Problem-solving Skills: Examples & How to Improve the Skill

Problem-solving Skills: Examples & How to Improve the Skill
JobStreet content teamupdated on 18 October, 2023

Karl Popper, a renowned 20th-century philosopher, once said “All life is problem-solving.” This idea highlights the role problem-solving skills play in our daily lives.

Problem-solving serves as the backbone of success in both personal and professional realms. In your personal life, it helps you navigate relationships, finances, and life decisions. While in your professional life, it enables you to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the workplace. Employers value problem solvers, as they bring innovation and efficiency to the table.

This article explores what solving problems means and lists the essential types. Ranging from analytical thinking to communication, it offers practical strategies for improvement. You'll also find insights on highlighting the skills on your resume.

What are Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving allows you to identify problems and find solutions to solve problems. This process begins with analysing complex situations. You then assess different options and make informed decisions to address the issues.

The 'Future of Jobs' report emphasises their growing significance in today's workplace. Thus highlighting the increasing complexity of tasks that demand advanced thinking skills.

Examples of Problem-solving Skills

Problem-solving encompasses a range of competencies and soft skills. Let's look at the examples:

Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking involves breaking down complex problems into smaller tasks. It involves examining data and making logical conclusions. Analytical skills are highly regarded as a core skill in 2023 by many employers.

In a workplace setting, this skill proves important when assessing financial data. It helps identify cost-saving opportunities and optimise budget allocations.

This skill plays a crucial role when evaluating customer feedback. It assists in gaining relevant information to enhance products and services. This ultimately boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Critical Thinking

This skill enables you to analyse information and make judgments based on evidence. It plays a pivotal role in problem-solving and helps solve complex issues systematically.

In professional settings, this skill set is valuable when assessing market trends. It aids in studying data and patterns to use the insights for smart business decisions.

The skill also helps when evaluating project proposals. It enables thorough assessment, helping teams make informed decisions and choose the most promising ventures.


Decision-making is picking the best option to solve problems effectively. It requires you to choose the most viable solution among your identified alternatives.

In a professional role, such as a project manager, you might assess many software solutions. This skill is key when choosing what best suits your team's needs and budget.

The skill set is valuable when choosing between various marketing strategies. You assess the available options, weigh their impact on sales, and make informed decisions to drive successful campaigns.

Research Skills

Research skills involve gathering information and using it to make crucial decisions. These skills are vital in solving problems, offering the foundation for informed decisions. It also helps in root cause identification, solutions exploration, and evidence-based choices.

At work, research skills come into play when tailoring product development strategies. Besides, these skills are essential when guiding effective marketing campaigns through trend analysis.

These skills are also vital when conducting market research. You gather and analyze data on industry trends, and competitor strategies to make product development decisions.


Creativity plays a crucial role in problem-solving. In fact, it ranks second in importance as a cognitive skill in the workplace. One of the key problem-solving skills, it is the ability to generate innovative ideas or solutions. Tapping into your creative abilities, you can foster innovation.

In a professional environment, it is instrumental in devising creative marketing campaigns. Engineers too improve product designs for better efficiency through innovation.

It also helps when designing innovative product features to meet customer needs while maintaining a competitive edge. It involves brainstorming and coming up with possible solutions in a timely manner to set your products apart.


Collaboration is the ability to work with others to solve problems. It involves effective communication and cooperation to come up with the best solution.

In professional settings, collaboration streamlines project workflows through team cooperation. Additionally, it fosters innovation by promoting new product development.

Additionally in problem-solving scenarios, effective collaboration brings together cross-functional teams. You collaborate to brainstorm possible solutions for complex challenges.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is the ability to resolve conflicts and disagreements. The skill helps maintain productive relationships and prevents issues from escalating.

In a workplace, this is seen when you come together with others to resolve differing opinions. This enables you to move forward with the project at hand.

Possessing conflict resolution skills can be invaluable when addressing disagreements during project meetings. This ensures that team members stay focused on their common goals and maintain a harmonious working environment.

