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26 Good Examples of Problem Solving (Interview Answers)
By Biron Clark
Published: October 31, 2023
Employers like to hire people who can solve problems and work well under pressure. A job rarely goes 100% according to plan, so hiring managers will be more likely to hire you if you seem like you can handle unexpected challenges while staying calm and logical in your approach.
But how do they measure this?
They’re going to ask you interview questions about these problem solving skills, and they might also look for examples of problem solving on your resume and cover letter. So coming up, I’m going to share a list of examples of problem solving, whether you’re an experienced job seeker or recent graduate.
Then I’ll share sample interview answers to, “Give an example of a time you used logic to solve a problem?”
It is the ability to identify the problem, prioritize based on gravity and urgency, analyze the root cause, gather relevant information, develop and evaluate viable solutions, decide on the most effective and logical solution, and plan and execute implementation.
Problem-solving also involves critical thinking, communication , listening, creativity, research, data gathering, risk assessment, continuous learning, decision-making, and other soft and technical skills.
Solving problems not only prevent losses or damages but also boosts self-confidence and reputation when you successfully execute it. The spotlight shines on you when people see you handle issues with ease and savvy despite the challenges. Your ability and potential to be a future leader that can take on more significant roles and tackle bigger setbacks shine through. Problem-solving is a skill you can master by learning from others and acquiring wisdom from their and your own experiences.
It takes a village to come up with solutions, but a good problem solver can steer the team towards the best choice and implement it to achieve the desired result.
Watch: 26 Good Examples of Problem Solving
Examples of problem solving scenarios in the workplace.
- Correcting a mistake at work, whether it was made by you or someone else
- Overcoming a delay at work through problem solving and communication
- Resolving an issue with a difficult or upset customer
- Overcoming issues related to a limited budget, and still delivering good work through the use of creative problem solving
- Overcoming a scheduling/staffing shortage in the department to still deliver excellent work
- Troubleshooting and resolving technical issues
- Handling and resolving a conflict with a coworker
- Solving any problems related to money, customer billing, accounting and bookkeeping, etc.
- Taking initiative when another team member overlooked or missed something important
- Taking initiative to meet with your superior to discuss a problem before it became potentially worse
- Solving a safety issue at work or reporting the issue to those who could solve it
- Using problem solving abilities to reduce/eliminate a company expense
- Finding a way to make the company more profitable through new service or product offerings, new pricing ideas, promotion and sale ideas, etc.
- Changing how a process, team, or task is organized to make it more efficient
- Using creative thinking to come up with a solution that the company hasn’t used before
- Performing research to collect data and information to find a new solution to a problem
- Boosting a company or team’s performance by improving some aspect of communication among employees
- Finding a new piece of data that can guide a company’s decisions or strategy better in a certain area
Problem Solving Examples for Recent Grads/Entry Level Job Seekers
- Coordinating work between team members in a class project
- Reassigning a missing team member’s work to other group members in a class project
- Adjusting your workflow on a project to accommodate a tight deadline
- Speaking to your professor to get help when you were struggling or unsure about a project
- Asking classmates, peers, or professors for help in an area of struggle
- Talking to your academic advisor to brainstorm solutions to a problem you were facing
- Researching solutions to an academic problem online, via Google or other methods
- Using problem solving and creative thinking to obtain an internship or other work opportunity during school after struggling at first
You can share all of the examples above when you’re asked questions about problem solving in your interview. As you can see, even if you have no professional work experience, it’s possible to think back to problems and unexpected challenges that you faced in your studies and discuss how you solved them.
Interview Answers to “Give an Example of an Occasion When You Used Logic to Solve a Problem”
Now, let’s look at some sample interview answers to, “Give me an example of a time you used logic to solve a problem,” since you’re likely to hear this interview question in all sorts of industries.
Example Answer 1:
At my current job, I recently solved a problem where a client was upset about our software pricing. They had misunderstood the sales representative who explained pricing originally, and when their package renewed for its second month, they called to complain about the invoice. I apologized for the confusion and then spoke to our billing team to see what type of solution we could come up with. We decided that the best course of action was to offer a long-term pricing package that would provide a discount. This not only solved the problem but got the customer to agree to a longer-term contract, which means we’ll keep their business for at least one year now, and they’re happy with the pricing. I feel I got the best possible outcome and the way I chose to solve the problem was effective.
Example Answer 2:
In my last job, I had to do quite a bit of problem solving related to our shift scheduling. We had four people quit within a week and the department was severely understaffed. I coordinated a ramp-up of our hiring efforts, I got approval from the department head to offer bonuses for overtime work, and then I found eight employees who were willing to do overtime this month. I think the key problem solving skills here were taking initiative, communicating clearly, and reacting quickly to solve this problem before it became an even bigger issue.
Example Answer 3:
In my current marketing role, my manager asked me to come up with a solution to our declining social media engagement. I assessed our current strategy and recent results, analyzed what some of our top competitors were doing, and then came up with an exact blueprint we could follow this year to emulate our best competitors but also stand out and develop a unique voice as a brand. I feel this is a good example of using logic to solve a problem because it was based on analysis and observation of competitors, rather than guessing or quickly reacting to the situation without reliable data. I always use logic and data to solve problems when possible. The project turned out to be a success and we increased our social media engagement by an average of 82% by the end of the year.
Answering Questions About Problem Solving with the STAR Method
When you answer interview questions about problem solving scenarios, or if you decide to demonstrate your problem solving skills in a cover letter (which is a good idea any time the job description mention problem solving as a necessary skill), I recommend using the STAR method to tell your story.
STAR stands for:
It’s a simple way of walking the listener or reader through the story in a way that will make sense to them. So before jumping in and talking about the problem that needed solving, make sure to describe the general situation. What job/company were you working at? When was this? Then, you can describe the task at hand and the problem that needed solving. After this, describe the course of action you chose and why. Ideally, show that you evaluated all the information you could given the time you had, and made a decision based on logic and fact.
Finally, describe a positive result you got.
Whether you’re answering interview questions about problem solving or writing a cover letter, you should only choose examples where you got a positive result and successfully solved the issue.
Situation : We had an irate client who was a social media influencer and had impossible delivery time demands we could not meet. She spoke negatively about us in her vlog and asked her followers to boycott our products. (Task : To develop an official statement to explain our company’s side, clarify the issue, and prevent it from getting out of hand). Action : I drafted a statement that balanced empathy, understanding, and utmost customer service with facts, logic, and fairness. It was direct, simple, succinct, and phrased to highlight our brand values while addressing the issue in a logical yet sensitive way. We also tapped our influencer partners to subtly and indirectly share their positive experiences with our brand so we could counter the negative content being shared online. Result : We got the results we worked for through proper communication and a positive and strategic campaign. The irate client agreed to have a dialogue with us. She apologized to us, and we reaffirmed our commitment to delivering quality service to all. We assured her that she can reach out to us anytime regarding her purchases and that we’d gladly accommodate her requests whenever possible. She also retracted her negative statements in her vlog and urged her followers to keep supporting our brand.
What Are Good Outcomes of Problem Solving?
Whenever you answer interview questions about problem solving or share examples of problem solving in a cover letter, you want to be sure you’re sharing a positive outcome.
Below are good outcomes of problem solving:
- Saving the company time or money
- Making the company money
- Pleasing/keeping a customer
- Obtaining new customers
- Solving a safety issue
- Solving a staffing/scheduling issue
- Solving a logistical issue
- Solving a company hiring issue
- Solving a technical/software issue
- Making a process more efficient and faster for the company
- Creating a new business process to make the company more profitable
- Improving the company’s brand/image/reputation
- Getting the company positive reviews from customers/clients
Every employer wants to make more money, save money, and save time. If you can assess your problem solving experience and think about how you’ve helped past employers in those three areas, then that’s a great start. That’s where I recommend you begin looking for stories of times you had to solve problems.
Tips to Improve Your Problem Solving Skills
Throughout your career, you’re going to get hired for better jobs and earn more money if you can show employers that you’re a problem solver. So to improve your problem solving skills, I recommend always analyzing a problem and situation before acting. When discussing problem solving with employers, you never want to sound like you rush or make impulsive decisions. They want to see fact-based or data-based decisions when you solve problems.
Next, to get better at solving problems, analyze the outcomes of past solutions you came up with. You can recognize what works and what doesn’t. Think about how you can get better at researching and analyzing a situation, but also how you can get better at communicating, deciding the right people in the organization to talk to and “pull in” to help you if needed, etc.
Finally, practice staying calm even in stressful situations. Take a few minutes to walk outside if needed. Step away from your phone and computer to clear your head. A work problem is rarely so urgent that you cannot take five minutes to think (with the possible exception of safety problems), and you’ll get better outcomes if you solve problems by acting logically instead of rushing to react in a panic.
You can use all of the ideas above to describe your problem solving skills when asked interview questions about the topic. If you say that you do the things above, employers will be impressed when they assess your problem solving ability.
If you practice the tips above, you’ll be ready to share detailed, impressive stories and problem solving examples that will make hiring managers want to offer you the job. Every employer appreciates a problem solver, whether solving problems is a requirement listed on the job description or not. And you never know which hiring manager or interviewer will ask you about a time you solved a problem, so you should always be ready to discuss this when applying for a job.
Related interview questions & answers:
- How do you handle stress?
- How do you handle conflict?
- Tell me about a time when you failed
About the Author
Read more articles by Biron Clark
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39 Best Problem-Solving Examples
Problem-solving is a process where you’re tasked with identifying an issue and coming up with the most practical and effective solution.
This indispensable skill is necessary in several aspects of life, from personal relationships to education to business decisions.
Problem-solving aptitude boosts rational thinking, creativity, and the ability to cooperate with others. It’s also considered essential in 21st Century workplaces.
If explaining your problem-solving skills in an interview, remember that the employer is trying to determine your ability to handle difficulties. Focus on explaining exactly how you solve problems, including by introducing your thoughts on some of the following frameworks and how you’ve applied them in the past.
1. divergent thinking.
Divergent thinking refers to the process of coming up with multiple different answers to a single problem. It’s the opposite of convergent thinking, which would involve coming up with a singular answer .
The benefit of a divergent thinking approach is that it can help us achieve blue skies thinking – it lets us generate several possible solutions that we can then critique and analyze .
In the realm of problem-solving, divergent thinking acts as the initial spark. You’re working to create an array of potential solutions, even those that seem outwardly unrelated or unconventional, to get your brain turning and unlock out-of-the-box ideas.
This process paves the way for the decision-making stage, where the most promising ideas are selected and refined.
Go Deeper: Divervent Thinking Examples
2. Convergent Thinking
Next comes convergent thinking, the process of narrowing down multiple possibilities to arrive at a single solution.
This involves using your analytical skills to identify the best, most practical, or most economical solution from the pool of ideas that you generated in the divergent thinking stage.
In a way, convergent thinking shapes the “roadmap” to solve a problem after divergent thinking has supplied the “destinations.”
Have a think about which of these problem-solving skills you’re more adept at: divergent or convergent thinking?
Go Deeper: Convergent Thinking Examples
Brainstorming is a group activity designed to generate a multitude of ideas regarding a specific problem. It’s divergent thinking as a group , which helps unlock even more possibilities.
A typical brainstorming session involves uninhibited and spontaneous ideation, encouraging participants to voice any possible solutions, no matter how unconventional they might appear.
It’s important in a brainstorming session to suspend judgment and be as inclusive as possible, allowing all participants to get involved.
By widening the scope of potential solutions, brainstorming allows better problem definition, more creative solutions, and helps to avoid thinking “traps” that might limit your perspective.
Go Deeper: Brainstorming Examples
4. Thinking Outside the Box
The concept of “thinking outside the box” encourages a shift in perspective, urging you to approach problems from an entirely new angle.
Rather than sticking to traditional methods and processes, it involves breaking away from conventional norms to cultivate unique solutions.
In problem-solving, this mindset can bypass established hurdles and bring you to fresh ideas that might otherwise remain undiscovered.
Think of it as going off the beaten track when regular routes present roadblocks to effective resolution.
5. Case Study Analysis
Analyzing case studies involves a detailed examination of real-life situations that bear relevance to the current problem at hand.
For example, if you’re facing a problem, you could go to another environment that has faced a similar problem and examine how they solved it. You’d then bring the insights from that case study back to your own problem.
This approach provides a practical backdrop against which theories and assumptions can be tested, offering valuable insights into how similar problems have been approached and resolved in the past.
See a Broader Range of Analysis Examples Here
6. Action Research
Action research involves a repetitive process of identifying a problem, formulating a plan to address it, implementing the plan, and then analyzing the results. It’s common in educational research contexts.
The objective is to promote continuous learning and improvement through reflection and action. You conduct research into your problem, attempt to apply a solution, then assess how well the solution worked. This becomes an iterative process of continual improvement over time.
For problem-solving, this method offers a way to test solutions in real-time and allows for changes and refinements along the way, based on feedback or observed outcomes. It’s a form of active problem-solving that integrates lessons learned into the next cycle of action.
Go Deeper: Action Research Examples
7. Information Gathering
Fundamental to solving any problem is the process of information gathering.
This involves collecting relevant data , facts, and details about the issue at hand, significantly aiding in the understanding and conceptualization of the problem.
In problem-solving, information gathering underpins every decision you make.
This process ensures your actions are based on concrete information and evidence, allowing for an informed approach to tackle the problem effectively.
8. Seeking Advice
Seeking advice implies turning to knowledgeable and experienced individuals or entities to gain insights on problem-solving.
It could include mentors, industry experts, peers, or even specialized literature.
The value in this process lies in leveraging different perspectives and proven strategies when dealing with a problem. Moreover, it aids you in avoiding pitfalls, saving time, and learning from others’ experiences.
9. Creative Thinking
Creative thinking refers to the ability to perceive a problem in a new way, identify unconventional patterns, or produce original solutions.
It encourages innovation and uniqueness, often leading to the most effective results.
When applied to problem-solving, creative thinking can help you break free from traditional constraints, ideal for potentially complex or unusual problems.
Go Deeper: Creative Thinking Examples
10. Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution is a strategy developed to resolve disagreements and arguments, often involving communication, negotiation, and compromise.
When employed as a problem-solving technique, it can diffuse tension, clear bottlenecks, and create a collaborative environment.
Effective conflict resolution ensures that differing views or disagreements do not become roadblocks in the process of problem-solving.
Go Deeper: Conflict Resolution Examples
11. Addressing Bottlenecks
Bottlenecks refer to obstacles or hindrances that slow down or even halt a process.
In problem-solving, addressing bottlenecks involves identifying these impediments and finding ways to eliminate them.
This effort not only smooths the path to resolution but also enhances the overall efficiency of the problem-solving process.
For example, if your workflow is not working well, you’d go to the bottleneck – that one point that is most time consuming – and focus on that. Once you ‘break’ this bottleneck, the entire process will run more smoothly.
12. Market Research
Market research involves gathering and analyzing information about target markets, consumers, and competitors.
In sales and marketing, this is one of the most effective problem-solving methods. The research collected from your market (e.g. from consumer surveys) generates data that can help identify market trends, customer preferences, and competitor strategies.
In this sense, it allows a company to make informed decisions, solve existing problems, and even predict and prevent future ones.
13. Root Cause Analysis
Root cause analysis is a method used to identify the origin or the fundamental reason for a problem.
Once the root cause is determined, you can implement corrective actions to prevent the problem from recurring.
As a problem-solving procedure, root cause analysis helps you to tackle the problem at its source, rather than dealing with its surface symptoms.
Go Deeper: Root Cause Analysis Examples
14. Mind Mapping
Mind mapping is a visual tool used to structure information, helping you better analyze, comprehend and generate new ideas.
By laying out your thoughts visually, it can lead you to solutions that might not have been apparent with linear thinking.
In problem-solving, mind mapping helps in organizing ideas and identifying connections between them, providing a holistic view of the situation and potential solutions.
15. Trial and Error
The trial and error method involves attempting various solutions until you find one that resolves the problem.
It’s an empirical technique that relies on practical actions instead of theories or rules.
In the context of problem-solving, trial and error allows you the flexibility to test different strategies in real situations, gaining insights about what works and what doesn’t.
16. SWOT Analysis
SWOT is an acronym standing for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
It’s an analytic framework used to evaluate these aspects in relation to a particular objective or problem.
In problem-solving, SWOT Analysis helps you to identify favorable and unfavorable internal and external factors. It helps to craft strategies that make best use of your strengths and opportunities, whilst addressing weaknesses and threats.
Go Deeper: SWOT Analysis Examples
17. Scenario Planning
Scenario planning is a strategic planning method used to make flexible long-term plans.
It involves imagining, and then planning for, multiple likely future scenarios.
By forecasting various directions a problem could take, scenario planning helps manage uncertainty and is an effective tool for problem-solving in volatile conditions.
18. Six Thinking Hats
The Six Thinking Hats is a concept devised by Edward de Bono that proposes six different directions or modes of thinking, symbolized by six different hat colors.
Each hat signifies a different perspective, encouraging you to switch ‘thinking modes’ as you switch hats. This method can help remove bias and broaden perspectives when dealing with a problem.
