. 

Creativity critical thinking can help you break free from established thought processes, patterns, and biases, which is crucial for evaluating information objectively and making rational decisions.

A creative mindset encourages challenging existing norms and assumptions. This helps foster a growth mindset that aligns with the cultural values of many startups. By introducing novelty, flexibility, and depth to the decision-making process, creativity helps you deliver better results for the business.

Integrating creativity as a critical thinking skill into your resume involves showcasing instances where you've taken non-generic approaches to solve problems, make decisions, or innovate. 

Here's one way you can incorporate creativity into your resume:

Awards

  • Innovation Challenge Winner (2022): Led a team of 15 people to win an industry innovation challenge by creatively solving a long-standing issue in supply chain management
An award on a resume featuring critical thinking skills
Showcase critical thinking skills like creativity in an "Awards" section.

3. Analysis

Analytical skills on a resume add significant value in virtually any professional setting and are crucial for personal development as well. Demonstrating these skills can help show that you’re adaptable in the workplace and able to draw correct conclusions from information.

Here's how you can showcase analytical skills in the "Projects" section of your resume:

Projects

  • Customer Behavior Prediction: Utilized machine learning algorithms to analyze customer behavior, leading to more targeted marketing and a 25% increase in sales
  • Website Optimization: Conducted A/B tests on website elements, leading to an improved user experience and a 15% increase in engagement
  • Resource Allocation: Analyzed departmental needs and reallocated resources, resulting in a 10% decrease in operational costs

4. Decision-making

In fast-paced work environments, employers value job seekers who can identify and analyze problems and make effective decisions to solve them.

Hiring managers often look for candidates with strong decision-making skills within teams, which may require technical or industry-specific expertise. Strong decision-making among a team can contribute to better cohesion and collective problem-solving.

In addition to incorporating decision-making skills in your professional summary, work experience, projects, and more, a resume "Skills" section can be a compelling way to showcase decision-making—highlighting the tools you used to analyze situations, weigh options, and execute effective solutions—making your resume more persuasive.

A resume skills section featuring critical thinking skills
Use your "Skills" section to highlight the tools you used to make effective decisions.

5. Communication

Once you’ve identified an issue and discussed possible solutions, good communication comes in handy. Good communication skills mean you can present conclusions in a persuasive manner—written or verbal.

However, good communication isn’t just about speaking; it's also about listening. Active listening and open-mindedness help you understand other perspectives and shift your own when necessary. It also involves understanding your and others’ emotions.

There are plenty of ways to integrate communication skills into your resume, whether that's under work experience, projects, or your “Education” section. Sharing quantifiable metrics can also go a long way toward showing how your communication skills have saved the day in your past roles.

Here's a quick example:

Work Experience

  • Facilitated team meetings to ensure clear communication and effective collaboration, resulting in a 20% increase in project completion rates
  • Presented quarterly reports with team performance and future strategies to senior management

6. Leadership

Good leaders need to be able to evaluate the potential risks and benefits of a course of action (or many) and guide their teams toward the best possible outcomes. By showcasing how your leadership skills have benefited your past companies, you demonstrate your effectiveness as a critical thinker.

One of the most effective ways to highlight your leadership skills on your resume is to show the impact you made at various organizations, with key metrics to show your decisions under pressure.

Here's an example:

Work Experience 

  • Spearheaded team expansion from 10 to 30 members in 12 months, leading to a 40% increase in project delivery efficiency and overall team productivity
  • Established and led a cross-functional task force, resulting in a 25% reduction in project timelines and a subsequent 15% improvement in client satisfaction
  • Directed a team through a critical organizational restructuring, boosting employee morale and engagement, and contributing to a 20% reduction in staff turnover

How to add critical thinking skills to your resume or cover letter

In a competitive job market, employers aren’t just looking for technical expertise or hard skills—they also want candidates who can think critically, solve complex problems, resolve conflict, and adapt to the ever-changing professional landscape.

Exceptional critical thinking and conceptual skills can be the difference between you and another candidate. They demonstrate your ability to analyze situations, make sound decisions, and lead teams—all of which are invaluable in almost any role and industry.

Here are a few ways you can include critical thinking skills on your resume or cover letter to make sure your job application stands out:

1. Use action verbs that highlight critical thinking

Action verbs can bring your critical thinking skills to life and make your resume more engaging. Instead of using generic verbs like "did" or "made," opt for more dynamic verbs such as "analyzed," "formulated," "assessed," or "strategized."

2. Integrate critical thinking into your brand

Your resume summary is often the first thing recruiters read. By embedding critical thinking skills there, you set the tone for the rest of your resume.

For example, a statement like "Results-driven professional, skilled in analytical problem-solving and strategic decision-making" immediately signals to the employer that you have valuable critical thinking skills.

3. Use real-world scenarios and projects

Real-world examples offer concrete evidence of your critical thinking abilities. You can create a separate “Projects” section where you detail specific instances of how you applied critical thinking to solve real-world problems. This provides context that makes your skills more relatable and impactful.

Add critical-thinking skills to your resume with Teal

The job search can seem daunting at first. No matter your industry or career level, editing your resume is easier with Teal. 

Teal’s AI Resume Builder helps you quickly generate personalized resumes tailored for each job application. Incorporate your critical thinking ability by customizing every section and following expert guidance to ensure you don't miss a beat every time you hit apply.

Want to learn more about how Teal can help create a standout resume? Sign up for a free account today to get started!

Frequenty Asked Questions

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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