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Analytical Skills

You probably already know that strong analytical skills and analytical thinking are among the most required business abilities widely used in job resumes and cover letters. But what exactly they are and how to improve them?

On this page you will learn:

The quality of our lives depends on the quality of our logical and analytical thinking and on how good we are in decision-making and problem-solving.

What are Analytical Skills?

What are analytical skills?Analytical skills are the ability to collect, gather, visualize and analyze information in details. They include also the ability to see a problem or situation from different points of view.

Analytical skills allow you to solve complex problems by making decisions in the most effective way. That is way analytical thinking became one of the crucial skills in the workplace with a vital role in every type of business field.

For example: If you are a business management developer your main goals are to find business opportunities for market growth and to increase sales.

To achieve that you have to be able to gather and analyze information about company’s current position and to build a plan and strategies for business developing. If you do not possess strong analytical skills, it would be a mission impossible.

Fortunately, analytical skills can be learned.

They can be improved with practice!

Analytical Skills List

When it comes to analytical skills, there are many examples that can be given. Here are some of the most important of them:

1. The Ability to Collect the Right Information

Yes, it is sound simple. But it is not. It’s not just about collecting lots of information.

You have to be able to gather and collect the right information required for a specific situation. Collecting information is the beginning of the analytical process.

Information is a great power! If you gather the right information, you have a better chance to resolve the problem.

If you collect wrong or unnecessary information, it will have a negative influence on the whole analytical process and you may come up with a wrong solution to the problem.

Here are some useful tips on how to collect the right information:

  • Determine exactly what you want to know.
  • List down all possible sources of information.
  • Determine which are the best sources of information and which are just useful.
  • Determine the methods and ways of collecting information. For example, if you are in the marketing area, online survey tools are a great way to collect information.
  • Determine gaps in your knowledge and try to fill these gaps.
  • Think about who will use this information – only you or some of your colleagues and managers and etc.

2. Numeracy Skills

Numeracy skills are basic mathematical skills that include a range of abilities to understand and analyze numerical information and to make the right conclusions and decisions.

They also include the ability to express ideas and situations using numerical or mathematical information.

Mathematics is a science with a key role for a career of the people who deal with technology, finance, IT, banking, engineering – all professions related to analytical thinking.

Numeracy skills are some of the vital analytical skills. Examples are:

  • Knowledge of numbers and figures;
  • Understanding relationships between numbers;
  • Interpreting mathematical information;
  • Ability to remember;
  • Visual perception of information;
  • Ability to organize information;
  • Argumentation and logical thinking;
  • Calculation skills;
  • Understanding trends (for example with the help of data visualization software,);
  • Scheduling or budgeting (for example with the help of project scheduling software and etc.);
  • Measurement and data analysis;
  • Working with graphical information and different graphical software such as Gantt chart software, flowchart software;

3. Strategic Thinking Skills

Strategic thinking is the ability to know what you want to achieve and how to achieve it.

On a business level, strategy thinking means that you are able to come up with effective plans to resolve a situation or to achieve a company’s goal.

Strategic Thinking SkillsIt allows us to manage better our personal and business life and to achieve different types of success.

Examples of strategic thinking skills:

  • Clear vision about what you want to achieve.
  • Understand and analyze your current position and resources.
  • Prioritization.
  • Develop a strategic action plan.
  • Being flexible.
  • The ability to learn.
  • Understand underlying processes with the help of business process management software.

4. Attention to Detail Skills

Attention to detail skills is a crucial analytical skill.

What is attention to detail?

To pay attention means to focus on an action or thing. In business aspect, attention to detail definition includes the ability to concentrate on a task.

Detail-oriented strengths give you the ability to see hidden details and connections when you analyze situations, to be more effective and to minimize the risk of errors.

Companies value and require these strengths, that’s why many people include attention to detail capacity on their resumes, CV and job applications.

Example of attention to details skills:

5. Technical skills

In our information and high technology era, good technical skills and knowledge are a must for all level of management and job positions.

If you want to improve and develop your analytical skills, you have to be able to work effectively with a wide range of software programs, applications, hardware, and devices.

How to improve my analytical skills?

When it comes to analytical thinking, the key question is “How to improve my analytical skills?“. Which factors correlate with developing my analytical thinking?

Every one of us naturally possesses some kind of analytical abilities. But they are not enough. Analytical thinking gives the mankind opportunities to evaluate and create.

We want to be more successful! We want to make the right decisions! We want to resolve problems in the most effective way!

That is way, we need to learn, develop and improve our analytical skills.

And there are many ways to do that. Here you will see some of the best of them:

1. Learn to be more observant

When it comes to analytical thinking, it starts with attention to detail and observation. You have to be able to see hidden details and connections!

Use every moment (when it is possible to you) to observe the situation and environment.