19. Decision Matrix Analysis
Decision Matrix Analysis is a technique that allows you to weigh different factors when faced with several possible solutions.
After listing down the options and determining the factors of importance, each option is scored based on each factor.
Revealing a clear winner that both serves your objectives and reflects your values, Decision Matrix Analysis grounds your problem-solving process in objectivity and comprehensiveness.
20. Pareto Analysis
Also known as the 80/20 rule, Pareto Analysis is a decision-making technique.
It’s based on the principle that 80% of problems are typically caused by 20% of the causes, making it a handy tool for identifying the most significant issues in a situation.
Using this analysis, you’re likely to direct your problem-solving efforts more effectively, tackling the root causes producing most of the problem’s impact.
21. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyze facts to form a judgment objectively.
It involves logical, disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence.
For problem-solving, critical thinking helps evaluate options and decide the most effective solution. It ensures your decisions are grounded in reason and facts, and not biased or irrational assumptions.
Go Deeper: Critical Thinking Examples
22. Hypothesis Testing
Hypothesis testing usually involves formulating a claim, testing it against actual data, and deciding whether to accept or reject the claim based on the results.
In problem-solving, hypotheses often represent potential solutions. Hypothesis testing provides verification, giving a statistical basis for decision-making and problem resolution.
Usually, this will require research methods and a scientific approach to see whether the hypothesis stands up or not.
Go Deeper: Types of Hypothesis Testing
23. Cost-Benefit Analysis
A cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is a systematic process of weighing the pros and cons of different solutions in terms of their potential costs and benefits.
It allows you to measure the positive effects against the negatives and informs your problem-solving strategy.
By using CBA, you can identify which solution offers the greatest benefit for the least cost, significantly improving efficacy and efficiency in your problem-solving process.
Go Deeper: Cost-Benefit Analysis Examples
24. Simulation and Modeling
Simulations and models allow you to create a simplified replica of real-world systems to test outcomes under controlled conditions.
In problem-solving, you can broadly understand potential repercussions of different solutions before implementation.
It offers a cost-effective way to predict the impacts of your decisions, minimizing potential risks associated with various solutions.
25. Delphi Method
The Delphi Method is a structured communication technique used to gather expert opinions.
The method involves a group of experts who respond to questionnaires about a problem. The responses are aggregated and shared with the group, and the process repeats until a consensus is reached.
This method of problem solving can provide a diverse range of insights and solutions, shaped by the wisdom of a collective expert group.
26. Cross-functional Team Collaboration
Cross-functional team collaboration involves individuals from different departments or areas of expertise coming together to solve a common problem or achieve a shared goal.
When you bring diverse skills, knowledge, and perspectives to a problem, it can lead to a more comprehensive and innovative solution.
In problem-solving, this promotes communal thinking and ensures that solutions are inclusive and holistic, with various aspects of the problem being addressed.
Benchmarking involves comparing one’s business processes and performance metrics to the best practices from other companies or industries.
In problem-solving, it allows you to identify gaps in your own processes, determine how others have solved similar problems, and apply those solutions that have proven to be successful.
It also allows you to compare yourself to the best (the benchmark) and assess where you’re not as good.
28. Pros-Cons Lists
A pro-con analysis aids in problem-solving by weighing the advantages (pros) and disadvantages (cons) of various possible solutions.
This simple but powerful tool helps in making a balanced, informed decision.
When confronted with a problem, a pro-con analysis can guide you through the decision-making process, ensuring all possible outcomes and implications are scrutinized before arriving at the optimal solution. Thus, it helps to make the problem-solving process both methodical and comprehensive.
29. 5 Whys Analysis
The 5 Whys Analysis involves repeatedly asking the question ‘why’ (around five times) to peel away the layers of an issue and discover the root cause of a problem.
As a problem-solving technique, it enables you to delve into details that you might otherwise overlook and offers a simple, yet powerful, approach to uncover the origin of a problem.
For example, if your task is to find out why a product isn’t selling your first answer might be: “because customers don’t want it”, then you ask why again – “they don’t want it because it doesn’t solve their problem”, then why again – “because the product is missing a certain feature” … and so on, until you get to the root “why”.
30. Gap Analysis
Gap analysis entails comparing current performance with potential or desired performance.
You’re identifying the ‘gaps’, or the differences, between where you are and where you want to be.
In terms of problem-solving, a Gap Analysis can help identify key areas for improvement and design a roadmap of how to get from the current state to the desired one.
31. Design Thinking
Design thinking is a problem-solving approach that involves empathy, experimentation, and iteration.
The process focuses on understanding user needs, challenging assumptions , and redefining problems from a user-centric perspective.
In problem-solving, design thinking uncovers innovative solutions that may not have been initially apparent and ensures the solution is tailored to the needs of those affected by the issue.
32. Analogical Thinking
Analogical thinking involves the transfer of information from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target).
In problem-solving, you’re drawing parallels between similar situations and applying the problem-solving techniques used in one situation to the other.
Thus, it allows you to apply proven strategies to new, but related problems.
33. Lateral Thinking
Lateral thinking requires looking at a situation or problem from a unique, sometimes abstract, often non-sequential viewpoint.
Unlike traditional logical thinking methods, lateral thinking encourages you to employ creative and out-of-the-box techniques.
In solving problems, this type of thinking boosts ingenuity and drives innovation, often leading to novel and effective solutions.
Go Deeper: Lateral Thinking Examples
Flowcharting is the process of visually mapping a process or procedure.
This form of diagram can show every step of a system, process, or workflow, enabling an easy tracking of the progress.
As a problem-solving tool, flowcharts help identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies in a process, guiding improved strategies and providing clarity on task ownership and process outcomes.
Multivoting, or N/3 voting, is a method where participants reduce a large list of ideas to a prioritized shortlist by casting multiple votes.
This voting system elevates the most preferred options for further consideration and decision-making.
As a problem-solving technique, multivoting allows a group to narrow options and focus on the most promising solutions, ensuring more effective and democratic decision-making.
36. Force Field Analysis
Force Field Analysis is a decision-making technique that identifies the forces for and against change when contemplating a decision.
The ‘forces’ represent the differing factors that can drive or hinder change.
In problem-solving, Force Field Analysis allows you to understand the entirety of the context, favoring a balanced view over a one-sided perspective. A comprehensive view of all the forces at play can lead to better-informed problem-solving decisions.
TRIZ, which stands for “The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving,” is a problem-solving, analysis, and forecasting methodology.
It focuses on finding contradictions inherent in a scenario. Then, you work toward eliminating the contraditions through finding innovative solutions.
So, when you’re tackling a problem, TRIZ provides a disciplined, systematic approach that aims for ideal solutions and not just acceptable ones. Using TRIZ, you can leverage patterns of problem-solving that have proven effective in different cases, pivoting them to solve the problem at hand.
38. A3 Problem Solving
A3 Problem Solving, derived from Lean Management, is a structured method that uses a single sheet of A3-sized paper to document knowledge from a problem-solving process.
Named after the international paper size standard of A3 (or 11-inch by 17-inch paper), it succinctly records all key details of the problem-solving process from problem description to the root cause and corrective actions.
Used in problem-solving, this provides a straightforward and logical structure for addressing the problem, facilitating communication between team members, ensuring all critical details are included, and providing a record of decisions made.
39. Scenario Analysis
Scenario Analysis is all about predicting different possible future events depending upon your decision.
To do this, you look at each course of action and try to identify the most likely outcomes or scenarios down the track if you take that course of action.
This technique helps forecast the impacts of various strategies, playing each out to their (logical or potential) end. It’s a good strategy for project managers who need to keep a firm eye on the horizon at all times.
When solving problems, Scenario Analysis assists in preparing for uncertainties, making sure your solution remains viable, regardless of changes in circumstances.
How to Answer “Demonstrate Problem-Solving Skills” in an Interview
When asked to demonstrate your problem-solving skills in an interview, the STAR method often proves useful. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
Situation: Begin by describing a specific circumstance or challenge you encountered. Make sure to provide enough detail to allow the interviewer a clear understanding. You should select an event that adequately showcases your problem-solving abilities.
For instance, “In my previous role as a project manager, we faced a significant issue when our key supplier abruptly went out of business.”
Task: Explain what your responsibilities were in that situation. This serves to provide context, allowing the interviewer to understand your role and the expectations placed upon you.
For instance, “It was my task to ensure the project remained on track despite this setback. Alternative suppliers needed to be found without sacrificing quality or significantly increasing costs.”
Action: Describe the steps you took to manage the problem. Highlight your problem-solving process. Mention any creative approaches or techniques that you used.
For instance, “I conducted thorough research to identify potential new suppliers. After creating a shortlist, I initiated contact, negotiated terms, assessed samples for quality and made a selection. I also worked closely with the team to re-adjust the project timeline.”
Result: Share the outcomes of your actions. How did the situation end? Did your actions lead to success? It’s particularly effective if you can quantify these results.
For instance, “As a result of my active problem solving, we were able to secure a new supplier whose costs were actually 10% cheaper and whose quality was comparable. We adjusted the project plan and managed to complete the project just two weeks later than originally planned, despite the major vendor setback.”
Remember, when you’re explaining your problem-solving skills to an interviewer, what they’re really interested in is your approach to handling difficulties, your creativity and persistence in seeking a resolution, and your ability to carry your solution through to fruition. Tailoring your story to highlight these aspects will help exemplify your problem-solving prowess.
Go Deeper: STAR Interview Method Examples
Benefits of Problem-Solving
Problem-solving is beneficial for the following reasons (among others):
- It can help you to overcome challenges, roadblocks, and bottlenecks in your life.
- It can save a company money.
- It can help you to achieve clarity in your thinking.
- It can make procedures more efficient and save time.
- It can strengthen your decision-making capacities.
- It can lead to better risk management.
Whether for a job interview or school, problem-solving helps you to become a better thinking, solve your problems more effectively, and achieve your goals. Build up your problem-solving frameworks (I presented over 40 in this piece for you!) and work on applying them in real-life situations.
Chris Drew (PhD)
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ Multiple Nuclei Model - Definition, Examples, Pros & Cons
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ World Systems Theory - Definition, Examples, Critiques
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 21 Best Computer Lab Rules
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 31 Netiquette Rules for Students & Online Discussion Boards
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10 Best Examples Of Problem-Solving Skills For Interviews
March 13, 2023 by Hannah Morgan
Being prepared to speak about your problem-solving skills is essential if you want to be a competitive applicant for any job. But many job-seekers aren’t sure where to start!
This guide will help you come up with great examples of your problem-solving skills, so you can impress the interviewer.
Table of contents
The importance of demonstrating problem-solving skills, tips for sharing examples of problem-solving in the workplace, problem-solving examples, how to find examples if this is your first job.
Problem-solving skills are a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to your success in any position. Things often veer off course and rarely go according to the plans you make on the job. Because of this, employers want to hire people who can pivot when necessary and resolve problems quickly and efficiently.
Showcasing your problem-solving skills to interviewers is a great way to prove you’re up for any challenge. It’s about showing that you know how to assess a situation, identify issues that arise, get to the root of those problems, and take the necessary steps with available resources to finesse your way out of any pickle. Highlighting your ability to navigate tough situations reassures hiring managers that you’re well-equipped to serve the company’s bottom line no matter what.
It’s an essential skill that will serve you well in any industry. From entry-level jobs up to C-suite executive roles, knowing how to solve problems will take you far.
Interviewers may ask you directly to provide examples of your problem-solving skills in action. Alternatively, they may use a series of questions to gauge your ability to overcome hurdles. Either way, you should use every opportunity to provide examples and prove that you’re capable of filling the role and using your skills to succeed.
There are many ways to discuss your problem-solving skills in the workplace. However, some examples are more effective than others. Follow these tips to choose moments that are impactful enough to leave a lasting impression.
1. Pick Examples That are Relevant to the Position You Want
The best approach when sharing examples is to choose situations that are relevant to the job you want to get. Think about the role and its responsibilities. Study the job description and research as much as you can about what this role entails.
Your goal is to identify common problems you’ll face if offered the position. Some examples are easily translatable across industries. For example, everyone’s had to deal with difficult clients or navigate tight deadlines.
If you want to deliver a memorable answer, choose unique examples that easily tie into the position. Maybe you faced similar challenges in roles you’ve already held in this industry. Or, you might want to provide examples that speak to common hurdles the hiring managers are all-too-familiar tackling.
Keep it related to the position you are interviewing for to make things easier for hiring decision-makers to envision you working in this position. It’s your chance to show precisely how you’d react to the challenges you face in this position.
2. Explain the Process
When giving your example, do more than keep it high level. You want to set the stage, provide some context, and fully explain your process and the skills you used.
That’s what hiring managers are interested in learning more about when speaking to you. Anyone can say they’ve experienced problems and fixed them. That doesn’t provide any meat to your response and barely scratches the surface of what interviewers want to know. (This is a great time to use the STAR interview method ).
Employers are interested in learning about your approach to problem-solving. What steps do you take to find a solution? Do you throw everything at the wall until something sticks? Or are you more methodical?
Hopefully, you’re the latter. Go into detail about what you do to navigate tough situations and find the solutions that work. Let them into your thought process and show them how you operate when push comes to shove.
3. Be Prepared for Follow-Up Questions
If there’s any time that interviewers will ask for follow-ups, it’ll be when talking about your problem-solving skills. This is their chance to poke for more information and gain deeper insight into your methods. You can expect follow-ups.
Don’t find yourself looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
Think about your examples and refresh your memory as much as possible. Because you’re preparing before your interview, consider taking notes about those examples.
Recall specific details. Use the acronym PEPI (Productivity, Efficiency, Profitability, Impact) to quantify your answer. Use values such as dollars or percentage saved, number of people impacted, or time saved.
It’s impossible to know what interviewers will ask, so you need to be well-versed in the events you are talking about. It would be best to remember it as clear as day so that you’re fully prepared to answer any follow-up questions.
4. Keep It Positive
Our final tip is to keep things positive.
Everyone has come up short when trying to resolve a problem. Those moments are teachable and help you grow as a person. But should you talk about them during your interview?
Ideally, you should stick to problem-solving examples with positive outcomes. And never blame or bad-mouth others. Leave out the fact that your boss was a micromanager or that the client had unrealistic expectations. Instead, focus on how the challenging situation helped in your professional development.
Go over what you learned and how you did things differently to make future problems smoother. Employers love to see growth and initiative. Ending on a positive note can make your response memorable while indicating that you’re not done learning.
You should also touch on what positive outcomes came from your efforts. That could be something as simple as avoiding disaster for your company or as impactful as increasing revenue. Highlighting your contributions can make interviewers want you even more.
Need some inspiration? The problem-solving scenarios you discuss should be unique to your own experiences, but we have also provided some solid examples you can use as a jumping-off point.
Here’s a common problem you’ll have to overcome at many jobs. Whether you work in sales or marketing, budget restrictions can severely impact how you work.
Companies operate on limited budgets, and you must often find creative solutions to maximize your resource spending to create a killer final product. This example works because it demonstrates a desired skill: Resourcefulness.
You can provide a real-world example of problem-solving where you had to get resourceful with your work without sacrificing productivity or quality. Detail how you developed a plan of attack, where you found ways to save, and the results of your work.
Using budgetary restrictions as an example of problem-solving shows that you can work with what you have. It reassures hiring managers that you can make the most out of any budget and aren’t afraid to get resourceful when necessary.
Another great example you can use is to talk about a time when you took the initiative to meet with a supervisor about a problem you anticipated.
This is a situation that can determine how successful any given employee is. Your goal is to maximize profits and maintain efficient operations. If you see something that’s not right, employers want you to take action.
That’s why this problem-solving example works so well. Not only does it give you a chance to talk about how you discovered the problem and what steps you took to resolve it, but it shows that you have the initiative to do something, even if it’s outside your wheelhouse.
Detail the problem and explain how you discovered it. Then, go into how you broached the issue with your immediate supervisor and how your initiative saved your company from a major disaster. Think critically about the cost savings this saved the company.
Everyone makes mistakes. But not everyone is willing to admit they did or take steps to resolve the subsequent problems they cause.
This example is a fantastic way to show hiring managers that you do not ignore the problems you create. It takes a lot of guts to own up to your mistakes, let alone talk about them openly during a job interview. Usually, the goal would be to avoid discussing anything that could paint you in a bad light.
But this is an exception.
Reflect on the mistake and detail how you discovered it. Then, share what actions you took. How did you get to the root of the problem, and what did you do to resolve it? You don’t need to go deep into the details of the problem. Instead, focus on the steps you took to correct the misstep.
Don’t be afraid to discuss the self-inflicted nature of the issue. However, make sure to emphasize the positive outcome and touch on the lessons you learned to avoid similar problems in the future.
Navigating Timeline Issues
Scheduling conflicts are another common occurrence in the workplace. Deadlines can pile up, forcing you to reevaluate your time-management skills or be at risk of delivering subpar work.
