No matter whether a job involves taking apart a car engine, picking up rubbish or writing technical reports, employers tell us you’re more employable if you can show you have the ability to think.
You don’t need to be a deep thinker, but you do need to show that you can solve problems, form an opinion and come up with new ideas.
Make your thinking skills stand out on your CV
You’re going to make an employer sit up and take notice of your CV if you can show strong thinking skills through:
1. Your work experience
Have you ever managed a band or coached a sports team? If so you might have analysed your band’s or team’s performance, made decisions about where to play or when to use certain players, and had opinions about what your band or team needs to improve on to succeed. This kind of experience showcases your ability to form opinions, create strategies and come up with new ideas – all employability skills a potential boss will like.
Customer service experience can also offer proof of your thinking skills. When you help a customer with a question or complaint, you’re using your problem solving skills to come up with a solution. You’re showing valuable skills of creatively thinking of options to help your customer, weighing up the options and using your opinions to choose the best one for them.
Don’t forget to include work experience programmes such as Gateway on your CV.
Programmes such as Hackfests have activities where students work together to solve a problem or improve something for the business they are interning at. They may also need you to create something new. This creativity and problem solving signals to employers that your thinking skills are a good fit for their workplace.
2. Your achievements
Listing your involvement in competitions like Mathletics, Stage Challenge or Young Enterprise Scheme is a smart way to get an employer’s attention. Competitions like these show your ability to come up with fresh ideas, be creative and to think of solutions under pressure.
3. Your interests
Your interests can really show your thinking skills have polish. Activities like chess, community fundraising and creating apps show your strategic and thinking skills are something you even work on in your spare time.
4. Your top subjects
School leavers with very little work experience should list their best school subjects involving critical thinking. Subjects such as maths, sciences, economics, social studies, digital technologies and construction and mechanical technologies all demonstrate how you can reason and solve problems.
Interviews a good time to demonstrate your thinking skills
At interviews you’re often asked to talk about a time when you solved a problem. Before you go to the interview, get ready to promote your great thinking skills by remembering at least three situations where you had a problem during work, work experience or in your personal life and how you resolved those problems successfully. Follow the STAR interview response method approach:
S – Situation – what happened, what was the problem?
T – Task – what was the goal, what did you hope to achieve?
A – Action – what did you do to fix the problem, what steps did you take?
R – Result – what was the outcome?
Impress with your thinking skills during work experience
Surprisingly, when something goes wrong is often the best time to show you have solid employability skills. Your thinking skills will look good when something goes wrong if you:
- Have some ideas about how to solve the problem.
- Try to fix it yourself, following a process you’ve been told to do.
- Can explain the steps you took to fix it.
- Know the right person to ask for help if you can’t fix it.
Watch this space as we bring you more articles on the skills employers need you to have, so you can win at job seeking.
Find out more about employability skills
- Should you put communication skills on your CV?
- How to show your positive attitude to employers
- Why are these seven skills so important to employers?
- Skills employers are looking for