The ability to evaluate, benchmark, integrate, troubleshoot and deliver solutions at every stage of the business cycle is essential to employers when they are looking at taking on employees from a whole range of functions.
Sure, some jobs demand deeper analytical skills, but there aren’t many roles where there is no requirement for analysis whatsoever. In this guide we will investigate the role of analytical skills in your resume and how they can secure your next job. We consider:
- What are analytical skills?
- 5 types of analytical skills
- 25 analytical skills with resume examples
- How do you list analytical skills on a resume?
Have a think about which sorts of analyses you undertake in your career. What will be the demands of the roles that you are applying for? How can you use your resume to demonstrate to future employers that you are an analytical wizard?
How do you know that your analytical skills make a difference?
There is only one way of knowing - you need to follow through and understand the ultimate impact of your decisions on the bottom line of the business. Telling your interviewer that you are analytical without telling them the outcome of your analysis will not impress them.
What are analytical skills?
There are a myriad of analytical skills, and they all come to the forefront during a journey of change. You collect data, analyse problems and eventually choose the right path. Here are just a few examples that fall under the umbrella of analytical skills:
- Listening actively to a colleague as they talk you through a problem.
- Brainstorming ideas and benchmarking them against your competition.
- Modelling and predicting potential outcomes and financial impacts.
- Undertaking qualitative, quantitative and cost analyses.
- Presenting and reporting the results of analysis to a broad audience.
It is not enough to be good at simply finding data. You need to be able to give that data a context and explain it to others who may not have such a good understanding. That is the essence of being a great analyst.
What makes good analytical skills?
What makes someone analytical? There are certain types of people who take to analysis like a duck to water, but analytical skills can be learned and developed by anyone. Analytical people have a calm demeanour and a patient determination to get to the bottom of an issue before they move on to find a solution. Feedback is a critical aspect of analysis, so good communication skills are important alongside a solid overall understanding of their business and industry sector.
5 Types of analytical skills
Analytical skills are useless if you do not do something with them. These skills are critical throughout any change process and different types of skills are required at each stage of the journey. Your analytical skills can only truly bring a business benefit if you can master each type (or, failing that, have people around you who can).
This never-ending circle of analysis, action and assessment is present in almost every industry and job function. Whenever you want to achieve something amazing, careful analysis will be at the heart of a great outcome.
There are five broad families of analytical skills:
- Understand the issue
- Explore the options
- Find solutions
- Deep dive analysis
- Communicate outcomes
In the next section we will break them down into some more specific skills and you will see how they are interconnected.
How are analytical skills tested in a job search?
Employers won’t simply take you at your word. Assessment centres, situational tests and fiendish interview questions are all designed to probe your analytical ability. Make sure that you mention the five parts of the analytical journey listed above and always end on a positive outcome.
5 Analytical skills with examples for your resume
Each family of analytical skills can be broken down further into the individual skills themselves. You will not have space on your resume to include every skill, but if you manage to include a skill from each of the different parts of the analytical process, that will give your future employer a well-rounded view of your analytical prowess. Often data analysis, data scientists, doctors and behavioral therapists have all of these in-depth analytical abilities.
Here are some more detailed skills with examples of what you might include in your resume:
1. Understand the issue
Before anyone acts for their business, they must understand the nature of the challenge that they are facing. These initial analytical skills are the Sherlock Holmes type abilities of piecing together an incomplete situation to form a better picture.
- Active listening
- Data collection
- Creating metrics
You might be performing an audit of an underperforming department, collecting data from a customer survey or setting up some metrics to measure aspects of the business. When you understand the playing field, you can move on to looking at your options.
“Carried out a supplier audit to understand the dip in performance, which led to creating a new set of operational metrics and a 10% improvement in availability”
2. Explore the options
This is where the analyst needs to be able to discern the wood from the trees. Once they understand the issue, a thousand and one possible avenues open up towards a solution. But which one should they take? Exploring the options is a critical step in any analysis.