A good way to talk about your problem-solving skills is to reference when you had to actively change how you prioritize your work . Consider sharing a situation where the timelines were stressful, and the resources were too tight to pass your work to someone else.
Explain how you discovered that your workload was too much to handle. Then, detail what you did to reassess and reprioritize. Highlight the changes you made and why they were impactful.
End on a positive note to show the good results of your problem-solving skills. Include the value of getting the project back on track. You can also bring up the lessons you learned and how this situation helped you evolve as an employee and avoid similar problems in the future.
Sometimes, projects experience a rough start. This is especially true if you’re working on a multi-department effort that requires coordination between multiple teams.
That means a great example of problem-solving skills is talking about a time when you helped turn a project around for the better. Reflect on a situation that required your direct intervention to turn around.
This example is superb because it shows you know how to solve issues under intense pressure. It also proves that you’re capable of interdepartmental collaboration and can overcome hurdles that cause others to falter.
Describe how you reinvigorated the project by meeting with every department and explaining how the effort was at risk of falling behind. Explain your communication process and what changes you implemented to get everything back on track. Perhaps you created a new deliverables timeline and scheduled follow-up meetings to check progress.
End on the positive results and how the finished project benefited from your intervention. Use specific numbers or percentages to emphasize time saved.
Taking Action to Get Clarity
Here’s a suitable example for those who don’t have much real-world experience. Though, you can adjust the example if you have a similar story about on-the-job challenges.
In this example, you can talk about a time when you had to speak up to get clarity, despite seemingly being the only one confused about what was expected of you.
It’s a common scenario that occurs in meetings. You may sit through part of a presentation being utterly confused about the subject matter. You’re probably not the only one, but no one else feels like speaking up to ask questions.
Describe how you took the initiative to make sure everything was crystal clear. Talk about how you spoke up in the room or scheduled a meeting with your manager to ensure that you’re all on the same page. Also, think about including what didn’t happen. It could have extended a timeline by days or cost the company tens of thousands of dollars.
It sounds like a simple enough solution, but it’s one that many fail to reach.
We live in a data-heavy world, and organizations often use data to guide their decision-making. But it’s not a perfect science.
Companies can make sweeping changes based on outdated or biased information. One example you can use to display your problem-solving skills is about a time when you found additional insights that changed how your company moved forward with a big decision.
Whether you were in charge of data acquisition or not, you might have taken the initiative because you felt the information provided was inaccurate.
Describe how you came to that conclusion and why you felt the company was headed in the wrong direction. What were the red flags, and how did you get to the core of the problem?
Detail what you did to obtain the proper research and present it to key decision-makers. End on a positive outcome, and be sure to include the cost savings this had for your company. This helps you prove you’re an asset to the company you’re currently interviewing for.
Here’s an example hiring managers would love to hear more about during your interview.
If you have a moment from your past that allowed you to directly boost company profits, don’t hesitate to discuss it! Employers want to hear about major contributions like this because it shows how you can be an asset to the bottom line.
Think about when you realized you could find ways to make new or existing products more profitable. Your plan might have involved adjustments to current sales strategies, the development of new marketing initiatives, innovative sales ideas, etc.
Whatever the case, describe how you found room for growth. Explain your thought process and go into detail about how you pitched your ideas to sales leaders. Quantify the profit you contributed by bringing the idea forward. l
Once again, this example is about problem-solving and taking action. Furthermore, it highlights your creative thinking and illustrates a relevant skill that can make a difference in a sales-focused job.
Far too many people are content with doing things the way they’ve always been done. It’s fear of “rocking the boat” or hesitation to make pitches that fall outside standard job responsibilities.
An example of problem-solving that involves you making suggestions on how to streamline and improve operations can leave a lasting impact on hiring managers. These examples work because they show how you solved a relevant problem in any industry. Every organization can benefit from better efficiency.
Talk about the problems you noticed and how they affected the bottom line. Detail how you came to that conclusion and what rabbit holes you followed to get there. Describe the root of the problem and what ideas you bounced around to solve it.
Whether it was a simple change that resulted in substantial operational cost savings or an exploration into brand-new tools that took productivity through the roof, use numbers to prove your point. This example can significantly improve your chances of continuing in the hiring process.
Our final example of problem-solving is to talk about a situation when a former company was in dire need of better communication. Maybe important information got lost by the wayside due to a lack of a centralized communication hub. Or perhaps the managerial hierarchy left too much room for miscommunication.
Whatever the case, showing that you know how to solve communication barriers can work in your favor. Good communication is crucial to the success of countless industries. Detailing how you solved these problems can make you look like a skilled innovator ready to tackle the organization’s current issues.
Explain how you discovered the communication errors and what it took to understand your company’s core problem. Describe the changes you recommended and how they ultimately improved efficiency for the organization.
If this is your first job, you may feel that you don’t have enough work experience to provide meaningful examples of your problem-solving skills.
But that’s not the case. There are plenty of non-work related avenues to go.
Think about your education. You may have experience working in a collaborative environment rife with issues. Or, you could have experienced workload management problems that forced you to reevaluate and find solutions that helped you stay on top of your responsibilities.
You can also reflect on volunteering opportunities, internships, and even part-time jobs you held during your education. Get creative and think outside the job to develop examples illustrating your problem-solving skills.
Being ready to give examples of your problem-solving skills in action will go a long way when it comes to getting a job offer.
If you follow our recommendations and use our examples for inspiration, you’ll be well on your way!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success .
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What Are Problem-Solving Skills?
Definition & Examples of Problem-Solving Skills
Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.
- Problem-solving skills help you determine why an issue is happening and how to resolve that issue.
Learn more about problem-solving skills and how they work.
Problem-solving skills help you solve issues quickly and effectively. It's one of the key skills that employers seek in job applicants, as employees with these skills tend to be self-reliant. Problem-solving skills require quickly identifying the underlying issue and implementing a solution.
Problem-solving is considered a soft skill (a personal strength) rather than a hard skill that's learned through education or training. You can improve your problem-solving skills by familiarizing yourself with common issues in your industry and learning from more experienced employees.
How Problem-Solving Skills Work
Problem-solving starts with identifying the issue. For example, a teacher might need to figure out how to improve student performance on a writing proficiency test. To do that, the teacher will review the writing tests looking for areas of improvement. They might see that students can construct simple sentences, but they're struggling with writing paragraphs and organizing those paragraphs into an essay.
To solve the problem, the teacher would work with students on how and when to write compound sentences, how to write paragraphs, and ways to organize an essay.
Theresa Chiechi / The Balance
There are five steps typically used in problem-solving.
1. Analyze Contributing Factors
To solve a problem, you must find out what caused it. This requires you to gather and evaluate data, isolate possible contributing circumstances, and pinpoint what needs to be addressed for a resolution.
To do this, you'll use skills like :
- Data gathering
- Data analysis
- Historical analysis
2. Generate Interventions
Once you’ve determined the cause, brainstorm possible solutions. Sometimes this involves teamwork since two (or more) minds are often better than one. A single strategy is rarely the obvious route to solving a complex problem; devising a set of alternatives helps you cover your bases and reduces your risk of exposure should the first strategy you implement fail.
This involves skills like :
- Creative thinking
- Project design
- Project planning
3. Evaluate Solutions
Depending on the nature of the problem and your chain of command, evaluating best solutions may be performed by assigned teams, team leads, or forwarded to corporate decision-makers. Whoever makes the decision must evaluate potential costs, required resources, and possible barriers to successful solution implementation.
This requires several skills, including:
- Test development
4. Implement a Plan
Once a course of action has been decided, it must be implemented along with benchmarks that can quickly and accurately determine whether it’s working. Plan implementation also involves letting personnel know about changes in standard operating procedures.
This requires skills like:
- Project management
- Project implementation
- Time management
- Benchmark development
5. Assess the Solution's Effectiveness
Once a solution is implemented, the best problem-solvers have systems in place to evaluate if and how quickly it's working. This way, they know as soon as possible whether the issue has been resolved or whether they’ll have to change their response to the problem mid-stream.
- Customer feedback
Here's an example of showing your problem-solving skills in a cover letter.
When I was first hired as a paralegal, I inherited a backlog of 25 sets of medical records that needed to be summarized, each of which was hundreds of pages long. At the same time, I had to help prepare for three major cases, and there weren’t enough hours in the day. After I explained the problem to my supervisor, she agreed to pay me to come in on Saturday mornings to focus on the backlog. I was able to eliminate the backlog in a month.
Here's another example of how to show your problem-solving skills in a cover letter:
When I joined the team at Great Graphics as Artistic Director, the designers had become uninspired because of a former director who attempted to micro-manage every step in the design process. I used weekly round-table discussions to solicit creative input and ensured that each designer was given full autonomy to do their best work. I also introduced monthly team-based competitions that helped build morale, spark new ideas, and improve collaboration.
Highlighting Problem-Solving Skills
- Since this is a skill that's important to most employers, put them front and center on your resume, cover letter, and in interviews.
If you're not sure what to include, look to previous roles—whether in academic, work, or volunteer settings—for examples of challenges you met and problems you solved. Highlight relevant examples in your cover letter and use bullet points in your resume to show how you solved a problem.
During interviews, be ready to describe situations you've encountered in previous roles, the processes you followed to address problems, the skills you applied, and the results of your actions. Potential employers are eager to hear a coherent narrative of the ways you've used problem-solving skills .
Interviewers may pose hypothetical problems for you to solve. Base your answers on the five steps and refer to similar problems you've resolved, if possible. Here are tips for answering problem-solving interview questions , with examples of the best answers.
- It's one of the key skills that employers seek in job applicants.
- Problem-solving starts with identifying the issue, coming up with solutions, implementing those solutions, and evaluating their effectiveness.
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What Are Problem-Solving Skills? (Examples Included)
Mike Simpson 0 Comments
By Mike Simpson
Problem-solving skills are important not just for work. In the words of Karl Popper , “All life is problem-solving.”
What on earth does that mean? Simply that being alive means facing challenges. With problem-solving skills, you can navigate issues with greater ease, making hard times, well, less hard.
But what are problem-solving skills? How do you know if you have them or not? Why do they matter to your job search? And what should you do if you don’t feel yours are up to snuff? Luckily, we’re about to get into all of that.
If you’re curious about the world of problem-solving skills, here’s what you need to know.
What Are Problem-Solving Skills?
Before we dig into any examples, let’s focus first on an important question: what are problem-solving skills.
To answer that question, let’s start with the barebones basics. According to Merriam-Webster , problem-solving is “the process or act of finding a solution to a problem.” Why does that matter? Well, because it gives you insight into what problem-solving skills are.
Any skill that helps you find solutions to problems can qualify. And that means problem-solving skills aren’t just one capability, but a toolbox filled with soft skills and hard skills that come together during your time of need.
The ability to solve problems is relevant to any part of your life. Whether your writing a grocery list or dealing with a car that won’t start, you’re actually problem-solving.
The same is true at work, too. Most tasks actually involve a degree of problem-solving. Really? Really.
Think about it this way; when you’re given an assignment, you’re being asked, “Can you do this thing?” Doing that thing is the problem.
Then, you have to find a path that lets you accomplish what you need to do. That is problem-solving.
Yes, sometimes what you need to handle isn’t “challenging” in the difficulty sense. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.
Besides, some of what you need to do will legitimately be hard. Maybe you’re given a new responsibility, or something goes wrong during a project. When that happens, you’ll have to navigate unfamiliar territory, gather new information, and think outside of the box. That’s problem-solving, too.
That’s why hiring managers favor candidates with problem-solving skills. They make you more effective in your role, increasing the odds that you can find solutions whenever the need arises.
How Are Problem-Solving Skills Relevant to a Job Search?
Alright, you probably have a good idea of what problem-solving skills are. Now, it’s time to talk about why they matter to your job search.
We’ve already touched on one major point: hiring managers prefer candidates with strong problem-solving skills. That alone makes these capabilities a relevant part of the equation. If you don’t show the hiring manager you’ve got what it takes to excel, you may struggle to land a position.
But that isn’t the only reason these skills matter. Problem-solving skills can help you during the entire job search process. After all, what’s a job search but a problem – or a series of problems – that needs an answer.
You need a new job; that’s the core problem you’re solving. But every step is its own unique challenge. Finding an opening that matches your skills, creating a resume that resonates with the hiring manager, nailing the interview, and negotiating a salary … those are all smaller problems that are part of the bigger one.
So, problem-solving skills really are at the core of the job search experience. By having strong capabilities in this area, you may find a new position faster than you’d expect.
Okay, you may be thinking, “If hiring managers prefer candidates with problem-solving skills, which ones are they after? Are certain problem-solving capabilities more important today? Is there something I should be going out of my way to showcase?”
While any related skills are worth highlighting, some may get you further than others. Analysis, research, creativity, collaboration , organization, and decision-making are all biggies. With those skills, you can work through the entire problem-solving process, making them worthwhile additions to your resume.
But that doesn’t mean you have to focus there solely. Don’t shy away from showcasing everything you bring to the table. That way, if a particular hiring manager is looking for a certain capability, you’re more likely to tap on what they’re after.
How to Highlight Problem-Solving Skills for Job Search
At this point, it’s ridiculously clear that problem-solving skills are valuable in the eyes of hiring managers. So, how do you show them that you’ve got all of the capabilities they are after? By using the right approach.
When you’re writing your resume or cover letter , your best bet is to highlight achievements that let you put your problem-solving skills to work. That way, you can “show” the hiring manager you have what it takes.
Showing is always better than telling. Anyone can write down, “I have awesome problem-solving skills.” The thing is, that doesn’t really prove that you do. With a great example, you offer up some context, and that makes a difference.
How do you decide on which skills to highlight on your resume or cover letter? By having a great strategy. With the Tailoring Method , it’s all about relevancy. The technique helps you identify skills that matter to that particular hiring manager, allowing you to speak directly to their needs.
Plus, you can use the Tailoring Method when you answer job interview questions . With that approach, you’re making sure those responses are on-point, too.
But when do you talk about your problem-solving capabilities during an interview? Well, there’s a good chance you’ll get asked problem-solving interview questions during your meeting. Take a look at those to see the kinds of questions that are perfect for mentioning these skills.
However, you don’t have to stop there. If you’re asked about your greatest achievement or your strengths, those could be opportunities, too. Nearly any open-ended question could be the right time to discuss those skills, so keep that in mind as you practice for your interview.
How to Develop Problem-Solving Skills If You Don’t Have Them
Developing problem-solving skills may seem a bit tricky on the surface, especially if you think you don’t have them. The thing is, it doesn’t actually have to be hard. You simply need to use the right strategy.
First, understand that you probably do have problem-solving skills; you simply may not have realized it. After all, life is full of challenges that you have to tackle, so there’s a good chance you’ve developed some abilities along the way.
Now, let’s reframe the question and focus on how to improve your problem-solving skills. Here’s how to go about it.
Understand the Problem-Solving Process
In many cases, problem-solving is all about the process. You:
- Identify the problem
- Analyze the key elements
- Look for potential solutions
- Examine the options for viability and risk
- Decide on an approach
- Review the outcome for lessons
By understanding the core process, you can apply it more effectively. That way, when you encounter an issue, you’ll know how to approach it, increasing the odds you’ll handle the situation effectively.
Try Puzzles and Games
Any activity that lets you take the steps listed above could help you hone your problem-solving skills. For example, brainteasers, puzzles, and logic-based games can be great places to start.
Whether it’s something as straightforward – but nonetheless challenging – as Sudoku or a Rubik’s Cube, or something as complex as Settlers of Catan, it puts your problem-solving skills to work. Plus, if you enjoy the activity, it makes skill-building fun, making it a win-win.
Look for Daily Opportunities
If you’re looking for a practical approach, you’re in luck. You can also look at the various challenges you face during the day and think about how to overcome them.
For example, if you always experience a mid-day energy slump that hurts your productivity, take a deep dive into that problem. Define what’s happening, think about why it occurs, consider various solutions, pick one to try, and analyze the results.
By using the problem-solving approach more often in your life, you’ll develop those skills further and make using these capabilities a habit. Plus, you may find ways to improve your day-to-day living, which is a nice bonus.
Volunteer for “Stretch” Projects
If you’re currently employed, volunteering for projects that push you slightly outside of your comfort zone can help you develop problem-solving skills, too. You’ll encounter the unknown and have to think outside of the box, both of which can boost critical problem-solving-related skills.
Plus, you may gain other capabilities along the way, like experience with new technologies or tools. That makes the project an even bigger career booster, which is pretty awesome.
List of Problem-Solving Skills
Alright, we’ve taken a pretty deep dive into what problem-solving skills are. Now, it’s time for some problem-solving skills examples.
As we mentioned above, there are a ton of capabilities and traits that can support better problem-solving. By understanding what they are, you can showcase the right abilities during your job search.
So, without further ado, here is a quick list of problem-solving skill examples:
- Attention to Detail
- Active Listening
- Critical Thinking
Do you have to showcase all of those skills during your job search individually? No, not necessarily. Instead, you want to highlight a range of capabilities based on what the hiring manager is after. If you’re using the Tailoring Method, you’ll know which ones need to make their way into your resume, cover letter, and interview answers.