Risk Management

It is the ability to identify potential risks and take proper steps to mitigate them. Risk management and problem-solving are intertwined. The skill involves addressing potential issues and challenges. It minimizes problem occurrence and involves proactive contingency planning for future issues.

At work, risk management is when you recognise likely risks to a project's timeline or budget. You then execute measures to mitigate these risks, for successful project completion.

As a business analyst, you might apply risk management when identifying potential supply chain disruptions. The skill comes in handy when implementing a solution to minimize their impact on production schedules and costs.


This skill is the cornerstone of effective human interaction and cooperation. Good communication helps in effective problem-solving. It facilitates information exchange, collaboration, and conflict resolution.

Practising clear communication with your team members ensures everyone is on the same page. It not only reduces misunderstandings but also contributes to efficient project execution.

Effective communication is also vital during client interactions. It aids in conveying ideas, finding better solutions, and building trust-based relationships. This leads to successful collaborations and long-term partnerships.

How to Improve Your Problem-solving Skills

Team working on a problem

Adopt the Problem-solving Mindset

A problem-solving attitude involves being positive and open to new ideas. It is about seeking ways to improve the situation instead of dwelling on what's not working. Furthermore, as Adam Stott writes in his article, with a positive attitude, finding the right answers gets easier.

Understand the Problem

Start by defining the problem clearly. This paves the way for understanding and identifying the causes, leading to effective solutions. Strategies for problem analysis include data collection, brainstorming and SWOT analysis among others.

Develop Critical Thinking and Creativity

Improving both these skills will help you get the best answers. Read up on the latest industry trends and draw inspiration from outside sources. Unlock your creative thinking through activities like writing, sketching, or playing games.

Enhance Research and Decision-Making Skills

Research and effective decision-making are pivotal in problem-solving. Research provides the foundation for informed choices. While sound decision-making ensures the implementation of the best solutions. Enhance these skills through systematic research methodologies, data analysis, and problem-solving strategies.

Strengthen Collaboration Skills

Collaborating with others can help you come up with useful solutions. To boost these, develop effective communication, active listening, and openness to diverse viewpoints.

Learn from Past Experiences

Reflecting on past problems is essential for gaining valuable insights and refining strategies. It allows you to avoid repeating mistakes made in previous roles. Some strategies involve acknowledging, taking responsibility, analyzing their underlying causes, and seeking feedback.

Leverage Problem-solving Tools and Resources

Some tools that can help in problem-solving include data analysis software and decision support frameworks. Brainstorming techniques, project management software, and collaboration platforms help too. For the tools to be effective - choose the right ones. Then master their functions and seamlessly integrate them into your problem-solving process.

Regular Practise

Consistent practice enhances your skills, builds confidence, and reinforces effective strategies. This makes you more adept at tackling a wide range of challenges. Include practical problem-solving exercises into daily routines for practice. These include Sudoku puzzles, brain teasers, and scenario-based simulations.

How to Highlight Problem-solving Skills on Your Resume

Handshake in an interview

Incorporating Problem-solving Skills in the Resume Summary

A resume summary serves as a brief overview of your qualifications, experience, and skills. It helps hiring managers see your potential as a candidate at a glance. You should also mention the skills during the job interview. Here, we've included statements to spotlight your problem-solving abilities:

  • Proficient problem solver and known for navigating challenges with ease
  • Possess good problem-solving skills for addressing issues and enhancing processes

Highlighting Problem-solving Skills in the Experience Section

Showcase that you can solve any problem successfully in this section. Emphasise the areas you applied this important skill. Mention how you addressed challenges or improved processes.

Here are examples of action verbs and relevant keywords you can use to showcase these skills:

  • Analysed: I analysed market trends to develop innovative marketing strategies.

  • Resolved: Resolved project setbacks by implementing creative solutions.

  • Adapted: Adapted to changing industry regulations, ensuring compliance.

  • Streamlined: Streamlined workflow processes, reducing production costs by 15%.

