Analytical skills are a powerful set of tools and techniques to understand problems and work toward solutions. The value of analytical capability is much in the news: consider the rise of data science and Big Data. Analytical skills are problem-solving skills. They’re a collection of traits and abilities that emphasize a logical, rational approach to tackling new ideas, sorting information, and discovering creative solutions. Having a natural inclination toward analytical thinking certainly helps, but it isn’t necessary. An analytical skill is just that: a skill! And skills can be learned.

Here are a few examples of common analytical skills:

  • Communication
  • Budgeting
  • Data analysis

Effective Research

Being able to effectively research and gather data is an invaluable analytical skill, and gathering the right information from the right sources isn’t always easy.

As an effective researcher, you need to know what’s relevant and what isn’t. You need to know what sources are reputable, and which aren’t. You need to stay focused on the task at hand, and not gather extraneous data.

Assembling information in a timely manner is important to your manager because it means the company’s time is being utilized well.

Demonstrate that you can wield this analytical skill and your resume will shine

Start with a clear framework

When we talk about developing analytical skills and applying them to our projects, there is often a temptation among students to jump straight into analysis. However, good analytical work requires students to follow some protocol, procedures and a well-established plan, and that is especially important in the era of information revolution, as we have sometimes too much information on important topics.  I always advise my students that the first rule is to start with the basics and foundations and not skip the first step: reading textbooks, articles and other materials in order to come to a common understanding of the general types of analytical skills and analytical tools that we need for our projects.

Strategy Development

Understanding your organization’s capabilities and opportunities requires an analytical approach. It is easy to overestimate what an organization can do and misunderstand competitors. Analytical skills help to reduce cognitive bias thereby improving the quality of the strategy.

Creative Thinking

This ties in well with being an efficient problem solver. Creative thinking is an analytical skill that’s highly valued and very transferrable.

Nurturing your inner wellspring of creativity will help you tackle challenging problems. It will also encourage you to try alternative methods and inventive approaches that may help streamline the problem-solving

Being a creative thinker means you are able to see a problem from a different vantage point than most. This makes you an invaluable asset to the team.