Are you an employee eyeing the next stage of your career? Are you a candidate looking to land your dream job?
Having critical thinking skills will make you a better candidate.
According to a LinkedIn study, 44% of employers ranked critical thinking as the most commonly missing skill among applicants. This was followed by resilience and digital skills.
But despite hearing so much about critical thinking throughout the years, I realized that many of us still don’t know what it really means. The concept only seemed like something our teachers expected us to pick up in the course of our schooling.
So what, exactly, are critical thinking skills?
Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally and understanding the logic behind ideas. This can help you make better decisions and, generally, understand things better.
Critical thinking especially matters in a world where most people innately think uncritically, doing or saying things based on self-interest, personal biases, or irrational emotions. Each person is vulnerable to this type of thinking; it’s human nature, after all.
Fortunately, there are ways to improve your thought process and boost your critical thinking skills.
Read, read, read
Immersing yourself in literature can help you develop critical thinking skills.
My own experience with literature, I believe, is proof of that. One of my favorite authors, Stephen King, for instance, doesn’t just take me on an entertaining roller coaster ride. His books have helped me delve deeper and really ask complex questions. I think about why the book was written the way it was, how certain elements are symbols of foreshadowing, and what motivates certain characters to do what they do.
Literature also gives you a peek into people’s characters and how events could unfold. Your imagination can take you into a different world from yours, which could help you in dealing with everyday occurrence and improve your problem-solving skills.
Play brain games
Use a website or an app dedicated to training your brain. I use Lumosity, which provides mini-games that aid in improving memory, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. There are order sequence memorization, timed matching games, and more.
Brain games can really challenge your thinking and push you to think outside the box. This helps build your self-confidence. You’d be surprised how much this will help you when your boss or potential employer asks you a hypothetical question that tests your deductive reasoning.
Maintaining a journal allows you to explore ideas. Writing in a notebook lets you expand on your thoughts, and slow down and concentrate on just one idea at a time, which our busy schedules often don’t allow. Use your planner, journal, or notebook to record important questions, ideas, and narratives about your life.
Writing helps a lot in forming a logical thought flow. It also declutters your mind. Putting down your ideas on paper lets you identify what’s important, what needs to develop, and what you can just erase because they’re not relevant.
If you’re a writer by profession, critical thinking is vital in creating brilliant pieces that speak to your audience or present valid arguments and conclusions.
While you feel pressured to work on your technical skills, remember that some employers really value well-rounded and critical employees. And improving your critical thinking skills may just help you win them over.
More importantly, it gives you a wider perspective and better judgment.
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Dyan is a 25-year-old writer with a sense of humor of a prepubescent male. On weekends, she hibernates.