- Big data
Judgement and experience play a significant role as the rivers of big data flow into view. Benchmarking with competitors and brainstorming with colleagues from all around the business will help to narrow down potential routes to a solution.
“Having received the results of our market research, we brainstormed the possibilities for our new product and ran consumer tests on potential options. The final product was selected having polled the opinions of 75+ staff and suppliers.”
3. Find Solutions
There comes a point in the analysis that requires the analyst to leave their theoretical models behind and step into the real world. They are employed to find the best solutions and come up with a workable plan to make them happen.
- Predictive modelling
- Decision making
Having communicated their analysis to others, they now need to sit down, collaborate and make some decisions. Troubleshooting the potential risks and modelling their predictions will help to find the optimal result. They will work out their priorities along the way.
“Having collated the critical path, we worked to troubleshoot every step of the process and understood where collaboration was required. We used predictive modelling to measure the impact of our decisions, which led to a 24% sales uplift.”
4. Deep Dive Analysis
It never hurts to step back and do a few final checks before you press the button on a change project. This is where financial literacy and business acumen come in. Diving deep to understand all the potential ramifications of decisions is an important last step.
- Cost analysis
- SWOT analysis
- Predictive analysis
- Quantitative analysis
- Qualitative analysis
SWOT analysis is the classic method of working out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your project. It is something that usually happens earlier in a project, but along with the other analytical methods it can also be used as a sense check.
“Conducted a SWOT analysis around the project scope and decided to pivot on how we bring the product to market ahead of our competition. Earlier sales ensured a 35% increase in market share.”
5. Communicate outcomes
You might have a great idea that is based on cutting edge analysis, but unless you can get the buy-in of others who don’t understand matters quite so well, you may not get the investment or operational support that you need to make it happen. Communicate. Now.
- Oral feedback
- Written feedback
This is where some deeply analytical people struggle and might choose to get others in their team to do the communication part. Great analysts are proficient communicators. When you are confident in your findings, presenting and reporting them shouldn’t be an issue.
“Presented our findings to an audience of 30 senior leaders, reporting on the impacts of the deal and winning approval for the $3.5m investment required.”
Interview questions about analytical skills for you to think about:
- If you had to choose between these options, how would you decide?
- Describe a situation when you took a risk to achieve a goal.
- How do you weigh the pros and cons before you make a decision?
- Which metrics do you use in your job and how do you know they are accurate?
- Describe a time when you found a more efficient way to do something.
- Is developing a detailed procedure always the best way to get things done?
- Tell me about a project when your analytical skills ensured success.
How to highlight analytical skills on your resume
Some might consider that it is enough to list the keywords of analytical skills on a resume and that will then prompt an interview question where they can expand. This is only half the job. Of course, it is important to state where your proficiencies lie, but without expanding on the achievements the hiring manager will not know whether your skills are effective.
For highly analytical roles, your summary should be packed with analytical wizardry in addition to the employment history sections. For other more normal roles, the achievements section would be where to list them, ideally with as much context as possible and a quantifiable benefit for the business.
The laziest (and least effective) job seekers will simply list them in their special skills section. Don’t do that. The skills section is much better suited to more subtle areas of expertise. You might want to put something specific such as predictive analysis in the skills section, but without the outcome of your skill it is simply an empty phrase. Embed your skills in your stories.
How do you improve your analytical skills?
- Play brain games, do crosswords and read more.
- Learn something new and try to be more observant.
- Practice your mathematical skills – maybe learn to code.
- Ask questions and always look at life from a different perspective.
- Business analysis is a complicated machine with many moving parts. It is not enough to list keywords or leave out the details of your project.
- Great analysis is only great if it leads to a fantastic result. You cannot afford to leave that out in your resume.
- Which analytical skills have you mastered and what have they done for your previous employers? Make sure that you only talk about those skills that will be useful for your future role and don’t omit the fact that you are still learning.