How to Highlight Problem-Solving Skills on Your Resume (+ Examples)

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November 28, 2023
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19
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3 key takeaways

  • Understanding problem-solving skills
  • How to incorporate problem-solving skills into your resume with the Teal AI Resume Builder
  • Types of problem-solving skills and problem-solving skills resume examples

Good problem-solving skills are useful in virtually any job. 

Whether you're in engineering, healthcare, finance, or any other field, you'll encounter challenges that require coming up with ideas to approach crisis situations. 

This makes it a great skill for your resume—and employers are also more likely to trust you with greater responsibilities if you've proven yourself as a problem solver in the past.

Below, you’ll learn about seven types of problem-solving skills that can help you stand out in the job market, why they’re important, and how to effectively showcase them on your resume.

Understanding problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills are your ability to address challenges and obstacles effectively.

These skills involve analyzing the situation, identifying potential solutions, and implementing the most effective one. They combine critical thinking, creativity, and practicality, enabling you to tackle issues head-on and develop workable solutions.

Why employers value problem-solving skills

Employers highly value problem-solving skills because they're important for navigating the complexities of the modern workplace.

When challenges arise (and they inevitably will), employers rely on people who can approach these situations methodically and creatively. Effective problem solvers help maintain productivity, drive innovation, and contribute to a positive work culture.

7 problem-solving skills for your resume (+ examples)

1. Analytical skills

Before you can solve a problem, you need to know what the problem is.

Your resume analytical skills help you dissect complex issues to identify the underlying causes. This is the first—and perhaps most crucial—step in the problem-solving process. 

Problems often come with data that need to be interpreted. Whether it's sales figures, customer feedback, or technical reports, analytical skills help you make sense of the data, allowing you to better understand the scope of the problem.

Employers value candidates who can critically assess situations, break them down into smaller parts, and identify patterns or causes. When you’re preparing your resume, be sure to mention instances when you've analyzed complex problems, identified root causes, or used data-driven approaches to suggest potential solutions.

Analytical problem-solving skills examples

  • Analyzed sales trends over 12 months, identifying key patterns that led to a 15% increase in targeted marketing effectiveness.
  • Conducted detailed customer feedback analysis, which influenced product development, resulting in a 20% decrease in customer complaints.

2. Creativity

Traditional methods may not always provide the best solutions to complex or novel problems.

Creative thinking enables you to think outside the box and develop innovative and effective solutions that others might not see. It allows you to quickly adjust your problem-solving approach to suit different kinds of challenges, making you a more versatile and valuable candidate during job applications.

In a fast-paced work environment, the ability to adapt and develop creative solutions is highly valuable. Creative and critical thinking can set you apart from other candidates, making you more memorable to employers.

To demonstrate problem-solving skills on a resume, you can describe challenges where traditional solutions didn't work and your creative approach led to success.

Creative problem-solving skills examples

As an innovative Data Analytics Project Manager, I bring a unique blend of creative problem-solving, advanced data analysis, and Agile methodology. With a history of using creativity to tackle complex challenges, I've significantly improved efficiency and effectiveness in 100% of my positions. Known for thinking outside the box, I've developed novel solutions where traditional methods fall short, as demonstrated by a 40% increase in process efficiency in my most recent role through innovative strategy implementation.

3. Research

Researching skills often indicate a commitment to continuous learning and staying updated with the latest trends and information. They also help demonstrate a natural curiosity and a desire to understand the root cause of problems.

Be sure to describe situations where the research experience on your resume directly influenced key decisions or strategies. List certifications, courses, or workshops you've attended that required extensive research.

Research problem-solving skills examples

  • Conducted market research to identify emerging trends, leading to the development of a new product line that increased company revenue by 25%.
  • Developed a research-based proposal for waste reduction that was implemented company-wide, resulting in a 30% decrease in waste generation.

4. Decision-making

Problem-solving skills often involve generating multiple potential solutions.

Decision-making is the step that allows you to evaluate these options and choose the most effective action plan. It's what moves the process from theoretical to practical, enabling implementation.

But with complex problems, decisions aren't always final. Once a decision is made and implemented, you can collect data on its effectiveness. This feedback loop is important for workplaces that prioritize continuous improvement, making you a valuable candidate during a job search. 