Now, are there other skills that support problem-solving? Yes, there certainly can be.
Essentially any skill that helps you go from the problem to the solution can, in its own right, be a problem-solving skill.
All of the skills above can be part of the equation. But, if you have another capability that helps you flourish when you encounter an obstacle, it can count, too.
Reflect on your past experience and consider how you’ve navigated challenges in the past. If a particular skill helped you do that, then it’s worth highlighting during a job search.
If you would like to find out more about skills to put on a resume , we’ve taken a close look at the topic before. Along with problem-solving skills, we dig into a variety of other areas, helping you choose what to highlight so that you can increase your odds of landing your perfect job.
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, problem-solving skills are essential for professionals in any kind of field. By honing your capabilities and showcasing them during your job search, you can become a stronger candidate and employee. In the end, that’s all good stuff, making it easier for you to keep your career on track today, tomorrow, and well into the future.
Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com.
His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others.
Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .
About The Author
Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes , Entrepreneur , CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan , Penn State , Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page .
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What Are Problem-Solving Skills, and How Do I Put Them on My Resume?
No matter what career you pursue, a problem-solving resume will always be valued by an employer. Companies want to hire people who can think creatively, break down problems into smaller parts, and come up with an effective solution to these problems.
As a result, knowing how to list problem-solving skills on your resume can be beneficial in your career search. It will help set you apart from all the other candidates out there and show off some of your soft skills to an employer. Other than problem-solving, these key skills include critical thinking, communication skills, decision-making skills, and interpersonal skills.
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In this guide, we examine what problem-solving skills are, why they are valued by employers, and how you can list them on your resume. It is important to note that, while strong problem-solving skills will help you find employment in any field, you may also require certain technical skills. For example, if you want to work in the tech industry, free coding bootcamps are an ideal way to quickly learn both problem-solving abilities and technical skills.
What Are Problem-Solving Skills?
Problem-solving skills are the traits that allow you to identify problems and solve them efficiently and effectively. Problem-solving skills fall under the category of soft skills along with communication skills, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, and adaptability, to name a few.
Every day we encounter problems, whether at work or at home. For example, we may have to figure out how to travel to work if our regular commute is closed. Or we may have to identify ways to free up time on our schedule so that we can meet a deadline that we thought was tomorrow. Problem-solving abilities will help you find viable solutions for these challenges.
To be a good problem solver, you need to have a wide range of skills and a strong work ethic. You need to be good at analyzing problems. You also need to be capable of coming up with creative solutions and doing so with business constraints like capital and the limits of team members. Here is a list of a few problem-solving skills that are highly valued by employers:
Why Do Employers Value Problem-Solving Skills?
Businesses encounter problems every day. A sales department may be struggling to reach its goals, and wonder how it can catch up. An office supplies delivery may have been missed, which leaves some workers without paper supplies.
As a result, employers value job seekers who can solve problems. Employers want to hire people who can come up with solutions to the types of problems that are likely to come up in their job. You should be able to understand the nature of a problem, how it affects a business, and work either independently or as part of a team to come up with a solution.
What Are Some Examples of Problem-Solving Skills?
While you could list “able to solve problems” or “problem solver” on your resume, this is not a very accurate description of all the skills that make up the problem-solving process. Any worker that a business will hire should be capable of solving problems—that doesn’t set you apart from the crowd.
A problem-solving resume should be specific when it comes to listing these skills. Furthermore, you should include a wide variety of problem-solving skills examples. Here are some problem-solving examples that you can list on your resume:
The first step in solving any problem is to identify the exact issue that you are dealing with. This is crucial because if you don’t correctly identify a problem, it is very difficult to come up with an effective solution.
Once you have identified the problem you want to solve, you need to analyze it. This will involve using your analytical skills to understand why the problem has arisen and to determine what courses of action you can take to solve the problem. Analysis is an excellent example of problem-solving skills.
When you are coming up with solutions to a problem, you may identify a few potential courses of action. This is because most problems don’t have an obvious solution—there are many ways you can address them.
To be a good problem solver, you need to be capable of evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of pursuing a particular solution to a problem. For instance, you may need to evaluate whether a solution can be implemented quickly enough to be effective, or whether the business can afford to implement the solution you are considering.
In addition, you should also be able to evaluate the impact of your decisions after they have been made. Have your decisions led to the success that you expected? If a decision did not turn out in the way that you expected, why was that the case?
Many of the problems that you’ll face in your job will require input from other team members. Suppose you are working on a team project and have a problem to solve. You would need to communicate that problem to all members of your team and work with them to come up with a solution.
If you are not able to communicate clearly, different members of the team may walk away with a different understanding of the problem. This could lead to confusion down the line, and make it more difficult to implement a solution.
Planning out how you are going to solve a problem can only take you so far. At some point, you’ll need to decide on how you are going to solve the problem. You should be able to use your evaluation skills to decide which solution to a problem is best.
You should also be capable of working with others and using their experience to better understand all the solutions you could use to address a particular problem. Then, once you have found a good solution, you should be able to implement it.
Some problems that you encounter will require creative solutions. This is because many problems have limitations within which your solutions must fall. For instance, you may be asked to come up with a solution within a budget, or you may be told that the business can only afford to delegate one team member to solve a problem.
Good problem solvers are capable of thinking outside of the box to arrive at the best solution for a problem. This will involve working with others to understand what has been tried before, and exploring new and novel approaches to problems. This methodical approach to problem-solving is ideal if you are a critical thinker.
How to List Problem-Solving Skills on Your Resume
You must know how to list problem-solving skills on your resume. These skills are a valuable addition to any resume. By knowing how to demonstrate problem-solving skills on your resume, you can better articulate the potential value you can add to a team and ace your job interview.
But, before you add problem-solving skills to your resume, you should ask if it is relevant to the position for which you are applying by checking the job description. Jobs such as programmers, accountants, and customer service representatives, for instance, all involve a high degree of problem-solving in their day-to-day duties.
There are two places you can list your problem-solving skills on your resume. First, you can list them in your skills section. This is where you list all your skills, whether they are technical skills or soft skills, in an orderly fashion. For instance, if you are applying for a job as a full stack web developer, you could use the following list of skills on your resume:
Alternatively, you could list your problem-solving skills in the “experience” section of your resume, where you list your previous roles. While you may not explicitly mention “problem-solving” in this section, you can use some of the keywords we discussed earlier to highlight your experience using this skill.
The following is a good example of how to highlight problem-solving skills on your resume by using the “experience” section of your resume:
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
J&J Fast Food
2014 – 2019
- Averaged 30% annual revenue growth in home district.
- Used analysis skills to plan out a sales campaign that helped attract younger customers to our stores.
- Led the design and introduction of a new monthly inventory model for seven stores.
In this example, the candidate has mentioned that they have experience using “analysis” skills. Furthermore, their leading an initiative implies that they have experience implementing solutions to a problem.
Problem-Solving Skills: Resume Examples
Continue reading as we examine some more problem-solving skills examples for your resume. This first problem-solving resume example is for a video editing job. While a job like this requires advanced technical skills, problem-solving skills are just as important. You can use the “skills” section of your resume to showcase both technical and soft skills.
- Advanced knowledge of Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere . Can use advanced editing features and tools for quick decision-making. These programs allow for creative problem-solving.
- Working with clients . Experience and knowledge of video editing terms and practices to communicate clearly with clients in an easy-to-understand manner.
- Ability to work under pressure . Video editing is a high-pressure job with tight deadlines. Completing past projects has led to a strong ability to work under pressure.
- Collaboration . Video editing requires collaborating with a variety of industries and employees. Teamwork is key to quickly solving problems and meeting deadlines.
This second problem-solving resume example is for a sales assistant position at a video game store. Sales assistants spend their time interacting with customers, and therefore, must have strong communication skills. The “experience” section of your resume is an ideal place to showcase previous experience you have working with customers.
- Dealt with customers daily.
- Answered customer queries on the telephone.
- Listened to and responded to customer complaints.
- Helped customers choose the right products for them.
- Worked as part of a team.
- Recommended products to order based on customer feedback.
- Demonstrated quick and on-the-spot decision-making.
- Key responsibilities such as cashing out at the end of the day and handling customer orders.
Problem-Solving Skills for Cover Letter
Writing a strong cover letter is a great way to impress employers. Knowing how to add problem-solving skills to your cover letter is one of the best ways to do this. No matter what job you are applying for, problem-solving skills will be vital.
Adding problem-solving skills to your cover letter is easy, as you can use skills you have learned from previous work experience, education, or personal development. Most job descriptions will list specific traits and skills required. This will typically include problem-solving skills of some kind.
This next section will look at two examples of cover letters with problem-solving skills to help you land your dream job. As you will see, it is easy to add several problem-solving skills to a cover letter, as these skills are common in everyday use.
Problem-Solving Skills: Cover Letter Examples
This first problem-solving skills cover letter example is for an audio-visual technician role at Revolution Technologies. The job description indicates the need for technical skills and previous experience. It also mentions that the company requires a team player and a dependable employee. In this cover letter, problem-solving skills are showcased using a story from a previous audio technician job.
During my time at Five-Star Audio Visual, I worked full-time as an audio technician. I was part of a core team of five other employees who I worked closely with to help meet client expectations, analyze potential technical issues, and organize frequent events.
Being part of a team helped me to grow as a person and improve my technical learning. I worked under experienced audio technicians, event managers, and production managers. As such, my communication and decision-making skills vastly improved. I also found that working under tight deadlines helped me to deal with high-pressure situations.
The second example is for a senior analyst position at Magellan Health. The job description highlights many problem-solving skills requirements such as critical thinking, analysis, and organizational skills. Furthermore, a senior role like this requires strong leadership skills. In this example, skills learned from a data analytics bootcamp are used.
I recently completed the data analytics bootcamp program at Ironhack. During my studies, I collaborated with my peers on several projects. We used our analytical skills and critical thinking skills to identify and solve problems. Furthermore, we learned in-demand technical skills such as Git, Python, and SQL. This program was fast-paced and intense, which helped me to work quickly under pressure, both independently and as part of a team.
How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills
Not only should you know how to include them on your resume, but you must learn how to improve your problem-solving skills. The more problem-solving skills you can learn the better, as they can be applied to suit any job or situation. You should do your best to maintain, practice, and improve problem-solving skills as often as possible.
Learning how to improve problem-solving skills in the workplace will lead to better job opportunities and an increased salary. By listing problem-solving skills on your resume, you may land your dream job. However, to keep this job and advance up the career ladder, it is vital you understand how to improve your problem-solving skills.
Acquire More Technical knowledge in Your Field
There are plenty of free resources where you can improve technical knowledge in your field. Alternatively, you can earn an additional degree. For example, if you have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science , you may wish to improve your tech knowledge by enrolling in a master’s program or certificate program.
Acquiring more technical knowledge will boost and improve your problem-solving skills. Technical skills training, such as coding, for example, is a great way to boost your critical thinking skills. Managerial training is excellent if you want to improve your communication and leadership skills. Higher education programs typically require collaborative work, which is excellent for improving your teamwork skills.
Seek Out Opportunities to Problem Solve
You can seek out opportunities to problem solve in your place of work or everyday life. This can be something as simple as asking those in your household if they need help with anything. You can also speak to friends or colleagues and find out if they have any problems that need solving.
The more problems you help solve, the better your problem-solving skills will develop. You might also find that you are seeking out problem-solving opportunities that are not part of your own skillset. This is a vital part of self-development and professional development, and will ultimately lead to job opportunities.
Do Practice Problems
You can use practice problems to work on and improve your problem-solving skills. This can be done at any time. For example, if you have a long commute to work, you can use this time to do practice problems. These problems can be based on past experiences where you had to problem-solve or on fictional problems.
You might find it helps to write the problems and solutions out, but you can also do it in your head. If you find there is a particularly difficult problem at work, you can use this practice to explore a variety of solutions and options. You can also work on practice problems with other people, which will have the added benefit of building teamwork and communication.
Observe How Others Problem Solve
One of the best ways to learn anything in life is to see how others do it. If you have the benefit of working with a particularly skilled employer, you can take advantage of their problem-solving skills by watching how they work and the methods they use. Students can often learn from their peers or instructors.
It is important to ask questions too. While simply observing how others solve problems is hugely beneficial, asking questions will help clarify their methods and techniques. You can also observe problem-solving in your everyday life if you pay close attention to your surroundings.
Why Is Problem-Solving Important in the Workplace?
You cannot underestimate the importance of problem-solving skills in the workplace. No matter what job you do, problems will arise. Being able to efficiently solve these problems is vital if you want to climb the job ladder, earn more money, and impress your employers. Furthermore, being able to problem-solve will make you less reliant on others for help which is another reason why problem-solving is important in the workplace.
- Climb the corporate ladder . Problem-solving is a great way to impress your employee and climb the ladder. If you want to earn a promotion at work, you can use learned and improved problem-solving skills to ace the interview.
- Earn more money . You can use problem-solving skills to help the company you work for make more money. This in turn can lead to a salary increase.
- Team player. Strong problem-solving skills can make you a better team player. Working well as part of a team is vital in most careers.
- Meet deadlines. Some jobs have very tight and strict deadlines. Strong problem-solving is key to quickly solving solutions to meet deadlines.
Should You Learn How to List Problem-Solving Skills on Your Resume?
Yes, you should learn how to list problem-solving skills on your resume because every job requires problem-solving. These skills demonstrate that you are able to tackle the inevitable challenges that will come up in your job effectively. Soft skills, such as problem-solving, are often taught at universities, colleges, and bootcamps. However, you will develop problem-solving skills in all walks of life.
By following the advice in this article, you’ll have no trouble listing your problem-solving skills on your resume. These may just be the skills that help you convince your dream employer to reach out and schedule an interview with you!
How to List Problem-Solving Skills on Resume FAQ
Yes, you need to list problem-solving skills on your resume if you want the best chance of getting the job. For some jobs, problem-solving skills will be vital, and the more of these skills you can include on your resume the better. More technical jobs, like computer programmers, will need to list problem-solving skills on their resume, along with any technical training.
You can learn problem-solving skills anywhere. If you want formal training, most universities will offer soft skills training, which covers problem-solving. You will encounter problem-solving in everyday activities as well in the workplace.
Some examples of problem-solving skills include critical thinking, analysis, evaluation, creative thinking, and decision-making. These key skills will help you improve your performance in interviews and help you attain future career opportunities.
Other skills that employers look for include technical skills, project management skills, operational skills, creativity skills, organization skills, deductive reasoning, customer service skills, math skills, and quantitative skills. Highly developed problem-solving skills are essential, but you should read the job posting carefully to ensure you tick any other boxes required.
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How Should you Show That you Have Problem-Solving Skills on Your Resume?
Here are the top ways to show your Problem Solving Skills skills on your resume. Find out relevant Problem Solving Skills keywords and phrases and build your resume today.
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What are problem-solving skills?
Why are problem-solving skills important on your resume, what skills, activities, and accomplishments help you highlight your problem-solving skills, problem-solving skills: key takeaways for your resume.
Imagine this typical situation: there has been a mistake in the contract sent to a client. But what about if your biggest industry competitor surprisingly decreases prices or your Chief Financial Officer quits? What would you do if you had the responsibility to respond?
Problem-solving skills express themselves in the ability to define problems, come up with alternatives, assess which is the best course of action and act on it.
Therefore, problem-solvers are the people who can objectively and calmly respond to issues once they arrive or forecast them in advance while coming up with a set of actions for the timely resolution of the identified problems.
Problems of all sizes arise both inside and outside the workplace. Every day. That is why it is so essential for employers to have employees whom they can trust to handle such situations independently.
Depending on the position and the industry, businesses need talent that can cope with both day-to-day operational challenges and with more long-term strategic issues.
Problem-solving is one of these sets of skills that do not necessarily appear in the “Requirements” section in a job offer. The reason is that employers simply expect candidates to show in some form that they possess analytical minds and a go-to attitude.
Yes, it is much easier to demonstrate your problem-solving skills during an interview when you can talk in detail to paint a picture of a specific situation and your response to a given problem.
But this doesn’t mean that you can’t communicate your abilities to use your sense of initiative to improve problematic situations. Wonder how exactly? Take a look at the following list of skills and abilities.
Unlike conceptual skills, which are about abstract thinking and ideation, problem-solving skills are to be a big part connected to being proactive when it comes to the implementation of your ideas.
Even though problem-solving skills sound pretty self-explanatory in themselves, they are not so easy to communicate. Such abilities are highly situational and can only be relayed when referring to specific tasks and actions you have undertaken to achieve desirable results.
- Communication & Observation skills: to come up with the most effective and efficient solution to an issue, you need to first identify the root cause. Since root causes are rarely obvious, problem-solvers search for them through conversations and careful observations.
- Analytical skills & Decision-making: after the problem definition stage, it is time for action. Therefore, you need to put your analytical skills in use to develop solutions and make a timely decision to speed up the problem-solving process.
