Analytical Skills Definition, List, and Examples

Employers look for employees with the ability to investigate a problem and find the ideal solution in a timely, efficient manner. The skills required to solve problems are known as analytical skills.

Hiring managers desire a person who uses clear, logical steps and excellent judgment to understand an issue from all angles before executing an action.

Solutions can be reached by clear-cut, methodical approaches or more creative and lateral angles, depending on the objective. Both ways of solving a problem require analytical skills.

What Are Analytical Skills?

Analytical skills refer to the ability to collect and analyze information, problem-solve, and make decisions. These strengths can help solve a company’s problems and improve upon its overall productivity and success.

Analytical skills might sound technical, but we use these skills in everyday work. You use analytical skills when detecting patterns, brainstorming, observing, interpreting data, integrating new information, theorizing, and making decisions based on multiple factors and options available.

Types of Analytical Skills

Illustration by Catherine Song. © The Balance, 2018

These analytical skills are essential for many different types of jobs in a variety of fields, including business analytics, data architecture, data science, marketing, project management, accounting, business development, programming, law, medicine, and science.

Communication

Having strong analytical skills means nothing if you cannot share your analysis with others. You need to be an effective communicator that can explain the patterns you see in the data. Sometimes you will have to explain information orally in a meeting or presentation. Other times, you will have to write a report. Thus, your communication skills cannot be limited to either oral or written communication.

Creativity

Often, analyzing requires a creative eye to spot trends in the data that others may not find. Creativity is also important when it comes to problem-solving. Employees with strong analytical skills will think outside of the box to come up with effective solutions to big problems.

  • Budgeting
  • Brainstorming
  • Collaboration
  • Optimization
  • Predictive Modeling
  • Problem-solving
  • Restructuring 
  • Strategic Planning
  • Integration

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is necessary for having strong analytical skills. Critical thinking refers to evaluating information and then making a decision based on your findings. Critical thinking is what helps an employee make decisions that help solve problems for the company.

  • Process Management
  • Ongoing Improvement
  • Auditing
  • Benchmarking
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Business Intelligence
  • Calculating
  • Case Analysis
  • Causal Relationships
  • Classifying
  • Comparative Analysis
  • Computing
  • Correlation
  • Decision-making
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Inductive Reasoning
  • Diagnostics
  • Dissecting
  • Evaluating
  • Record-keeping
  • Data Interpretation
  • Judgment
  • Prioritization
  • Troubleshooting
  • Attention to Detail

Data Analysis

No matter what your career field, being good at analysis means being able to examine a large volume of data and identify trends in that data. You have to go beyond just reading and understanding information to making sense of it by highlighting patterns for top decision-makers.

  • Business Analysis
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Cost Analysis
  • Credit Analysis
  • Critical Analysis
  • Descriptive Analysis
  • Financial Analysis
  • Industry Research
  • Policy Analysis
  • Predictive Analytics 
  • Prescriptive Analytics
  • Price-earnings to Growth
  • Process Analysis
  • Qualitative Analysis
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Rhetorical Analysis
  • Scenario Analysis

Research

You must learn more about a problem before solving it. You will have to first collect data or information before analyzing it. Therefore, an important analytical skill is being able to collect data and research a topic.

  • Investigation
  • Metrics
  • Data collection
  • Prioritization
  • Data Entry
  • Taking Inventory
  • Checking for Accuracy

More Analytical Skills

  • Project Management
  • Leadership
  • Industry-Specific Factors
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Data Mining
  • Scientific Method
  • Time Management
  • Numeracy Skills
  • Risk Management
  • CATWOE
  • Identifying Cost Savings
  • MATLAB
  • Scatter Plots
  • Financial Management
  • Inferential Statistics
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Fundamental Analysis
  • Heptalysis
  • Loglinear Analysis
  • MOST Analysis
  • Multiway Data Analysis
  • Pacing Analysis
  • PESTLE Analysis
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Bivariate Analysis
  • Price-earnings Ratio
  • SAS 
  • SCRS Analysis
  • Sentimental Analysis
  • Social Analysis
  • SPSS
  • Structured Data Analysis
  • Technical Analysis
  • Univariate Analysis
  • Cohort Analysis
  • Demographics

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Add Relevant Skills to Your Resume: Keywords are an essential component of a job application as hiring managers use the words and phrases of a resume and cover letter to screen job applicants (often through recruitment management software). By including skills that the employer is looking for, you are more likely to make it through to the next round of the hiring process.

Highlight Skills in Your Cover Letter: In the body of your letter, you can mention one or two of these skills, and give a specific example of a time when you demonstrated those skills at work.

Use Skill Words in Your Job Interview: Ideally, you have at least one example for a time you demonstrated the skills most closely related to the job.