Employers look for candidates who can make informed decisions, especially under pressure or in ambiguous situations. When crafting a resume, be sure to describe leadership roles or situations where your decisions guided team strategies or changed the course of projects.

Decision-making problem-solving skills example

Recipient of the "Project Excellence Award" for consistently making critical decisions under pressure, resulting in 100% on-time delivery of 12 projects.

5. Communication

Miscommunication can derail the entire problem-solving process. Effective communication skills help team members clearly articulate problems, ensuring that everyone understands the issue at hand.

Problem-solving is often a collaborative effort that requires the input and cooperation of multiple team members. Communication fosters a sense of teamwork that’s especially important in remote settings where one-on-one interaction is challenging.

Besides your team members, problem-solving often involves roping in multiple stakeholders, including management, employees, and sometimes even clients or customers. Your communication skills help your resume stand apart by demonstrating your ability to coordinate with all these different people in a timely and effective manner.

Communication problem-solving skills examples

  • Negotiated with vendors and third-party providers, securing services at an average of 15% below budget without compromising quality.
  • Presented project proposals and post-project reviews to senior management, securing approval for 90% of proposed initiatives.

6. Collaboration

By showcasing collaboration skills on a resume, you present yourself as a candidate who can coordinate with multiple team members with minimal strife or friction. This is very important to smaller teams in tightly-knit workplaces, such as early-stage startups and small businesses.

To properly emphasize your collaboration skills, describe projects where you worked as part of a team in the experience section of your resume. Mention the team's size, diversity (if relevant), and the project's outcome. 

Collaboration problem-solving skills example

As an innovative Software Engineer with expertise in Java and Full-Stack Development, I bring a blend of technical proficiency and strategic problem-solving to every project. My experience includes a pivotal role in a team of 8 engineers, where we collaboratively developed and launched three new software products, resulting in a substantial 25% increase in company revenue. My advanced skills in Java programming and comprehensive full-stack development have enabled me to contribute effectively across all stages of the software development lifecycle. This skill set, combined with a creative and analytical approach to problem-solving, allows me to adapt to evolving project needs and technological landscapes effectively.

7. Planning

Planning helps you set clear objectives for problem-solving.

Knowing what you aim to achieve makes it easier to prepare the action plan needed to reach there. Conceptual skills like planning also allow you to allocate resources like time, workforce, and materials efficiently. 

All of these are prized skills for any leadership or management role. For roles that need self-starters who can work with minimal supervision, planning skills are one of the first things that employers look for in a candidate.

If you want to demonstrate your planning skills in a resume, describe projects or tasks where planning was crucial to success. 

Mention the scope of the project, the tools or methods you used, and the outcome. If you've used tools like Microsoft Project, Asana, Trello, or other project management software, be sure to include them, too.

Planning tools for problem-solving examples

  • Asana
  • Trello
  • Microsoft Project
  • Kanban
  • Mind Mapping
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Scrum

How to add problem-solving skills to your resume

When it comes to showcasing your problem-solving skills on your resume, it's all about how you frame your experiences and skills.

Let's break it down.

Use the right tools

You need the right tools before you start writing your resume section by section and adding your problem-solving skills.

The free Teal AI Resume Builder offers one platform to create, write, update, align, and improve your resume.

With Teal, managing your experience and skills becomes organized and straightforward, simplifying your resume writing step by step.

A tool used to add problem-solving skills to a resume
Streamline adding problem-solving skills to your resume with Teal.

Start with your professional summary

Begin with a strong professional summary that showcases your career achievements.

This section should aggregate your experience and highlight your most significant accomplishments, particularly those demonstrating your problem-solving abilities.

For example, you could mention leading a challenging project to a successful conclusion or innovating a process that significantly improved efficiency along with the metrics and results to underscore the impact of your actions.

These details illustrate your problem-solving skills and provide a concrete measure of your effectiveness in previous roles.

Focus on work experience

In your "Work Experience" section, it's important to focus not just on what you did but how you did it.

When describing each role, emphasize how you used your problem-solving skills to make an impact. This could include resolving complex issues, implementing new systems, or improving existing processes.

