Analytical Skills Definition, List, and Examples

Analytical Skills and Keywords for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

What are analytical skills, and why are they important in the workplace? 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.

Here's information on why employers seek employees with these analytical skills, as well as an associated list of which employers look for in resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews.

Read on to find out the five most important analytical skills, as well as sub-lists of more additional skills sought by employers. You can also use these skills as keywords to include in your job application.

Illustration by Catherine Song. © The Balance, 2018

Why Employers Value Analytical Skills

Employers look for employees with the ability to investigate a problem and find a solution in a timely, efficient manner.

To solve problems, employees need strong 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.

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

These essential 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.

How to Use Skills Lists

You can use these skills lists throughout your job search process. First, you can use these skill words in your resume. In the description of your work history, you might want to use some of these keywords.

Secondly, you can use these 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.

Finally, you can use these skill words in an interview. Make sure you have at least one example for a time you demonstrated each of the top 5 skills listed here.

Of course, each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully and focus on the skills listed by the employer.

Top Five Analytical Skills

1. Communication

Having strong analytical skills means nothing if you cannot share your analysis with others. You need to be an effective communicator who 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, you need to have both strong written and oral communication skills.

  • Enhancing group productivity
  • Interpersonal
  • Listening
  • Reporting
  • Streamlining processes
  • Surveying
  • Teamwork
  • Verbal Communication
  • Written Communication

2. 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 often must think outside of the box to come up with effective solutions to big problems.

  • Budgeting
  • Collaborating
  • Improving
  • MATLAB
  • Optimization
  • Planning
  • Predictive modeling
  • Problem-solving
  • Restructuring 
  • Scatter plots
  • Strategic planning
  • Synthesizing

3. 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.

  • Auditing
  • Benchmarking
  • Big data
  • Business intelligence
  • Calculating
  • Case analysis
  • CATWOE
  • Causal relationships
  • Classifying
  • Comparing
  • Computing
  • Correlation
  • Counting
  • Decision making
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Diagnosis
  • Dissecting
  • Evaluating
  • Financial management
  • Financial recording
  • Identifying cost savings
  • Inferential statistics
  • Interpreting
  • Judgment
  • Logical thinking
  • Prioritization
  • Reasoning
  • Risk assessment
  • Troubleshooting

4. Data Analysis
No matter what your career field, being good at analysis means being able to examine a large volume of data and find trends in that data. You have to go beyond just reading and understanding information, to making sense of it, and seeing patterns.

  • Business analysis
  • Case analysis
  • Cost analysis
  • Credit analysis
  • Critical analysis
  • Descriptive analysis
  • Financial analysis
  • Fourier analysis
  • Fundamental analysis
  • Heptalysis
  • Industry analysis
  • Loglinear analysis
  • MOST analysis
  • Multiway data analysis
  • Pacing analysis
  • PESTLE analysis
  • Policy analysis
  • Predictive analytics 
  • Prescriptive analytics
  • Principal component analysis
  • Bivariate analysis
  • Price-earnings ratio
  • Price-earnings to growth
  • SAS 
  • Process analysis
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Return on investment (ROI)
  • Rhetorical analysis
  • Scenario analysis
  • SCRS analysis
  • Sentimental analysis
  • Social analysis
  • SPSS
  • Statistical analysis
  • Structured data analysis
  • SWOT analysis
  • Technical analysis
  • Univariate analysis
  • Cohort analysis
  • Comparative analysis

5. Research
Often, an employee has to first collect data or information before analyzing it. After all, you must learn more about a problem before solving it. Therefore, an important analytical skill is being able to collect data and research a topic.

  • Investigating
  • Metrics
  • Data mining
  • Data collection
  • Prioritizing
  • Recording facts
  • Taking inventory
  • Checking for accuracy

Analytical Keywords

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 words that the employer is looking for, you are more likely to make it through to the next round of the hiring process.