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How to List Problem Solving Skills on a Resume | Best Skills and Examples

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Problem-solving skills are a combination of soft skills that enable you to address and resolve difficult situations. These skills are useful in the workplace to resolve problems that may arise in assigned projects as well as interpersonal conflict. Developing effective problem-solving skills can increase your value to employers. These tips will help you understand problem-solving skills, how you can develop them and how to list them on your resume.

What are problem-solving skills?

Problem-solving skills are a combination of soft skills necessary to identify and resolve problems. These skills empower you to test and implement solutions to various problems in the workplace. Problem-solving skills include several soft skills such as research, reasoning, analysis and decision making.

Examples of problem-solving skills

Learning and developing problem-solving skills can improve your value in the workplace both as an employee and as a credible teammate. 

Here are some examples of problem-solving skills:

Research

Research skills are the ability to gather information about a problem. This may include meeting with coworkers to understand the symptoms of a problem or consulting with more experienced colleagues. Good research skills also include the ability to identify, read and comprehend material about the source of the problem such as user manuals and online help articles.

Analysis

Analysis is the ability to methodically examine the problem from all angles. This may include recreating the problem to understand the steps that caused it, and reviewing data or error logs that may provide additional details about the problem. The ability to analyze the problem helps you gain a thorough understanding of the symptoms, cause and impact to better identify a solution.

Reasoning

Reasoning is the ability to use information you’ve gathered through research, analysis and experience to identify steps and draw conclusions. It includes deductive reasoning, which is working backwards from a known conclusion to identify what happened, and inductive reasoning, which is applying evidence you’ve gathered to draw conclusions about possible solutions. 

Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting is the ability to methodically identify the source of a problem and test possible solutions. After researching, analyzing and reasoning through a problem, you may have generated ideas about possible causes and solutions. Troubleshooting allows you to isolate various conditions of the problem to test and confirm or reject these ideas.

Decision making

Decision making is the ability to commit to one of several conclusions. Decision making is necessary in problem solving because it requires that you commit to implementing the solution you identified. Thorough research, analysis and troubleshooting may make decision making easier by revealing clear resolutions. When a problem has several viable solutions, strong decision-making skills are necessary to choose and implement the best solution.

How to improve problem-solving skills

Improving problem-solving skills requires patience and practice. To improve these skills, start by developing the ability to recognize and admit when a problem exists. 

Here are some specific steps to consider when working to improve problem-solving skills:

1. First, learn to recognize and admit when a problem exists

The first step to developing your problem-solving skills is learning to recognize and admit when a problem exists. Although it may be tempting to ignore or deny problems, most problems require active work to reach resolution. When you recognize a problem, practice accepting it, bringing attention to it and working to resolve it.

2. Then, practice evaluating problems

Once you can recognize and admit that a problem exists, evaluate the problem from every angle and learn everything you can about it. Read online help articles, talk to other people who have experienced the problem and collect as much information as possible. Learning about a problem leads to analyzing and reasoning through the problem. As you learn about the problem you will naturally start brainstorming potential causes and solutions.

3. Next, learn to isolate the variables

Learning to isolate different variables of a problem will help you build troubleshooting skills to identify what caused a problem and test possible solutions. You will want to consider all the components of a problem and test each one individually to determine which is the source of the problem. When testing possible solutions, you will want to test and check one variable at a time to know exactly which one resolves the problem. 

4. Last, practice problem-solving

There are several ways to practice problem solving before you’re faced with a real-life problem. Puzzles and practice scenarios are a great way to test and hone your problem-solving skills. You can also attend workshops or seminars designed to improve problem-solving skills. These provide the opportunity to practice problem-solving skills in a structured environment. Workshops or seminars may include activities and role-play where attendees are presented with a problem and must work together to find a solution.

How to list problem-solving skills on your resume

Listing problem-solving skills on your resume can show that you can effectively identify and resolve problems in the workplace. It is important to list skills you are confident in so you can discuss the details and represent yourself properly.

Here are two ways to include problem-solving skills on your resume:

1. First, you can list problem-solving skills on your resume directly within a ‘Skills’ section

If you have a separate section on your resume for listing relevant skills, include important problem-solving skills in this section. For clarity, consider grouping these skills separately from technical or functional skills.

2.  Second, you can include problem-solving skills on your resume within descriptions of your experience

You can also include problem-solving skills in your ‘Work/Professional Experience’ section. For example, you may include a bullet point about how you were responsible for troubleshooting and resolving problems within prescribed timeframes. As another example, you may include a bullet point about experience working with a team to develop and test solutions.

Most jobs require identifying and resolving various types of problems. Applicants with strong problem-solving skills are curious, investigative and creative. Problem-solving skills are important to successfully complete tasks, work with others and achieve organizational goals.