How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills (and Show Them Off in Your Job Search!)

How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills (and Show Them Off in Your Job Search!)

Being able to think quickly and creatively to find solutions to tricky situations at work is a vital skill to have! But how do you improve your problem-solving skills at work, and how do you highlight those abilities on your resume? 

Here are a few ideas to help you get started. 

1. Be a great communicator.

Raise your hand if there’s ever been an email outage at work. It’s something we’ve all dealt with, usually at the worst possible time. How did you navigate that? If you’ve set up a phone tree at work (or at home) to relay information quickly and accurately to handle a situation, call it out — no pun intended. Having to change modes of communication quickly to avoid losing precious time on a project shows the ability to be fast on your feet and an effective problem solver. After a year of Zoom calls and video conferences, we’ve all had to make fast decisions to keep the meeting moving. 

2. Project management is a board game you can win.

Each project in an office is made up of dozens, if not hundreds, of little steps, all of which have to be achieved before the work can continue forward. But sometimes a piece is missing, or something doesn’t quite fit the way it’s supposed to. Creative thinkers can look at what’s happening, see both the small details and the bigger picture, and find a way to make it all work. When you’re preparing for job interviews, have a few examples prepared for how you’ve seen a project through to completion. 

3. Collaborate and listen.

A natural leader will understand that emotions can run high during stressful times. Have you ever encouraged people to stay calm, organized a conversation when a deadline was looming, and made everyone feel heard while working together to find a solution? This kind of teamwork is hard to master, but it benefits everyone. Be prepared to offer an anecdote of a time when you brought people together for a common goal. 

4. Reading the room.

Sometimes problems are bubbling under the surface and go unnoticed until it’s too late. Other times, the numbers are there to indicate a problem, but no one sees it until red lights are going off. Observant people who can either read people’s emotions well or analyze data to find negative trends as they start are critically important to office environments. Frustrated workers who feel invisible can either leave, putting the team at a disadvantage, or spread their dissatisfaction to other colleagues unless they are addressed, and their concerns heard. Being able to see downward trends as they happen can help identify a problem and correct it before things go sideways. Both of these are skills that can be learned through observation and asking questions. 

5. Evaluate your work.

When all is said and done, did your decisions help bring things to a satisfactory conclusion? Could things have been done better? Were missteps made? Being able to honestly reflect on something and identify the pros and cons of the actions taken is a clear-headed way to evaluate and learn. Nothing is perfect, and there are always better options, but sometimes those can’t be seen at the moment. A good leader and a strong decision-maker will find a way to learn from every situation. 

Problem-solving skills really boil down to how well you can look at both the issue in front of you and the overall situation and find a way to make it all work out. When you’re in an interview, be prepared to talk about the lessons you’ve learned along the way, the successes, and the things you wish you’d done differently. Honest answers will ring true and can help you stand out from the crowd. 

Ready for a new opportunity?

If you’re ready to find a new opportunity, call LeadingEdge Personnel. We partner with great companies looking for candidates just like you, with your skills and quick-thinking abilities. Give LeadingEdge a call today, and let’s get started! 

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