  • Devised: Devised viable solutions for inventory management, optimizing stock levels.

Including Problem-solving Skills in the Skills Section

Oftentimes the skills employers look for are included in the job description. Tailor your resume to the job description and showcase your ability to solve problems in the skills section. Group them under a 'Skills' or 'Core Competencies' subheading. Organise related skills together to establish a well-structured and coherent presentation. Here are examples of some skills you can include in the skills section:

  • SWOT Analysis: Proficient in evaluating an organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

  • Systems Thinking: Have an understanding of complex systems and their interconnectedness.

  • Negotiation Skills: Skilled in facilitating agreements and resolving conflicts among parties.

  • Analytical Skills: Proficient at assessing complex situations and identifying key issues.

  • Making descisions: Adept at evaluating information to make informed decisions.

Demonstrating Problem-solving Skills in Project Sections or Case Studies

It is a good practice to dedicate a resume section to projects or case studies. It lets you show how you solve problems in practical situations. And provides concrete proof of your abilities to the hiring manager. It makes your skills more tangible to potential employers.

For example, showcase how you streamlined project timelines with innovative solutions. Or highlight how your strategic choices mitigated potential risks. These examples emphasise you are a practical problem solver.

Using Problem-solving Skills in Cover Letters

In a cover letter, emphasising your problem-solving ability communicates your value to employers. It demonstrates your preparedness to tackle challenges and aligns with their expectations.

Highlighting these skills in the cover letter underscores your adaptability. It signals your potential to drive innovative solutions within an organisation. For a seamless integration, include specific problem-solving examples from your experience.

The cover letter should effectively display how you solve problems or enhance processes. Craft your narrative by weaving in instances that highlight your problem-solving abilities. Make sure these examples align with the job role and the company's requirements.


This article explores the role problem-solving plays in both personal and professional lives. From analytical thinking to effective communication, we've delved into essential skills.

We've provided guidance on showcasing these skills in your resume and cover letter. This should help you enhance your prospects in today's dynamic job market.

Seek opportunities to practice these skills. Do it either by tackling challenging projects or learning from your experiences. Throughout your professional journey, feature these critical skills on your resume. This will enhance your career prospects.

Ready to incorporate problem-solving techniques into your life and career for skill enhancement? Update your JobStreet profile today and #SEEKBetter jobs on JobStreet. For more career advice, browse the Career Advice page. Download the Jobstreet app on Google Play or App Store.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What are some common problem-solving techniques?
    Common techniques for solving problems include staying positive, clear problem definition, and brainstorming. It's also important to develop analytical thinking, creativity, research, and communication skills. Reflecting on past experiences, using problem-solving tools, and practicing solving puzzles, also helps.
  2. How can I improve my critical thinking skills?
    ⁠Improving this vital skill involves questioning assumptions, considering different viewpoints, and evaluating evidence. You can enhance it through active listening and reading more. Engaging in puzzles, riddles, and problem-solving activities also helps sharpen the skill.
  3. What are some common obstacles to problem-solving?
    ⁠Some common obstacles to problem-solving include:
    • Not Enough Resources: Sometimes, you might not have all the information, tools, or help you need.
    • Thinking Bias: Your own opinions or beliefs can make it hard to see a problem clearly and find a good solution.
    • Running Out of Time: When you're in a hurry, you might not have the chance to think carefully. This can affect the quality of problem-solving outcomes
  4. How can I overcome resistance to change when implementing a solution?
    ⁠To overcome resistance to change, use effective communication. Address concerns, explain your decisions, and involve others in planning and implementation. Building trust, providing support, and demonstrating positive outcomes can help reduce resistance.
  5. How can problem-solving skills benefit my career?
    ⁠Problem-solving is valuable, showcasing your ability to overcome challenges. These skills enhance efficiency, foster innovative thinking, and improve issue resolution. Possessing this skill can open doors to leadership roles. Effective problem solvers advance in their careers faster.

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