- Teamwork and technical skills: having hands-on technical knowledge is necessary so that you know what opportunities lie ahead of you. In addition, even though working in a team is essential for developing the best solution, you need to be prepared to execute it independently.
How to demonstrate problem-solving skills on your resume
- Mention a time when you have taken the initiative to troubleshoot overlooked areas.
- Explain that you like to collect new information and gather data on a daily basis.
- Give examples of times when you have assumed the responsibility to improve processes in the company or your team.
- Illustrate that you are a team player and explain what is your role in a team.
Just keep in mind that you should aim to balance your ability to work independently and work in a team.
Even though in the modern business world, companies face very complex problems which require collective action, you would be expected to use your own capacity to solve some day-to-day issues.
Below you can get some inspiration from Enhancv users who have found a nice way to show that they can be real problem-solvers when issues arise in the workplace.
Example 1: Demonstrate problem-solving skills in the experience section
Job situation: Junior Business Analyst applies for the position of a Junior Project Manager
- • Conducted extensive research on a daily basis to identify potential gaps and issues that would affect the market position of our clients.
- • Used data to identify how my team can make better decisions and improve its analysis strategy.
- • Initiated ‘weekly team lead meetings’ where departments reported arising issues with the Senior Management to prevent issues from becoming major problems.
- • Overcome challenges connected to client complaints and working with a limited client budget.
The examples that this Junior Business Analyst has handpicked demonstrate that he is proactively looking for potential areas and processes that can be further improved and optimized.
What’s more, besides an analytical mindset, the candidate highlights his communication and team skills by showing that he is open to approaching superiors when necessary.
Problem-solving abilities are expressed in a third manner with the example of resolving issues connected to clients' complaints. With this, the candidate communicates that he can be relied on for solving both internal and external issues.
Example 2: Demonstrate innovation skills in the resume summary section
Job situation: Project Manager applies for the position of Senior Account Manager
What is a better way to resolve problems, that actually prevent them from arising in the first place?
In this resume, the candidate shows that he counts on open communication both with his team and clients to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Example 3: Show your problem-solving skills in your achievements sections
Job situation - PR Manager applies for the position of Head of Communications
This set of achievements creates a consistent narrative of an employee who is actively seeking answers and solutions to the everyday challenges in the workplace.
By focusing on both processes and results, the candidate demonstrates that he gives the same importance to achieving great outcomes and following a logical problem-solving path.
Example 4: Demonstrate the skill through other sections of your resume
Besides giving examples from the workplace, your resume may also include references from times when you have tried to build your own initiative, startup, or a side project.
This gives the loudest example that you act upon your ideas for solutions to an identified problem.
Also, don’t be hesitant to mention an occasion when you failed to get the best results or outcomes.
For example, talking about your failure to become President of your college club demonstrates that you are aware of your own mistakes and take credit for both good and bad outcomes.
- Balance your soft and technical skills: in order to be able to solve problems independently, you need to have an analytical mindset and creative thinking, but also some operational capabilities necessary for the execution of your solution.
- Don’t underestimate teamwork: even though self-sufficiency is a good thing to have, working as a part of a team leads to far better results. That is why focusing on your communication and listening skills is so essential for effective problem-solving.
About this report:
Data reflects analysis made on over 1M resume profiles and examples over the last 2 years from Enhancv.com.
While those skills are most commonly met on resumes, you should only use them as inspiration and customize your resume for the given job.
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What Are Problem-Solving Skills? (Definition, Examples, And How To List On A Resume)
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Summary. Problem-solving skills include analysis, creativity, prioritization, organization, and troubleshooting. To solve a problem, you need to use a variety of skills based on the needs of the situation.
Most jobs essentially boil down to identifying and solving problems consistently and effectively. That’s why employers value problem-solving skills in job candidates for just about every role.
We’ll cover problem-solving methods, ways to improve your problem-solving skills, and examples of showcasing your problem-solving skills during your job search .
If you can show off your problem-solving skills on your resume , in your cover letter , and during a job interview, you’ll be one step closer to landing a job.
Companies rely on employees who can handle unexpected challenges, identify persistent issues, and offer workable solutions in a positive way.
It is important to improve problem solving skill because this is a skill that can be cultivated and nurtured so you can become better at dealing with problems over time.
Types of Problem-Solving Skills
How to improve your problem-solving skills, example answers to problem-solving interview questions, how to show off problem-solving skills on a resume, example resume and cover letter with problem-solving skills, more about problem-solving skills, problem solving skills faqs.
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Problem-solving skills are skills that help you identify and solve problems effectively and efficiently . Your ability to solve problems is one of the main ways that hiring managers and recruiters assess candidates, as those with excellent problem-solving skills are more likely to autonomously carry out their responsibilities.
A true problem solver can look at a situation, find the cause of the problem (or causes, because there are often many issues at play), and then come up with a reasonable solution that effectively fixes the problem or at least remedies most of it.
The ability to solve problems is considered a soft skill , meaning that it’s more of a personality trait than a skill you’ve learned at school, on the job, or through technical training.
That being said, your proficiency with various hard skills will have a direct bearing on your ability to solve problems. For example, it doesn’t matter if you’re a great problem-solver; if you have no experience with astrophysics, you probably won’t be hired as a space station technician .
Problem-solving is considered a skill on its own, but it’s supported by many other skills that can help you be a better problem solver. These skills fall into a few different categories of problem-solving skills.
Problem recognition and analysis. The first step is to recognize that there is a problem and discover what it is or what the root cause of it is.
You can’t begin to solve a problem unless you’re aware of it. Sometimes you’ll see the problem yourself and other times you’ll be told about the problem. Both methods of discovery are very important, but they can require some different skills. The following can be an important part of the process:
Create possible solutions. You know what the problem is, and you might even know the why of it, but then what? Your next step is the come up with some solutions.
Most of the time, the first solution you come up with won’t be the right one. Don’t fall victim to knee-jerk reactions; try some of the following methods to give you solution options.
Evaluation of solution options. Now that you have a lot of solution options, it’s time to weed through them and start casting some aside. There might be some ridiculous ones, bad ones, and ones you know could never be implemented. Throw them away and focus on the potentially winning ideas.
This step is probably the one where a true, natural problem solver will shine. They intuitively can put together mental scenarios and try out solutions to see their plusses and minuses. If you’re still working on your skill set — try listing the pros and cons on a sheet of paper.
Evaluating and weighing
Solution implementation. This is your “take action” step. Once you’ve decided which way to go, it’s time to head down that path and see if you were right. This step takes a lot of people and management skills to make it work for you.
Evaluation of the solution. Was it a good solution? Did your plan work or did it fail miserably? Sometimes the evaluation step takes a lot of work and review to accurately determine effectiveness. The following skills might be essential for a thorough evaluation.
You now have a ton of skills in front of you. Some of them you have naturally and some — not so much. If you want to solve a problem, and you want to be known for doing that well and consistently, then it’s time to sharpen those skills.
Develop industry knowledge. Whether it’s broad-based industry knowledge, on-the-job training , or very specific knowledge about a small sector — knowing all that you can and feeling very confident in your knowledge goes a long way to learning how to solve problems.
Be a part of a solution. Step up and become involved in the problem-solving process. Don’t lead — but follow. Watch an expert solve the problem and, if you pay attention, you’ll learn how to solve a problem, too. Pay attention to the steps and the skills that a person uses.
Practice solving problems. Do some role-playing with a mentor , a professor , co-workers, other students — just start throwing problems out there and coming up with solutions and then detail how those solutions may play out.
Go a step further, find some real-world problems and create your solutions, then find out what they did to solve the problem in actuality.
Identify your weaknesses. If you could easily point out a few of your weaknesses in the list of skills above, then those are the areas you need to focus on improving. How you do it is incredibly varied, so find a method that works for you.
Solve some problems — for real. If the opportunity arises, step in and use your problem-solving skills. You’ll never really know how good (or bad) you are at it until you fail.
That’s right, failing will teach you so much more than succeeding will. You’ll learn how to go back and readdress the problem, find out where you went wrong, learn more from listening even better. Failure will be your best teacher ; it might not make you feel good, but it’ll make you a better problem-solver in the long run.
Once you’ve impressed a hiring manager with top-notch problem-solving skills on your resume and cover letter , you’ll need to continue selling yourself as a problem-solver in the job interview.
There are three main ways that employers can assess your problem-solving skills during an interview:
By asking questions that relate to your past experiences solving problems
Posing hypothetical problems for you to solve
By administering problem-solving tests and exercises
The third method varies wildly depending on what job you’re applying for, so we won’t attempt to cover all the possible problem-solving tests and exercises that may be a part of your application process.
Luckily, interview questions focused on problem-solving are pretty well-known, and most can be answered using the STAR method . STAR stands for situation, task, action, result, and it’s a great way to organize your answers to behavioral interview questions .
Let’s take a look at how to answer some common interview questions built to assess your problem-solving capabilities:
At my current job as an operations analyst at XYZ Inc., my boss set a quarterly goal to cut contractor spending by 25% while maintaining the same level of production and moving more processes in-house. It turned out that achieving this goal required hiring an additional 6 full-time employees, which got stalled due to the pandemic. I suggested that we widen our net and hire remote employees after our initial applicant pool had no solid candidates. I ran the analysis on overhead costs and found that if even 4 of the 6 employees were remote, we’d save 16% annually compared to the contractors’ rates. In the end, all 6 employees we hired were fully remote, and we cut costs by 26% while production rose by a modest amount.
I try to step back and gather research as my first step. For instance, I had a client who needed a graphic designer to work with Crello, which I had never seen before, let alone used. After getting the project details straight, I began meticulously studying the program the YouTube tutorials, and the quick course Crello provides. I also reached out to coworkers who had worked on projects for this same client in the past. Once I felt comfortable with the software, I started work immediately. It was a slower process because I had to be more methodical in my approach, but by putting in some extra hours, I turned in the project ahead of schedule. The client was thrilled with my work and was shocked to hear me joke afterward that it was my first time using Crello.
As a digital marketer , website traffic and conversion rates are my ultimate metrics. However, I also track less visible metrics that can illuminate the story behind the results. For instance, using Google Analytics, I found that 78% of our referral traffic was coming from one affiliate, but that these referrals were only accounting for 5% of our conversions. Another affiliate, who only accounted for about 10% of our referral traffic, was responsible for upwards of 30% of our conversions. I investigated further and found that the second, more effective affiliate was essentially qualifying our leads for us before sending them our way, which made it easier for us to close. I figured out exactly how they were sending us better customers, and reached out to the first, more prolific but less effective affiliate with my understanding of the results. They were able to change their pages that were referring us traffic, and our conversions from that source tripled in just a month. It showed me the importance of digging below the “big picture” metrics to see the mechanics of how revenue was really being generated through digital marketing.
You can bring up your problem-solving skills in your resume summary statement , in your work experience , and under your education section , if you’re a recent graduate. The key is to include items on your resume that speak direclty to your ability to solve problems and generate results.
If you can, quantify your problem-solving accomplishments on your your resume . Hiring managers and recruiters are always more impressed with results that include numbers because they provide much-needed context.
This sample resume for a Customer Service Representative will give you an idea of how you can work problem solving into your resume.
Michelle Beattle 111 Millennial Parkway Chicago, IL 60007 (555) 987-6543 [email protected] Professional Summary Qualified Customer Services Representative with 3 years in a high-pressure customer service environment. Professional, personable, and a true problem solver. Work History ABC Store — Customer Service Representative 01/2015 — 12/2017 Managed in-person and phone relations with customers coming in to pick up purchases, return purchased products, helped find and order items not on store shelves, and explained details and care of merchandise. Became a key player in the customer service department and was promoted to team lead. XYZ Store — Customer Service Representative/Night Manager 01/2018 — 03/2020, released due to Covid-19 layoffs Worked as the night manager of the customer service department and filled in daytime hours when needed. Streamlined a process of moving customers to the right department through an app to ease the burden on the phone lines and reduce customer wait time by 50%. Was working on additional wait time problems when the Covid-19 pandemic caused our stores to close permanently. Education Chicago Tech 2014-2016 Earned an Associate’s Degree in Principles of Customer Care Skills Strong customer service skills Excellent customer complaint resolution Stock record management Order fulfillment New product information Cash register skills and proficiency Leader in problem solving initiatives
You can see how the resume gives you a chance to point out your problem-solving skills and to show where you used them a few times. Your cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself and list a few things that make you stand out from the crowd.
Michelle Beattle 111 Millennial Parkway Chicago, IL 60007 (555) 987-6543 [email protected] Dear Mary McDonald, I am writing in response to your ad on Zippia for a Customer Service Representative . Thank you for taking the time to consider me for this position. Many people believe that a job in customer service is simply listening to people complain all day. I see the job as much more than that. It’s an opportunity to help people solve problems, make their experience with your company more enjoyable, and turn them into life-long advocates of your brand. Through my years of experience and my educational background at Chicago Tech, where I earned an Associate’s Degree in the Principles of Customer Care, I have learned that the customers are the lifeline of the business and without good customer service representatives, a business will falter. I see it as my mission to make each and every customer I come in contact with a fan. I have more than five years of experience in the Customer Services industry and had advanced my role at my last job to Night Manager. I am eager to again prove myself as a hard worker, a dedicated people person, and a problem solver that can be relied upon. I have built a professional reputation as an employee that respects all other employees and customers, as a manager who gets the job done and finds solutions when necessary, and a worker who dives in to learn all she can about the business. Most of my customers have been very satisfied with my resolution ideas and have returned to do business with us again. I believe my expertise would make me a great match for LMNO Store. I have enclosed my resume for your review, and I would appreciate having the opportunity to meet with you to further discuss my qualifications. Thank you again for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Michelle Beattle
You’ve no doubt noticed that many of the skills listed in the problem-solving process are repeated. This is because having these abilities or talents is so important to the entire course of getting a problem solved.
In fact, they’re worthy of a little more attention. Many of them are similar, so we’ll pull them together and discuss how they’re important and how they work together.
Communication, active listening, and customer service skills. No matter where you are in the process of problem-solving, you need to be able to show that you’re listening and engaged and really hearing what the problem is or what a solution may be.
Obviously, the other part of this is being able to communicate effectively so people understand what you’re saying without confusion. Rolled into this are customer service skills , which really are all about listening and responding appropriately — it’s the ultimate in interpersonal communications.
Analysis (data and historical), research, and topic knowledge/understanding. This is how you intellectually grasp the issue and approach it. This can come from studying the topic and the process or it can come from knowledge you’ve gained after years in the business. But the best solutions come from people who thoroughly understand the problem.
Creativity, brainstorming, troubleshooting, and flexibility. All of you creative thinkers will like this area because it’s when your brain is at its best.
Coming up with ideas, collaborating with others, leaping over hurdles, and then being able to change courses immediately, if need be, are all essential. If you’re not creative by nature, then having a team of diverse thinkers can help you in this area.
Dependability, believability, trustworthiness, and follow-through. Think about it, these are all traits a person needs to have to make change happen and to make you comfortable taking that next step with them. Someone who is shifty and shady and never follows through, well, you’re simply not going to do what they ask, are you?
Leadership, teambuilding, decision-making, and project management. These are the skills that someone who is in charge is brimming with. These are the leaders you enjoy working for because you know they’re doing what they can to keep everything in working order. These skills can be learned but they’re often innate.
Prioritizing, prediction, forecasting, evaluating and weighing, and process flow. If you love flow charts, data analysis, prediction modeling, and all of that part of the equation, then you might have some great problem-solving abilities.
These are all great skills because they can help you weed out bad ideas, see flaws, and save massive amounts of time in trial and error.
What is a good example of problem-solving skills?
Good examples of porblem-solving skills include research, analysis, creativity, communciation, and decision-making. Each of these skills build off one another to contribute to the problem solving process. Research and analysis allow you to identify a problem.
Creativity and analysis help you consider different solutions. Meanwhile, communication and decision-making are key to working with others to solve a problem on a large scale.
What are 3 key attributes of a good problem solver?
3 key attributes of a good problem solver are persistence, intellegince, and empathy. Persistence is crucial to remain motivated to work through challenges. Inellegince is needed to make smart, informed choices. Empathy is crucial to maintain positive relationships with others as well as yourself.
What can I say instead of problem-solving skills?
Instead of saying problem-solving skills, you can say the following:
Using different words is helpful, especially when writing your resume and cover letter.
What is problem-solving in the workplace?
Problem-solving in the workplace is the ability to work through any sort of challenge, conflict, or unexpected situation and still achieve business goals. Though it varies by profession, roblem-solving in the workplace is very important for almost any job, because probelms are inevitable. You need to have the appropriate level of problem-solving skills if you want to succeed in your career, whatever it may be.
Department of Labor – Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
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Kristin Kizer is an award-winning writer, television and documentary producer, and content specialist who has worked on a wide variety of written, broadcast, and electronic publications. A former writer/producer for The Discovery Channel, she is now a freelance writer and delighted to be sharing her talents and time with the wonderful Zippia audience.
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Problem solving skills for your CV
Problem solving skills are vital in the workplace.
With problems arising all the time, those who can solve them are extremely valuable to employers.