Examples:

  • Example 1: When you are going for a walk in the park, pay attention to what’s happening around you. What do you see? Do you see green grass? How green is it – dark or bright green? Do you think this grass have enough water or it needs to be watered?
    These questions may sound strange and silly, but they are not! These details are crucial for the grass and the park as a whole (not enough watered will destroy grass and will have a negative impact on the beauty of the park).
    And the ability to see the crucial hidden details is what makes a person good analyst!
  • Example 2: When you read a newspaper or a website page, pay attention to details. What are the colors? Is design attractive or boring? Is the text formal or informal? Can you tell how many text colors we use on the page you are reading now? What do you think we want to achieve with the design?

Observation and asking yourself questions are key factors fo developing and improving analytical skills and thinking.

2. Practice describing a process step-by-step

Pick a process and describe it in written form with any details that come to your mind.

Examples:

  • Example 1: Before your are going to visit a friend, right down a plan in details and define the process step-by-step. In your plan, you may include: 1. when you will get up in the morning, 2. what transport you will use, 3. what and when you will buy a present….
    Try to write down more deeply details such as what you will tell him when he opens the door, how you will say “hello” with a smile or not, and etc.
    Here again, deeply details are in the core of the analytical thinking. Deeply details are those details that look ordinary and no one pays attention to them.
    But if you want to improve analytical skills, your main goals are to see the depth.

Practicing step-by-step thinking goes hand-by-hand with improving analytical skills.

3. Try to find a relation between two completely different objects 

Search for hidden connections!  Hidden connections are what you have to see with ease if you are want to be a person with good analytical skills.

Examples:

  • Example 1: A table and a lamp.On first sight, they have a completely different purpose. But look deeply.
    The two of them are making our life more convenient and easy. The two of them can be a part of a beautiful room design.
    There are mobile lamps that can be put on the table for more light.
    As you see, these two objects not only have something in common but they can work together to make improvements to our life.

Finding not obvious connections between two objects are crucial from problem-solving and decision-making. Practice regularly if you want to improve your analytical thinking.

4. Play analytical games

There are so many games that can help you improve your analytical skills.

how to improve analytical skillsSome of the most popular examples of analytical games are:

  • Chess;
  • Puzzle;
  • Backgammon Table;
  • Any kind of strategy games;
  • Other online analytical games.

There are many websites dedicated to online games suitable for those who want to develop analytical thinking.

5. Learn brain and memory training from courses, books, and other sources

Learning from courses or reading the appropriate books is always one of the best ways to learn new skills!

Here are some high rated online courses you can use to learn how to train your brain and memory:

1) Brain Science: Improve Your Memory & Boost Your Memory
This Udemy online course is fully accredited by a globally recognized CPD body, the Continuing Professional Development Standards Agency. The course will provide you with very useful, and easy to do methods to improve your memory.

2) Master Your Mindset & Brain: Framestorm Your Way to Success:
This course is very easy to understand and thought provocative. It helps individuals and teams grow their mental flexibility and self-regulation.

3) Master your brain: Neuroscience for personal development
Discover how this approach can help with stress, self-confidence, motivation, change, communication, relations, …

6. Other ways and tips to develop your skills of a good analyst

The listed and described above methods for developing your thinking abilities are the most common. Here is a list of more ideas:

  • Try to paint an idea that you have or an action that your are going to do.
  • Try to make graphics of different trends by years or months.
  • List down different arguments for an idea or a point of view you have.
  • List down possible solutions for different problems (for example write solutions for a problem of your best friend).
  • Explain different things to kids or to your friends.
  • Make lists of pros and cons your decisions or ideas you have.

The more you practice, the more your brain accustom to analytical thinking. Do not forget that the practice makes perfection!

For more ideas and information you can read the post “Problem Solving and Analytical Skills” by The University of Kent.

Careers and Jobs for People with Strong Analytical Skills

All kind of professions, jobs and careers required some analytical mind and ability to think logically.

But there are some jobs in a close relationship with analytical traits and thinking. You know that many companies put in their job descriptions phrases such as “strong analytical skills are required“.

If you like solving problems and don’t mind to resolve complicated tasks, there are a list of suitable jobs for you. If you are serious about analytical and logical thinking, it is a good idea to follow high IQ societies and organizations such as

If you are serious about analytical and logical thinking, it is a good idea to follow high IQ societies and organizations such as Mensa.

So, you are a person who has developed analytical skills. What careers might be good for you? Here are some suggestions.

Examples :

  • Business Analyst;
  • Data Analyst;
  • Data Architect;
  • Data Scientist;
  • Building Engineer;
  • Marketing Analyst;
  • Project Manager;
  • Accountant;
  • Financial Analyst;
  • Business Developer;
  • IT Developer;
  • Programmer;
  • Detective;
  • Statistician;
  • Mathematician;
  • Lawyer;
  • Doctor;
  • Scientist

So, we can summarize the business fields: Enjeenering, Project Management, Computers (Information Technology), Accounting and Finance, Science, Law, and Medicine.

All professions of the future!

Download Analytical Skills Infographic in PDF for Free.

The next infographic summarizes the main points:

Analytical skills list infographic

 

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About the Author Marin Valchev

Marin Valchev, PMP is an IT Project Manager with more than 10 years of experience. He implements cutting-edge technology in a wide-range of Financial and TELCO companies in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Marin shares his knowledge of software, analysis, project management and other business areas.

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