Be sure to use action verbs like "analyzed," "resolved," or "implemented" to add energy to your descriptions. Additionally, quantify your achievements wherever possible to provide a clear sense of your impact.

Incorporate a "Skills" section

Your resume "Skills" section should list the tools or methods you've used in problem-solving instead of soft skills like "problem-solving," "communication skills," or "decision-making skills."

Instead, list technical skills like "data analysis," "Trello," and "Google Analytics" to give a clear picture of your abilities and how you apply them to solve problems.

Why?

Well, by listing your hard skills, you can help prospective employers understand the exact tools you're proficient in and how you can apply these skills in a practical work environment. By being specific, you demonstrate a tangible and direct connection between your skills and real-world problem-solving.

Add education, projects, volunteer experience, and more

Don't overlook other parts of your resume, like education, projects, or volunteer experience. These additional sections can be a goldmine for showcasing your problem-solving skills.

For example, if you worked on a complex project during an internship, outline how you navigated challenges or introduced innovative solutions. Similarly, in a volunteer role where you tackled a significant issue, describe the steps you took and the outcome you achieved.

These experiences can effectively demonstrate your ability to apply problem-solving skills in diverse settings, offering further evidence of your value as a potential employee.

Pro Tip: The Teal AI Resume Builder offers expert guidance for every resume section, so you don't miss any important details hiring managers and recruiters might be looking for.

Expert guidance for adding problem-solving skills and other details to a resume professional summary
Add problem-solving skills and other important details to any section of your resume with expert guidance.

Structure your resume to highlight problem-solving skills

To effectively highlight your problem-solving skills:

  • Use clear, concise language and maintain a professional tone.
  • Start each bullet point of your work experience with a strong action verb to convey the active role you played in solving problems.
  • Quantify your achievements to provide context and show the tangible impact of your problem-solving efforts.

By structuring your resume this way, you showcase your problem-solving skills and demonstrate your ability to communicate your value effectively to potential employers.

Tailoring problem-solving skills to job descriptions

While it can be tempting to list every problem-solving skill you have, there's something to keep in mind. The job of your resume is to align your experience with the role you're applying for. And that means using a strategic approach to analyzing job descriptions and customizing your resume.

Analyzing job descriptions for problem-solving skills

Begin by reading the job description. Pay close attention to the language. Are they looking for analytical skills, research, or collaboration? Identifying these keywords is the foundation for tailoring your resume.

If you want to save time and streamline your approach, the Teal AI Resume Builder and Job Application Tracker pull hard skills, soft skills, and other important language from the job description to make this easy!

An example of keywords from a job description used to tailor resume problem-solving skills
Get the right keywords from any job description to tailor your problem-solving skills.

Customize your resume

Once you clearly understand what a prospective employer is looking for, it's time to list problem-solving skills accordingly.

Highlight specific instances from your professional experience—for example, when you've used critical thinking skills successfully or applied similar problem-solving skills. Include these keywords alongside metrics and impact to provide concert proof of your skills. (If you're not sure which terms or phrases align, try using resume synonyms.)

Once you've finished tailoring, compare your resume to a job description to see how well it aligns using Teal's Match Score tool.

An example of a resume compared to a job description to assess resume problem-solving skills alignment
Compare your resume to any job description to see how well your content aligns.

Add problem-solving skills to your resume with Teal

Problem-solving skills are important—they're essential tools that demonstrate your ability to navigate complex situations and find effective solutions. They show employers you're ready to tackle challenges and drive results.

Teal can help you add them to your resume quickly and easily.

With expert guidance that helps you highlight these crucial skills in the right sections using the most optimal keywords, plus a Match Score to ensure your skills align perfectly with specific job requirements—Teal is your partner every step of the way.

Ready to make your resume problem-solving skills shine? Sign up for Teal for free today.

Frequenty Asked Questions

Kayte Grady

Kayte, the Senior Copywriter at Teal, creates compelling content that builds connection, trust, and brand loyalty to drive conversions. With a data-driven approach to writing and a love of people, she's found growth and camaraderie in tech—a pleasant surprise given her never-ending devotion to the paper calendar.

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