So, check out our list of 53 problem solving skills for all industries and experience levels, to help you get hired and move up the career ladder.
Problem solving skills
Problem solving skills can be broken down into 5 categories. 1 for each step of the problem-solving process, from finding problems and identifying their causes , to implementing solutions and evaluating their success .
The first step of the problem-solving process is to locate problems that are having a negative effect on your organisation, which is not always easy as it seems.
- Reporting – e.g. “ Responsible for writing and analysing company’s annual review before presenting to shareholders at the end of every fiscal year. ”
- Monitoring – e.g. “Tasked with overseeing department budget and supervising internal audits, reporting on any gaps, inconsistencies or inefficiencies.”
- Research – e.g. “Used REDCAP software to gather data on our consumer base and branch into wider demographics, resulting in an improved understanding of strengths and weaknesses.”
- Forecasting – e.g. “Created an effective statistical model that found gaps in our market, allowing us to identify numerous underperforming areas.”
- Analysis – e.g. “Analysed 300 data points to spot patterns and anomalies in service .”
Being able to identify the causes of problems within an organisation is an invaluable skill for any employer, because it allows them to start working on solutions. Here are some ways you can demonstrate this skill on your CV :
- Data gathering – e.g . “Gathered data on competitor consumer bases, to build an understanding of our underperforming areas”
- Data analysis – e.g. “Used SEO keyword research tools to analyse website ranking, and pages that could be improved within 6 months.”
- Testing – e.g. “By using software tools to test [company’s] online strategy, I successfully identified areas the company website needed to be improved”
- Monitoring – e.g . “Used software tools to monitor the efficiency of our new social media strategy, working with our communications team to observe customer patterns on all our online platforms.”
- Supervising – e.g. “Oversaw 20+ team members and compared performance against company standards .”
- Research – e.g. “Carried out independent research on our inefficient pricing model, created alternative, profitable pricing model which resulted in a 9% increase in net profit.”
- Forecasting – e.g. “Provided data modelling to ensure that our sales would carry through significant expansion period, continued to make steady profit throughout business expansion.”
- Analysis – e.g. “Carried out external financial audits for over 200 companies in 18 different regions, working with clients in several industries.”
- Reporting – e.g. “ Was responsible for creating weekly inventory and stock reports, notifying supervisory team of any noticeable inconsistences and their causes.”
- Critical Thinking – e.g. “Advised independent law firm on merging accounts with nationwide brand, preventing 12 job losses and contributing to successful merger.”
Being able to come up with solutions to problems, demonstrates to an employer that you’re logical, creative, and able to think and work independently. Here are some ways you can illustrate this skill on your CV:
- Brain storming – e.g. “Worked with team of diverse creative directors to come up with the company vision and mission statement, along with accompanying advertising.”
- Collaboration – e.g. “ Helped supervisory team adapt their online strategy and target expansive consumer demographic base, resulting in an 11% increase in organic traffic.”
- Presenting – e.g. “Held regular meetings with clients, presenting the company vision and selling our solutions to prospective customers.”
- Strategic Thinking – e.g. “Overhauled our advertising strategy by hiring an independent creative communications team, resulting in a more successful campaign for our clients.”
- Active Listening – e.g. “Implemented online training and work-from-home benefits in order to deal with productivity slump, securing better work-life balance for staff.”
- Creativity – e.g. “Re-designed company website to be more user-friendly, reported a 19% growth in CTP advertising and 11% growth in sales in 12 months.”
- Innovation – e.g. “Headed successful campaign to move all our services online, resulting in an 8% boost in organic sales and a 12% cut in overhead costs.”
- Risk Taking – e.g. “Moved our online store to Shopify software and Instagram advertising, resulting in an 11% increase in organic traffic, 19% increase in advertising clicks, and 3% increase in sales during first quarter.”
- Project Design – e.g. “Worked with team of 3 strategists to successfully re-design our customer service system, moving to a more personalised experience for our clients and resulting in an increase in customer satisfaction of 16%.”
- Persuasion – e.g. “Influenced company decision to pause proposed business expansion into seven new locations, citing market instability and increased online competition.”
It’s important to have the necessary skills needed to implement solutions when problem solving: here are some examples of implementation skills and how to describe them on your CV:
- Project management – e.g. “Headed up a team of writers , editors, and designers in creating our successful monthly newsletter, distributed to our 500,000+ mailing list.”
- Planning – e.g. “ Organised our annual business conference from 2013-2017, organising meetings with clients, planning meetings with shareholders, and giving individual presentations.”
- Teamwork – e.g. “Worked in a diverse Communications team of 14 employees, handling press enquiries and requests for comments for high profile London law firm.”
- Leadership – e.g. “Managed a team of 50+ employees in a high-paced, fast-changing customer-facing role, with a high employee retention rate of 97%.”
- Time Management – e.g. “Managed a busy office of 150+ employees while meeting with clients, shareholders, and managing various office admin duties.”
- Responsibility – e.g. “Represented our organisation at [business conference] in 2014, 2015, and 2017, giving presentations on our annual report to shareholders and potential investors.”
- Scheduling – e.g. “Worked to meet tight deadlines for various high-profile advertising campaigns, while also working within the company’s design team to create compelling social media content.”
- Negotiation – e.g. “Influenced [company] decision to U-turn on proposed merger between London and Manchester law firms, resulting in a three-year pause on similar measures.”
- Written Communication Skills – e.g. “Handled all written customer and client enquiries, composed emails to shareholders, clients, and suppliers, helping our customer service satisfaction rating reaching an all-time high of 93%.”
- Technical Skills – e.g. “Trained our full team of 20+ employees in SurferSeo software, WordPress publishing, G-Suite, and Yoast.”
Being able to evaluate the success or failure of your solutions is key to being an effective problem solver, while also showing any employer that you’re dedicated to producing positive outcomes. Here are some ways that you can list your evaluation skills on your CV:
- Comparison – e.g. “Aided the department store’s buying team to select the best products from our suppliers and manufacturers, integrating two new high street brand ranges into our physical store.”
- Reporting – e.g. “ Conducted data analysis, independent research and phone call interviews to create statistical models about voter behaviour in varying demographic groups.”
- Giving and Receiving Feedback – e.g. “Conducted over 300 employee performance reviews and gave detailed feedback, leading to a boost in productivity and our organisation maintaining high employee retention.”
- Attention to Detail – e.g. “ Used editing software, Yoast, and other platform optimisation tools to ensure that our website was reader-friendly and error-free .”
- Monitoring – e.g. “Used platform research tools and Google analytics to track relevant data about our website traffic, monitoring any changes and using the data to adapt our strategy.”
- Test Development – e.g. “Supervised our production team as we tested and implemented various strategic changes to our customer service process, recording data and reporting back to management throughout the process.”
- Analysis – e.g. “Provided accurate data forecasting for client in the luxury goods sector, helping them branch into online advertising and securing an early monopoly in their niche.”
- Research – e.g. “Created user-friendly customer feedback forms to encourage authentic feedback for our website, resulting in a 32% increase in customer feedback and the implementation of 6 customer suggestions.”
- Verbal Communication – e.g. “Was tasked with representing our company at a nationwide level at [conference name], was personally responsible for an 8% increase in new, organic clients from media exposure from said event.”
- Adaptability – e.g. “Successfully integrated two departments into one communications team, with zero redundancies and 100% employee retention following the merger.”
What are problem solving skills?
Problem solving skills describe a set of skills that can be used in any work environment to identify problems and come up with effective solutions to fix them. Having good problem-solving skills also means being able to evaluate how effective your solutions have been – this means being able to analyse, monitor, and evaluate your work objectively.
You also need to possess a strong set of implementation skills in order to fix problems in a fast-paced work environment. Skills such as project management , planning, time management , and reporting are all cornerstone skills when it comes to solving problems.
Why are problem solving skills important?
Problem solving skills are important in any job for one simple reason: you’re going to encounter plenty of problems and obstacles in almost any line of work. Having good problem solving skills also reflect on your general competencies: being a good problem solver shows that you’re a self-starter, logical, creative and a helpful addition to any team.
Having a strong set of problem solving skills is also great for your career: you’ll be able to apply these skills in a wide range of roles and thrive in any fast-paced work environment. Put simply, being an effective problem-solver will help you advance in your career while contributing to the success of your organisation.
How to add problem solving skills to your CV
You can add your problem solving skills to your CV in two ways: either by adding a few relevant skills to your opening profile when writing your CV , or by adding examples to your work experience . When writing out your work experience, you can use the “responsibilities” section to demonstrate where you used your problem solving skills throughout your career, and the results you achieved for employers.
By placing some of your key problem-solving skills in your profile , you’re more likely to catch the attention of a recruiter searching for the ideal candidate. You can display your main problem solving skills as follows:
You can demonstrate your problem solving skills when discussing your former employment by listing your key responsibilities, tasks and achievements. Adding this information will back up the validity of your described skillset with concrete evidence.
What To Avoid
If you want to demonstrate to a potential employer that you possess the skillset they’re looking for, you have to show, not tell. This means giving concrete examples of your skills in action, rather than offering generic statements such as “Good problem solver” or simply “problem solving skills.”
Employers want to know why you’ll be a valuable asset to their business or organisation, and it’s your job to show them why. Simply writing that you are a “problem solver” will not prove the fact to anyone, you need to show them with solid examples of your past work.
Follow the formula in the examples above to efficiently demonstrate your problem solving skills: the more achievements you can offer, the better.
10 Problem Solving Skills Examples: How To Improve
Problem-solving skills have suitable examples and are inevitable that employers look for in candidates before and after employment. This process has some effective steps, with examples of every possible skill, and how to demonstrate that you have strong problem-solving skills with examples. When employers talk about analytical and problem-solving skills examples, they often mention the ability to work in difficult places and in complex business challenges to handle difficult or unexpected situations.
Companies can both evaluate and reliably depend on people who can solve the solution by dint of problem-solving examples in the workplace.
Problem-solving skills are what you are capable of doing. Although problem-solving skills are valued by employers, they are also very beneficial in relation to relationships and other areas of lifestyle decisions.
Related: Problem Solving Skills – Definitions, Importance, Steps, and Examples
What are problem-solving skills?
A soft skill (a personal strength, in contrast to the difficult skills, learned through education or training), the competence to solve creative and functional problems, yet, employers are among the most valuable qualities of their job applicants. Problem-solving skills have suitable examples and are inevitable that employers look for in candidates before and after employment.
For example, a cable television technician is trying to solve customer problems with weak signals. A teacher needs to determine how to improve the performance of his students in the writing skills test. A store manager might try to reduce the theft of goods. A computer expert may be looking for a way to speed up a slow program.
The problem-solving skills help you to determine the source of the problem and find effective solutions. Although problem-solving is often identified as its own skill, other skills contribute to problem-solving interview questions and answer examples.
Some important problem-solving skills include:
- Active hearing
- Decision was taken
- Form a team
Problem-solving skills are important in each career at each level. As a result, industrial or work-specific technical skills may be needed to solve the effective problem.
For example, a registered nurse needs active listening and communication skills in interacting with patients, but also requires effective technical knowledge about diseases and medicines. In many cases, a nurse will need to know when consulting a doctor for a patient’s treatment as part of the solution.
Problem-solving skills examples
To solve a problem effectively, you probably need to use a few different skills. Here are some problem-solving skills selection criteria answers you can use to solve problems here:
Problem-solving skills have suitable examples and are inevitable that employers look for in candidates before and after employment. When identifying possible solutions, you need to know how to communicate the problem to others.
If you want help, you need to know which communication channels are most appropriate. Once finding solutions, it will be easy to communicate clearly and reduce confusion and implement the solution.
Dependency is one of the most important skills for problem solvers. The problem is solved in a timely manner. Employers can trust both very valuable person to identify and then implement quick and effective solutions.
An essential skill related to research problem-solving. As a troubleshooter, you will be able to identify the cause of the problem and fully understand it.
You can begin to gather more information about an issue by consulting with other team members, collecting more experienced information, giving advice to more experienced colleagues, or acquiring knowledge through online research or curriculum.
The first step to solving the problem is to analyze the situation. Your analytical skills will help you to understand the problem and develop solutions effectively.
You need analytical skills during research to help differentiate between effective and viable solutions. Problem-solving skills have suitable examples and are inevitable that employers look for in candidates before and after employment.
5. Decision making
Finally, you have to decide on the solution to the problems that you solve. At times (and with industry experience), you can be able to make quick decisions and good examples of problem-solving for an interview.
How to show the problem-solving skills
Showing your problem-solving skills in your resume and cover letter can help you understand how Employers can be quick to their team as a part of examples of problem-solving interview questions.
The problem-solving problem for your resume can only be considered if it is particularly relevant to the position you have applied for For example, customer service, engineering, and management positions, with the ability to solve problems, will be good candidates.
Problem-solving skills for resume
In your resume, you can highlight your problem-solving skills in various places: By giving a specific example in the “Skills” section, the “Success” category, troubleshooting solutions in your “Experience” section, and application of life skills and solving the problem in a real-life situation.
In the proficiency section, you can list the key problem-solving skills you have instead of just writing more complicated terms “problem solving”. For example, you can keep certain technical skills with you that will help you solve problems or solve soft skills, such as your research ability or your ability to make decisions.
Remember, stories are powerful. Keep a specific example in mind while you solve a problem. This is useful for your resume but will help you to answer the interview question, “Tell me about the obstruction that you have me.”
Problem Solving Skills for Cover Letter
Your cover letter is also a great opportunity to expand your problem solving skills. Here, you can give a brief example of the time to successfully solve a problem. Otherwise, you can identify a challenge that this potential employer is trying to solve and explain how you can solve a proactive approach to problem solving examples.
For example, if a job posting mentions that the company is looking for someone to help improve its social media presence, you can identify how to help increase awareness of the brand through various social media platforms.
The steps to solve the problem
Now you’ve made a list of possible issues intelligent, your next step is to think of effective solutions for this problem, to mention the skills needed to solve them. Here are some of the most commonly used steps in solving problems, their related skills, and the different career areas where they are used.
1. Analysis of reasons or reasons contributing to unwanted situations
To solve a problem, you must first determine the reason for this. For this, you have to identify and evaluate the data, detach the potential given situations, and identify the main reasons for resolving the problem as a part of demonstrated analytical and problem-solving skills examples.
- Historical analysis
- Reason Analysis
- Process Analysis
- Need identification
- Data collection
- Data analysis
Examples: Determining illness, identifying the causes of social problems, explaining the data to determine the extent of problems, conflicts of marital affidavits, recognition of illegal research models
2. Create a set of alternative interventions to achieve your last goal
Once you are making a problem once, it’s time to come up with possible alternative solutions. Sometimes this involves teamwork, two (or more) minds are often better than one. This is a complex strategy that is the obvious way of solving complex problems; Creating a set of options helps you cover your bases and helps reduce your risk exposure that your first strategy fails.
- Project design
- Project planning
- Creative thinking
Examples: Brainstorming Solutions, Development Treatment Plans, Devising and Testing Hypotheses
3. Best solution evaluation
Depending on the nature of the problem and your discipline, the best solutions can be guided by the evaluated teams, parties, or leadership, or may move forward to big corporate decision-makers.
Anyone who decides on possible costs, necessary resources, and possible breakthroughs to implement successful solutions should be evaluated for effective problem-solving skills in nursing examples.
- Test development
For example: evaluating alternate options to reduce pressure, offering diplomatic solutions in conflict, opting out of employees during business hours, troubleshooting computer goods
4. Implement a plan
Once a decision has been made, it must be applied, with a benchmark that can quickly and accurately determine whether it is working to solve a problem. The implementation of the plan generally involves the workers being careful to change their standard operating system (SOPs).
- Time management
- Benchmark development
- Project management
- Project implementation
For example implementation barrier, implementation solution, interpersonal conflict intermediation, repair of retrofitted equipment, as a part of analytical and problem-solving skills selection criteria answers
5. Evaluate the effectiveness of your intervention
Once the solution is implemented, the best problem-solvent system is to determine how quickly and fast its function is, as well as business problem-solving examples. In this way, they will know whether the problem has been solved as soon as possible, or alternatively, they will know whether their reaction to the medium flow is changed.
- Customer feedback
- Problem solve
For example Surveying End Users, Comparing Production Statistics, YYY Sales Statistics Evaluation
Tips for answering a question about the problem solving interview
You do not have to answer a cookie-cutter. Employers are always interested in people who can think out of the box and present new solutions, especially when older people do not work.
The most important thing is to show your answers to your problem solving skills. If interviews offer a possible problem, share how you would solve it.
When you explain your thinking process, use the steps listed above (from the analysis of the reason for evaluating the effectiveness of your interventions). Or, share an example of the problem you solved in the previous introduction. Explain how and why you solved this problem.
Sample interview answer skills solution skills
Problem solving skills have suitable examples and are inevitable that employers look for in candidates before and after employment and problem-solving skills examples for resume. Here are some examples of how job applicants can describe their problem-solving skills in different occupations:
As a nurse practitioner, my primary responsibility is to use my problem-solving skills to diagnose illnesses and develop treatment plans. With each patient, I can determine whether we can determine whether they can analyze their medical history, their symptoms, and their possible exposure to various diseases, or see immediately if we need blood tests. I then develop a care plan and, if warranted, perform follow-up calls to check the recovery process.
