Often we come across the term ‘analytical skills’ on job advertisements. Regardless of whether you’re applying as an office assistant, clerk, middle management executive or even at senior level, the employer asks for ‘excellent analytical skills.’
Therefore, you might wonder, what are ‘analytical skills’ and how to acquire or improve them?
Through this article, I’ll guide you about what are analytical skills and how to improve analytical skills. And if you don’t have them, I’ll be providing a few tips about how to acquire analytical skills.
What Are Analytical Skills?
Recall your days as a school student. You might remember one or more classmates that were excellent at solving mathematical problems, riddles, puzzles, and complex questions. Maybe you were one such student too.
These students, including you, could solve math problems, riddles, and puzzles due to a high level of analytical skills.
Answering complex questions requires a keen sense of learning, understanding what’s written or said and storing the information for future use. That’s also due to these skills.
Actually, analytical skills are innate or inborn. That’s the reason some people are quick to solve problems, acquire knowledge and utilize that when necessary.
Importance of Analytical Skills
Analytical skills are important in every sphere of life. Indeed, these skills form one of the basis of human survival over the eons. They’re useful for every action of our life.
Problem Solving Analytical Skills: Acquiring knowledge and utilizing it in real-life situations as well as solving problems are important analytical skills. They’re useful to score high marks at any exam, create something new that’s useful for the community and resolve issues at home, society, and work.
Earning & Managing Money: Furthermore, analytical skills are also vital to handle money. A woman or man with superb analytical skills generally knows how to utilize their money to get the maximum benefit. And they’re aware of where to invest the money to make it grow.
Crises and Emergency: Analytical skills can save lives during accidents and emergencies. Hence, medical practitioners also require excellent analytical skills. So do Emergency Medical Service (EMS) crew, fire brigade and rescue personnel, police and armed forces troops?
Analytical Skills in Daily Activities: The simple act of driving or riding a bicycle requires these skills because you’ll have to protect yourself against rash drivers and keep an eye on pedestrians.
Cooking, shopping, and even bathing require some level of analytical skills. That’s because you’ll have to analyze the right blend of ingredients to cook something palatable or gauge water temperature before wetting your body.
Analytical Skills Are Necessary
As you can see, these skills are useful everywhere. They are inborn in every child.
There’re no empirical researches to clearly indicate that some people are born with higher-level or analytical skills than others.
However, how we utilize them during growing years makes a lot of difference as we grow. Therefore, developing these skills is extremely important at an early age.
If you’re a parent, encourage your child to develop analytical skills by giving them puzzles and riddles to solve. And if you’re a jobseeker or adult that wishes to improve analytical skills, read my tips.
How to Develop Analytical Skills?
Coming back to career and analytical skills, there’re some traits that employers look for while hiring someone. Therefore, Human Resources managers look for eight different types of analytical skills from a jobseeker.
Troubleshooting or problem-solving skills are useful everywhere. Employers require them for various purposes such as customer care and resolving disputes, among other functions.
If you’ve ever solved a problem at home, you have troubleshooting skills. Therefore, you can improve these skills by learning more about customer service and issues that clients could face.
You can also improve troubleshooting skills by solving free crosswords that appear on newspapers and magazines, puzzles and taking quiz contests online. They are an excellent pastime and teach you how to overcome an issue at home or work.
Mathematical skills are perhaps the most important type of analytical skills. Because they involve handing personal finances as well as your employer’s money. Generally, financial accounting and auditing jobs require a very high level of mathematical skills.
Engineers also require superb mathematical skills. You can improve analytical skills by solving complex math problems including Sudoku and others.
Additionally, there’re several websites where you can match your math skills with players from other countries in various math problem-solving games and contests.
Research & Development Skills
As the term implies, Research & Development Skills are useful to create something new from existing information or available material.
These can include something like reading and researching articles to write content. Or creating complex engineering designs that use readily available material at the lowest price.
Research and development skills aren’t difficult to learn if you use ingenuity. Research into a topic, take notes and try writing something using available information. You can also use Lego to acquire some level of Research & Development Skills.
Pedagogical skills, in simplest terms, are analytical skills useful for teaching. And they’re not for teachers, lecturers or professors only.
As a team leader or manager, you might have to teach a process or explain a system to juniors and newcomers. Understanding something yourself is one thing.
But explaining it to others in a manner they can comprehend is another. It requires analyzing the mindset of your audience and teaching them in an appropriate manner.
You can acquire Pedagogical Skills by joining a charitable organization that conducts free educational classes for street kids and illiterate adults.
Personally, I rank Communication Skills as the foremost of these skills. Communication itself is an innate skill. However, excellent communication requires equally excellent analytical skills.
They’re useful for journalists delivering news, copywriters creating advertisements, radio and TV show hosts, bloggers, sales staff, public relations executives, restaurant crew and almost every other profession.
Though Communication Skills are inborn, most people flounder and fail because they’re shy to use them due to fear of ridicule.
Communication skills require you to analyze how to get a message across to the other for maximum impact. Hence, the analysis of their mindset is important. You can develop Communication Skills by reading books and joining debate clubs.
Data Analysis Skills
Data Analysis Skills are nothing new to humans- they exist since centuries. In fact, ancient military generals would send spies to gather information or data on enemy troops, analyze their inputs to create defense or attack strategies.
However, in the Internet and ecommerce age, Data Analysis Skills are becoming increasingly important.
Data Analysis Skills are also necessary for meteorologists to forecast weather. Financial data analysists give credit scores to individuals and companies. And investment analysts pore over data to create investment offerings for clients.
Acquiring Data Analysis skills can prove tricky. It would mean reading countless newspapers, books, forecasts, the past and current performance of a website or a company and creating projections or marketing strategies.
Do you marvel at a superb looking dress or a wonderful painting? Or gaze at monuments such as the Taj Mahal and wonder who made their intricate designs? These are creations of people with Creative Skills.
And creativity also needs astute analysis. Hence, Creative Skills are vital for fashion designers, perfumers, brew-masters, advertising visualizers, architects, interior designers, sculptors, painters, feature writers, and even teachers, among others.
Creativity doesn’t mean you can make or do something hoping a lot of people will love your work. Instead, it needs a perfect analysis of how you would express yourself through your work.
It includes analyzing how to create something that most people would love. You can acquire creative skills by doing something as ordinary as cooking for family, painting, photography or playing with Lego to create intricate designs.
Emotional Analysis Skills
Emotional Analysis Skills are the toughest to acquire. Only those rare people that possess Emotional Intelligence will also possess Emotional Analysis Skills.
You might wonder who uses Emotional Analysis Skills. The answer: psychologists, psychotherapists, to some extent psychiatrists, counselors of all types and sometimes advertisement visualizers.
Actually, nobody can acquire Emotional Analysis Skills. They’re inborn or you don’t have them at all. That’s the reason some people are able to gauge the emotions of others and respond accordingly.
However, you can pay close attention to your relatives and friends, gauge their mood and try to resolve disputes, to acquire a minimal level of Emotional Analysis skills. The process can be fairly tough.
Growing Significance of Analytical Skills
Nowadays, having an excellent educational degree and experience isn’t enough. Every industry, every sector is fast becoming intensely competitive. Hence, employers prefer hiring staff that has these skills that match their industry.
Analytical skills enable individuals and organizations to gain an edge over others. Hence, you have to possess these skills in an excellent way. And if you don’t, it’s imperative to develop them. Else, you might miss on promotions and excellent job opportunities.
Employers often ask candidates to undergo psychometric tests before hiring. That’s to judge their skills.
You can do analytical skills test for free from various websites. These tips would help you develop these skills. You can sharpen them by practice.