When I first rented as parallel, I inherited a set of 35 backlinks that needed summary summaries, each hundred pages were long. However, at the same time, I had to help in preparing the attorney for three main cases, and there was not enough time just for the day. After explaining the problem to my supervisor, he and the attorney agreed to pay me for the coming Saturday morning to focus on the backlog. I was thus able to extract it in one month.
When I joined Great Graphics as an article director, the designer becomes deficient and unknowable due to being a former director trying to micromanage at every stage of the design process as creative problem-solving examples for interviews.
I used weekly round-table talks to request creative inputs and made sure that every designer was given full autonomy to do their best work. I also introduced the monthly team-based competition that helped build psychology, spread exciting new ideas, and improve cooperation.
Interviews can also provide an example of possible problems and then ask you to outline the steps to address them. To prepare, the problem arising from your case is usually brainstorming.
More problem solving solutions
The list below includes general strategies involved in solving problems. An answer to this problem-solving problem can be useful to include your answers to an interview question.
- Implementation barriers
- Interference Performance Evaluation
- Brainstorming Solutions
- Define the causes of stress effects
- Development Planning Plan
- Devising a classroom management plan to address student abuse
- Devising hypothesis
- Draw a compromise around a set of solutions
- Optional strategy assessment to reduce pressure
- Find Middle Ground
- Flexibility to try new methods
- Identify the reasons for social problems
- Identify the interests of all parties
- Implementation solution
- Explain the information to explain the problem
- Interpersonal conflict intermediation
- Contribution to the marital plight of discretion
- The resolution of diplomatic solutions to settle border disputes
- Recognition of illegal research models
- Recommend ways to improve communication between relationships
- Repair of repair equipment
- A customer complaint solution
- A budget reconstruction after a fiscal short-cut
- Selection of Lay Off staff during a business recession
- Test hypotheses
- Computer Malfunctions Problem Solving
- Verifying the data to correctly identify the problem
The solution to the problem is to be reasonable, to imagine, to create a situation, and to bring an intelligent solution. In fact, the best troubleshooter hopes for possible potential future problems and works to prevent them or reduce their effects.
The problem-solving skills are associated with other skills, including:
- Analytical skills
- Innovative and creative thinking
- A difference mentality
- Adaptation and flexibility
- Layer locks
- Elasticity (for reassessing when your first idea does not work)
- team working (problem-solving is a team effort)
- Skills Impact (get colleagues, clients, and bosses to accept your solution).
Problem detection is often an essential component of the new business or product idea – and, for example, the entrepreneur of solving problems. It is an important element of good leadership.
Why all graduates need skills to solve problems at work
Turn around to find some graduate career solutions – for example, engineering, management consulting, scientific research, and technology as a part of analytical and problem-solving skills selection criteria examples.
Meanwhile, other staff graduates may be expected to resolve their growing times of employment: For example, coach managers should deal with operational problems (such as delays in the supply chain) or resolve conflicts between group members.
In fact, the ability to solve the problem is an essential part of an employee’s skill set, even if it is not specific to the job description.
How will employers evaluate your problem-solving skills?
Your problem-solving skills can be evaluated in three ways: before you ask the examples of time to solve a problem; Present certain imaginary scenarios and how you react to them, And see how many experiments and exercises apply to your problem-solving skills.
Interview questions about skill-based application and problem solving
For example, when you solve the problem of an application form – for example, an engineering company’s application form already includes the question ‘Please tell us a problem when using our technical expertise and knowledge’. But more likely to problem-solving interview questions examples include:
- Give me an example of when you run into a problem in a project. What did you do ?
- Give me an example of a difficult problem to solve outside of your course. How do you communicate it?
- Tell me about the time you work through a problem as a team.
- Have you ever disagreed with the team members? How was it resolved?
- When you see a possible problem, give it an example and it takes steps to become one.
- Give me an example of when you are managing a big crisis.
- Let me give you an example of thinking as well.
Hypothetical interview questions about problem-solving
Interviewers also want to know how to contact you with problems you might encounter at work. Specific interview questions will vary according to work, but the common ones include:
- How would you deal with the conflict at work? (Especially trainer managers and graduate HR professionals can be asked.)
- What to do if you have an unexpected delay due to supply chain issues? (This can be specifically asked in construction, supply, or retail interview).
- What do you do if a client or customer raises a complaint?
- Do you notice if a colleague is fighting with their work?
- How would you react if given a negative reaction by a director of an aspect of your performance?
- How do you judge how you will use your own initiative or ask for help?
Examination for problem-solving and undergraduate work
Various tests that employers can determine skills to solve your problem include:
Online skills, captivating, and power test. These are usually taken part in the application stage, although they can be repeated in an evaluation center. The tests for evaluating your problem-solving skills are situational judgment tests and your reasonable assessment or graphical reasoning tests that evaluate your logic.
Video ‘Immersion Experience’, game-based recruitment practice, or virtual reality assessment. These methods are not yet widely used, but they are becoming more common. They are usually interviewed before facing the interview or evaluation center.
Case study exercises. Work on this general evaluation center. You set a business problem, usually associated with the sector you are working in, and it has been asked to recommend separately or in groups to resolve it. You will usually be asked to outline your proposals in your presentation or written form, a task that will verify your ability to interpret your problem-solving process.
In-tray (or e-tray) exercise. These are always set in an evaluation center but can be part of the online testing phase nowadays. In practice, practice your time management skills initially, but assess your ability to identify a potential problem and take steps to solve it.
Job-specific or task-specific exercises are given in an evaluation center or an interview. If set, it will be related to the role you are implementing, and you will need to fix any issues or fix errors with analytical thinking and problem-solving examples.
For example, for Civil and structural engineering candidates, the answers to the client’s short and-answer questions need to be sketched in a design, and the editorial role can be asked to prove the copies or spot errors in the pages of the candidate’s page (publishing fully designed pages).
How to develop your problem-solving skills and showcase
Here are some tips on how to develop problem-solving strategies for employers.
Find opportunities to get a solution
Dealing with any problems in the following situations will help you to get the problem-solving skills, without even realizing it:
- Sort your technical problem with your phone, device, or computer.
- To solve a dispute with a clever landlord to get your deposit back.
- DIY carry out.
- A claim is to serve the customer or to resolve a complaint.
- Find a way to round a fund shortage to pay for travel or a gap year.
- Turning towards financing or increasing the membership of a struggling student community.
- Organize a student society trip abroad, unexpected difficulties beyond the way.
- A course rep and played as a mentor for other students.
You should also have the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills through your research. In many areas such as engineering and computer science, many hiring has evolved to solve the problem in a clear way, for example, there are no article articles in English literature. However, then, English literary students may also face difficulties in determining educational issues such as the best source elements.
Some professional organizations (for example, to build) compete for students, which often advocate solving problems faced by students of the industry; This can provide good evidence of your problem-solving skills.
Sudoku and chess games can strengthen your ability to think strategically and creatively.
Prior to the recruitment practice
Any candidate, a high-flying affair, can be added to an online exam or an assessment center for the first time, so please do whatever you can to practice beforehand. Free and paid-for-us-access links. Contact your carrier service and book a comedic interview or a mock assessment center.
Remember the solution to this problem
If you are available with a scenario or case study during the graduate recruitment process, you can try using the IDEAL model described in Solver, to Brandford and Stein in their book Ideal Problem Solutions. Break the problem you have to solve in order to solve the problem:
- Mark the problem
- Define the barrier
- Check your options
- Action on an agreed course of action
- See how it is active, and whether you need to make any changes.
Give the details of your answer
Explain how you have identified the problem, solve it, and implement it with examples of problem-solving skills in the workplace.
Quantifiable results are good, and perhaps in more complicated situations, more successful outcomes Qualifications-based interview questions follow the star strategy described in our article.
If you face a problem as part of a team, explain how important your role is to ensure a positive solution, but explain how your group worked together. These may be the opportunity to promote your team working skills as well.
How to Stand Out Your Skills
Highlight your skills in your resume: Your problem-solving skills should show your cover letter, resume, and application materials. Be prepared to discuss phone calls and specific ways of using your skills to solve problems during the interview.
Specify the relevant skills in your cover letter: See the previous roles-whether in academic, work, or volunteer settings-for examples of challenges and for solving your problems while carrying out each function with examples of problem-solving scenarios in the workplace.
You can highlight relevant examples in your cover letter. You can frame bullet points in your resume to show how you can solve the problem.
Be prepared to describe how you can solve the problem: At the time of the interview, the situations that you face in previous roles, to solve the problems, be prepared to describe the procedures you follow, the skills you apply, and the results of your operation. Possible employers are eager to hear a coherent description of the specific ways you’ve used the skills to solve the problem.
How to Improve skills
Dedicated research and solid analytical skills can facilitate those who have less experience in their field. There may be times when a solution may take some time or it can increase the problem to a person who is able to solve the problem.
There are several useful ways you can be able to improve your problem-solving skills. Whether you are looking for a job or working now, improving your problem-solving skills and related skills will help you to support a strong candidate and employee with examples of problem solving interview answers.
Earn more technical knowledge of your case. Depending on your industry, if you have technical knowledge of powerful work, it can be easier to solve the problem. You can make more technical knowledge through additional coursework, training, or practice.
Practice problems While learning to develop your problem-solving skills, practice, and roles may be useful tools to play. You can find solutions to professional practice books and online troubleshooting solutions for your industry. How you can solve that problem and determine whether your potential solutions are effective.
For example, how do you manage customer service such as “How to manage a gross customer?” Or “How do the customers show their reaction?” Can find a scenario like this. When they get to the job, the industry can help them with quick solutions with problem-solving interview answers examples.
Find solutions to the problem by dint of problem-solving examples for performance review.
By putting yourself in new situations, you are more likely to open up opportunities to solve the problem. In your current role, new projects have the opportunity to be volunteers, outside of the workplace for other organizations or outside the organization.
Observe how others solve the problem. The skilled problem solver who can have your colleagues. How those colleagues solve the problem can help you improve your own skills.
If possible, ask one of your more experienced colleagues if you can follow their strategy. Asking relevant questions can be helpful in applying your own career.
1. Participate in Yoga
The highly effective mixture of body consciousness, breathing, and meditation that’s required throughout yoga observe has been proven to considerably increase cognitive take look at scores.
Other outcomes from a University of Illinois research embrace shorter response times, more accuracy, and increased consideration based on problem-solving skills selection criteria example.
2. Play Some Soccer
A link has been discovered between our mind’s “executive functions” and sports activities’ success with problem solving scenario interview questions.
When in motion, our brains are shortly multitasking between shifting, anticipating, strategizing, reacting, and performing. Doing all these items directly requires an unlimited quantity of mental exercise.
This may be associated with our working world once we plan, motivate, monitor our actions, and problem-solve suddenly. Therefore, it could be concluded that if you play soccer or some other fast-moving sport, you’re rewiring your mind to be quicker at considering, processing, and reacting to issues.
3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
More than some other sleeping or awake state, Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep straight enhances creative processing within the mind with analytical problem solving skills examples.
REM sleep helps “stimulate associative networks, allowing the brain to make new and useful associations between unrelated ideas” and is “not due to selective memory enhancements” equivalent to reminiscence consolidation, which happens when awake.
4. Eat Some Cheerios
The Cheerios Effect is the name physicists have given to the occasion that occurs when the previous few cheerios in a bowl at all times cling to one another. The explanation for this incidence is floor stress with the help of thinking and problem solving soft skills examples.
The takeaway is that in relation to experiencing stress while attempting to resolve an issue, cling to those around you. Rely on others’ experiences and concepts, even these from totally different professional fields. Draw connections. Brainstorm. Work collectively to get the job carried out.
5. Dance Your Heart Out
Did you recognize that dancing has an optimistic effect on neural processing, probably growing new neural pathways to go around dopamine-depleted blockages within the mind?
This signifies that for those who have interaction in ballet or one other type of structured dance, doing so could facilitate convergent considering. In different phrases, it could assist you to discover a single, applicable reply to an issue examples of problem solving skills in administration.
If you need assistance with divergent considering (discovering a number of solutions to an issue), participating in additional improvised kinds of dance equivalent to hip-hop or faucet would possibly just do the trick.
6. Keep an “Idea Journal” with You
Problem solving with a journal you’ll be capable of shortly filing vital ideas, writing down private experiences, making sketches, and discovering concepts if you hold “Idea Journal” with you always with problem solving selection criteria examples.
Working out issues by sorting your ideas on paper after which viewing them more objectively is less complicated than having all of your ideas caught in your head (and can present higher problem-solving methods).
7. Use Mind Maps to Help Visualize the Problem
Mind Maps, a visible snapshot of an issue and its doable options, can assist focus thoughts, stimulate the brain, improve the capability for creative considering, and generate more concepts for options.
Make a Mind Map by drawing your drawback because of the central concept. Add “main branches” consisting of all the explanations for the issue. Use “sub-branches” to discover further particulars.
Next, make a separate Mind Map of all doable options to the central drawback. Add “main branches” exhibiting all of the ways in which your drawback may be solved, equivalent to colleagues that may assist, methods you may apply, and different assets you need to use.
Add “sub-branches” to additional discover the small print. Make a remaining department with essentially the most appropriate resolution for the main drawback. Use “sub-branches” for details for example of fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
8. Create “Psychological Distance”
What is the psychological distance? According to the construal degree theory (CLT), it’s “anything that we do not experience as occurring now, here, and to ourselves.” Some examples include taking one other particular person’s perspective or considering the issue as unlikely.
Scientists have proven that by rising the psychological distance between us and our drawbacks, we’ll have a rise in inventive options such as examples of problem-solving in everyday life.
This occurs as a result of considering more abstractly helps us kind unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated ideas, thus permitting our minds to extend their problem-solving capacity.
9. Work out to Some Tunes
Research on cardiac rehabilitation sufferers examined verbal fluency after exercising with and without music without problem-solving scenarios in job interviews.
Results confirmed that after they listened to music understanding, members greater than doubled their scores on verbal fluency assessments in distinction to those after they worked out in silence.
According to the research’s lead author, “The combination of music and exercise may stimulate and increase cognitive arousal while helping to organize the cognitive output.”
10. Work out Your Brain with Logic Puzzles or Games
The profitable technique when enjoying chess, Sudoku, a Rubik’s Cube, or different brain-boosting games is definitely to work the issue backward, not ahead. The identical technique can apply to realistic strategic-thinking conditions.
To construct your mind muscle and develop new problem-solving methods, observe some logic puzzles and different games, as an example of problem-solving skills
Problem-solving skills have suitable examples and are inevitable that employers look for in candidates before and after employment. Your problem-solving skills will be an advantage for you at every step of your career and problem-solving skills examples for the interview.
Starting from the application, in job interview interviews, the ability to effectively deal with problems can be very valuable to you after the valuable resources and candidates for the job. Here are some examples of problem-solving scenarios:
Examples of problem-solving scenarios
- Stuck in traffic and was late for work, again. – Think Alternatives
- What is that stain on the living room carpet? – Diagnose the cause and Develop Action Plan
- Why is the baby crying? – Investigation and Attention
- What is that smell coming from my teenage son’s room? – Mitigate and Make a Solution
- I don’t think the car is supposed to make that thumping noise – Diagnose and Assess the Impact
- Someone flushed an entire roll of toilet paper and water is backing up in the tub. – Thinking Quickly
- The proposal deadline got moved up to this afternoon! – Meet Deadline
- What’s for dinner? – Planning
- My daughter has a science project – due tomorrow – Action Plan
- What should I get my spouse for his/her birthday? – Decision Making
In almost every career sector, the solution to the problem is that employers are one of the key skills of finding a job applicant. It is difficult to find a blue-collar, administrative, managerial, or professional position, which does not require skill-solving skills.
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How to List Problem-Solving Skills on a Resume [List Included]
Problem-solving skills are more in-demand than ever.
Employers love candidates with problem-solving skills because, in 99% of cases, they guarantee you're also logical, creative, clear-headed, and a great decision-maker.
But claiming you have organizational skills on your resume is not enough.
To impress recruiters, you've got to prove that you possess them.
This includes understanding which problem-solving skills you possess and adding them to your resume (the right way), among other things.
This is where this article comes in! We put together everything you need to know about problem-solving skills, including:
- 8 Essential Problem-Solving Skills for Your Resume
How to Add Problem-Solving Skills to Your Resume
- Why Are Problem-Solving Skills Important
- 6 Problem-Solving Steps
Let's dive right in!
8 Problem-Solving Skills for Your Resume
Research shows that problem-solving skills consist of several facets :
- Identifying and analyzing a problem
- Taking effective actions
- Understanding the effect of the decisions
- Coming up with creative and novel solutions
- Transferring knowledge from one situation to another
- Thinking abstractly about problems
As such, there is no single problem-solving skill. Problem-solving includes a set of skills, all of which are equally important in helping your personal and professional life.
Below, we’ll cover the eight most important problem-solving skills that you can also list on your resume to impress recruiters:
#1. Research skills
To properly identify and understand a problem, you need excellent research skills.
Research skills involve being able to gather information from the right sources, reviewing that information in detail to extract the data you need, analyzing the data according to the context, and being able to apply the data to your situation.
#2. Analytical skills
Analytical skills are required throughout the entire process of solving a problem.
In a nutshell, analytical skills refer to being able to analyze a situation in depth and from different perspectives . Specifically, you need analytical skills to achieve all of the following while solving a problem:
- Detect patterns
- Interpret data
- Analyze new information
- Reach conclusions based on several factors
Being creative means being able to think outside of the box and look at situations and problems inventively.
For most people, creativity is mainly associated with creative industries such as arts and crafts, architecture, design, etc.
In reality, however, creativity is an essential success factor for every job and the data is here to support that. According to this Adobe study , problem-solving (51%) and creativity (47%) have gained the most value in driving salary increases in the last five years.
When it comes to the process of solving a problem, creativity can help you consider more perspectives, think abstractly about problems, and come up with novel solutions that others haven’t thought of before.
#4. Critical thinking skills
Being able to think critically means that you’re good at rationalizing, understanding the connections between ideas or situations, and logically analyzing any given situation.
As such, strong critical thinking skills can help you see beyond what’s at face value, make more informed decisions, and anticipate the outcomes of said decisions.
People who have critical thinking skills share traits such as open-mindedness , cognitive flexibility , skepticism , clarity , and precision .
#5. Decision-making skills
Before coming up with a single action plan to solve a problem, you’ll need to first brainstorm several possible solutions.
After that, you need good decision-making skills to choose the best possible solution. Without decision-making skills, you risk prolonging finding a proper solution or aggravating a problem even more.
#6. Communication skills
With strong communication skills , you’re able to successfully explain the problem to others and propose your solutions. In turn, you can be sure that everyone’s on the same page and that you’re carrying out the action plan accordingly.
Some communication skills required for problem-solving include:
- Active listening
- Written and verbal communication
- Giving and receiving feedback
Problem-solving is rarely a process you carry out alone. More often than not, you need to consult relevant stakeholders, give and receive feedback, and work with a team towards a common goal (i.e. solving the problem).
Well, collaboration entails exactly that - working well with others, cooperatively addressing problems, and putting a group’s goal ahead of personal goals.
Some important collaboration skills that help with problem-solving include:
- Conflict resolution
- Emotional intelligence
#8. Attention to Detail
Have you ever heard of the expression “the devil’s in the details?”
It means that something may seem simple on the surface, but in fact, the details make it complicated and are likely to cause problems.
Well, if you’re someone who shows great attention to detail, you’re not likely to let details keep you from solving a problem effectively.
Not to mention, being able to spot and understand even the smallest details that make up a problem means you’ll be able to grasp the issue in its entire complexity and come up with even more inventive and workable solutions.
Now that we covered the most important problem-solving skills, we’ll show you how to add them to your resume so that you can stand out from other candidates.
Let us walk you through the process, step-by-step:
#1. Mention Your Problem-Solving Skills on Your Resume Summary
The resume summary is a three or four-sentence paragraph positioned at the top of your resume that includes:
- Your profession and years of experience
- Your top skills (i.e. hard skills or soft skills)
- One or two noteworthy achievements
The goal of the resume summary is to catch the hiring manager’s attention, show them you’re a relevant candidate and get them to go through the rest of your resume in detail.
As such, it’s your first chance to highlight your problem-solving skills effectively. You can either do that by mentioning them among your top skills or by mentioning an achievement that proves you possess a given skill.
In the best-case scenario, you can even do both.
Here is an example of how you can include problem-solving skills in your resume summary:
- Behavioral psychologist with 7+ years of experience in the field. Great research, analytical, and communication skills. Over the last eight years, I’ve worked closely with more than 100 patients with different behavioral disorders, helping them improve their personal and professional lives through different treatment methods.
#2. Add the RIGHT Problem-Solving Skills Under Your Soft Skills
Secondly, you should list your problem-solving skills under your resume’s soft skills section .
The listing part is pretty easy - simply create a section titled Skills and write down your problem-solving skills.
There is, however, one caveat:
You don’t want to overkill your skills section by listing every problem-solving skill we covered in this article.
Not only will the hiring manager have trouble believing you possess each and every skill, but there’s also a high chance you don’t even need all those skills to begin with.
To make your skills section as relevant as possile, do the following:
- Check the job description. The job description can show you exactly what skills you need for the job. If you’re applying for, say, a software engineering position, you’ll probably be required to have the following problem-solving skills: analytical skills, creativity, attention to detail, and cognitive flexibility.
- Identify the skills you possess. Think about which skills you can back up with actual experience from your previous jobs. Only list problem-solving skills that you actually possess and that you can prove you possess on your resume.
- Add those skills under your soft skills. Then, add the problem-solving skills that you have and that are required in the job under your resume’s “Soft Skills” section.
#3. Prove Your Problem-Solving Skills In Your Work Experience Section
Finally, you should use the work experience section to prove that you’ve got the problem-solving skills you’ve mentioned throughout your resume.
Anyone can just claim that they’ve got problem-solving skills on their resume - not everyone can back them up with experience.
Here’s what you can do to convey that you possess problem-solving skills and also make your work experience section as impactful as possible:
- Tailor your work experience to the job. Only add past jobs that are relevant to the position you are applying for now. If you’re applying for, say, a software engineering position, the hiring manager will be interested in your previous jobs in the field, but probably not too interested in the time you worked as a server at a restaurant.
- Focus on your achievements instead of your responsibilities. More often than not, hiring managers know exactly what your responsibilities consisted of in previous jobs. What they want to know is how you made a positive impact with your achievements.
- Make your achievements quantifiable. Speaking of achievements, you want to make them as quantifiable as possible. After all “treated ten patients in the course of a year using positive reinforcement” sounds much better than “treated ten patients.”
- Use the Laszlo Bock formula . If you’re having trouble phrasing your achievements, the following formula will probably be of help: “Accomplished X as measured by Y doing X.”
- Leverage action verbs and keywords. There are hundreds of words and verbs you can use instead of “did,” “accomplished,” etc. The more descriptive you are of your achievements, the more impressive they can sound.
And here’s an example of a project manager describing their problem-solving skills in their work experience section:
- Fixed company communication issues by implementing a new project management solution.
- Improved team productivity by implementing time-tracking software and doing daily stand-up calls.
- Managed to meet all client deliverable deadlines in 2022.
Why Are Problem-Solving Skills Important?
Are you wondering what exactly is it that makes problem-solving skills so important?
After all, there are hundreds of soft skills out there that you can master, improve, or learn how to add to your resume. So it’s normal to wonder “why should I focus on problem-solving?”
Here is why problem-solving skills matter:
- They can improve your employability. Problem-solving skills are among the most important skills to employers across a range of occupations. In short, employers are always looking for proactive thinkers who can address professional challenges.
- They can help you grow in your career more easily. You’ll be more likely to get promoted if you can come up with creative solutions to the different problems that you’ll face throughout your career.
- They can become an essential part of your personal brand . Your current employer, coworkers, and future employers alike will see you as someone creative, reliable, and helpful.
- They are related to a range of other valuable skills. When you prove you’re a problem solver, you’re effectively saying you’re attentive to detail, logical, creative, analytical, curious, and other things employers are looking for in their employees.
10 Jobs That Require Problem-Solving Skills
As we’ve already mentioned, problem-solving skills come in handy for practically every job.
Whether you’re a teacher who needs to solve a dispute between peers in your class or a customer representative who needs to help a client, knowing how to go about solving issues is definitely an asset.
That said, some jobs are all about solving problems. In such cases, problem-solving skills are not just a nice addition to have on your resume - they’re crucial to getting hired.
Here are the top 10 jobs requiring problem-solving skills in 2023:
- Software engineer
- Air-traffic controller
- Police officer
- Social worker
- UX designer
35 Action Verbs You Can Use to Highlight Your Problem-Solving Skills
The language you use to describe your problem-solving skills matters.
Sure, you can use “ solved” to describe how you dealt with a problem throughout your entire resume and risk coming off as repetitive and unimaginative.
Or , you can use any of the following action verbs and keywords and make your problem-solving skills pop out in the eyes of recruiters:
- Critically think
- Draw conclusions
- Listen/Listen actively
The Problem-Solving Process in 6 Steps
Problem-solving is a methodical process. It consists of certain steps that you always need to take if you want to find a good solution.
The more you understand and practice this process, the better you can get at solving problems.
Below, we cover the six main steps of problem-solving in detail:
#1. Identify the problem
The first step to solving a problem is identifying exactly what’s causing it.
After all, if you’re not focusing on the real underlying issue, you might come up with solutions that don’t fit the problem itself.
Say, for example, that you’re a teacher that’s facing poor class performance. Identifying whether the problem comes from the students’ not studying enough or from your own teaching methods can make a big difference in the solutions you come up with.
It typically happens that the faster you find the root cause of the problem, the easier it is to find a proper solution.
#2. Understand the problem
Once you identify the problem, you’ve got to understand it completely. Here are some questions you can ask to make sure you properly understand a problem:
- What is the scale of the problem?
- What are its short and long-term effects?
- Have you faced something like this before?
- Can the problem be solved by dividing it into smaller parts?
The better you understand the problem in its complexity, the more likely you are to come up with effective solutions.
#3. Research the systems that make up the problem
In many cases, solving a problem will be a complex undertaking. See, complex problems are often the result of several different underlying systems that you need to understand to find a dynamic solution.
Let’s take the teacher example from above.
If a certain student is not doing too well and keeps getting poor grades, you might be tempted to go the easy route and simply chastise them and tell them to study more.
This, in a lot of cases, might simply not work because you’re not addressing the root cause of the problem.
The student might, for example, be burned out , unmotivated by the curriculum, or simply struggling with specific topics.
A problem-solving solution that’s more likely to work would be to talk to the student (or their parents), try to understand the reason for their poor grades, and address the root cause behind the problem itself.
#4. Visualize the problem
This may not apply to all situations, but it can definitely come in handy for most.
Drawing a diagram to visualize the situation or your solution to the problem can help you grasp its complexity better - especially if the problem is multi-faceted. Anything from PowerPoint to a piece of white paper can be a good tool to visualize your problem, highlight the problem area, and tackle it more effectively.
#5. Brainstorm solutions
After you’ve done all the above, it’s time to start thinking about solutions.
This is another step of the problem-solving process that’s based on collaboration and effective communication. In the brainstorming phase, you should sit with team members or relevant stakeholders and come up with as many creative ideas and solutions as possible.
This is not where you come up with your most refined, well-thought-out ideas. Instead, it’s where you discuss freely and combine diverse knowledge and analysis of the problem to come up with diverse solutions.
Brainstorming is an essential part of problem-solving that can help you break out of boring or predictable ideas and thinking patterns.
#6. Choose the best answer(s)
This is where decision-making skills come in. With a list of different potential solutions, you can narrow down your options to finally choose the best one.
To reach a solution more easily, take the following into consideration:
- Your company’s/organization’s objectives
- The budget and the timeframe at your disposal
- The success outcomes
- Potential risks linked to the solution
Finally, discuss your solutions with relevant stakeholders and team members to gather all the possible feedback that can help you make the best possible decision.
And remember - once you’ve chosen the best possible solution to a problem, your work is far from over. Being a problem solver also includes the following:
- Develop and implement an action plan
- Monitor the progress of your plan
- Make necessary adjustments during the process
- Evaluate the outcomes of your solution
Problem-Solving Skills Resume Example
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And that's a wrap on problem-solving skills. By now, you should know everything there is to know on the topic.
Before you go, here are the main points we covered in this article:
- Problem-solving skills are a set of soft skills that help you solve problems effectively. They involve critical thinking, analytical skills, creativity, communication skills, and attention to detail.
- Problem-solving skills can improve your employability, work performance, and personal brand.
- Add your problem-solving skills to your resume summary, under the soft skills section, and in your work history section.
- When you’re creating your work history section, make sure to tailor it to the job, focus on your achievements and make them quantifiable, and use action verbs and keywords from the job description.
- To get better at solving problems, follow these steps: identify and understand the problem, research the systems that make up the problem, visualize the problem, brainstorm, and choose the best possible solution.
- Once that’s done, create an action plan and make sure to monitor its progress as you’re implementing it.
- Our Mission
How Students Can Rethink Problem Solving
Finding, shaping, and solving problems puts high school students in charge of their learning and bolsters critical-thinking skills.
As an educator for over 20 years, I’ve heard a lot about critical thinking , problem-solving , and inquiry and how they foster student engagement. However, I’ve also seen students draw a blank when they’re given a problem to solve. This happens when the problem is too vast for them to develop a solution or they don’t think the situation is problematic.
As I’ve tried, failed, and tried again to engage my students in critical thinking, problem-solving, and inquiry, I’ve experienced greater engagement when I allow them to problem-find, problem-shape, and problem-solve. This shift in perspective has helped my students take direct ownership over their learning.
Encourage Students to Find the Problem
When students ask a question that prompts their curiosity, it motivates them to seek out an answer. This answer often highlights a problem.
For example, I gave my grade 11 students a list of topics to explore, and they signed up for a topic that they were interested in. From that, they had to develop a research question. This allowed them to narrow the topic down to what they were specifically curious about.
Developing a research question initiated the research process. Students launched into reading information from reliable sources including Britannica , Newsela , and EBSCOhost . Through the reading process, they were able to access information so that they could attempt to find an answer to their question.
The nature of a good question is that there isn’t an “answer.” Instead, there are a variety of answers. This allowed students to feel safe in sharing their answers because they couldn’t be “wrong.” If they had reliable, peer-reviewed academic research to support their answer, they were “right.”
Shaping a Problem Makes Overcoming It More Feasible
When students identify a problem, they’re compelled to do something about it; however, if the problem is too large, it can be overwhelming for them. When they’re overwhelmed, they might shut down and stop learning. For that reason, it’s important for them to shape the problem by taking on a piece they can handle.
To help guide students, provide a list of topics and allow them to choose one. In my experience, choosing their own topic prompts students’ curiosity—which drives them to persevere through a challenging task. Additionally, I have students maintain their scope at a school, regional, or national level. Keeping the focus away from an international scope allows them to filter down the number of results when they begin researching. Shaping the problem this way allowed students to address it in a manageable way.
Students Can Problem-Solve with Purpose
Once students identified a slice of a larger problem that they could manage, they started to read and think about it, collaborate together, and figure out how to solve it. To further support them in taking on a manageable piece of the problem, the parameters of the solution were that it had to be something they could implement immediately. For example, raising $3 million to build a shelter for those experiencing homelessness in the community isn’t something that students can do tomorrow. Focusing on a solution that could be implemented immediately made it easier for them to come up with viable options.
With the problem shaped down to a manageable piece, students were better able to come up with a solution that would have a big impact. This problem-solving process also invites ingenuity and innovation because it allows teens to critically look at their day-to-day lives and experiences to consider what actions they could take to make a difference in the world. It prompts them to look at their world through a different lens.
When the conditions for inquiry are created by allowing students to problem-find, problem-shape and problem-solve, it allows students to do the following:
- Critically examine their world to identify problems that exist
- Feel empowered because they realize that they can be part of a solution
- Innovate by developing new solutions to old problems
Put it All Together to Promote Change
Here are two examples of what my grade 11 students came up with when tasked with examining the national news to problem-find, problem-shape, and problem-solve.
Topic: Indigenous Issues in Canada
Question: How are Indigenous peoples impacted by racism?
Problem-find: The continued racism against Indigenous peoples has led to the families of murdered women not attaining justice, Indigenous peoples not being able to gain employment, and Indigenous communities not being able to access basic necessities like healthcare and clean water.
Problem-shape: A lot of the issues that Indigenous peoples face require government intervention. What can high school teens do to combat these issues?
Problem-solve: Teens need to stop supporting professional sports teams that tokenize Indigenous peoples, and if they see a peer wearing something from such a sports team, we need to educate them about how the team’s logo perpetuates racism.
Topic: People With Disabilities in Canada
Question: What leads students with a hearing impairment to feel excluded?
Problem-find: Students with a hearing impairment struggle to engage with course texts like films and videos.
Problem-shape: A lot of the issues that students with a hearing impairment face in schools require teachers to take action. What can high school teens do to help their hearing-impaired peers feel included?
Problem-solve: When teens share a video on social media, they should turn the closed-captioning on, so that all students can consume the media being shared.
Once my students came up with solutions, they wanted to do something about it and use their voices to engage in global citizenship. This led them to create TikTok and Snapchat videos and Instagram posts that they shared and re-shared among their peer group.
The learning that students engaged in led to their wanting to teach others—which allowed a greater number of students to learn. This whole process engendered conversations about our world and helped them realize that they aren’t powerless; they can do things to initiate change in areas that they’re interested in and passionate about. It allowed them to use their voices to educate others and promote change.