Want to go far in your career? Make sure you have this skill!

By Mel Sim

It will help you make decisions, develop solutions and tackle complex issues.

We’ve heard all about leadership skills, communication skills and why it’s important to be agile… but have you heard of analytical skill, the buzzword these days in many industries?

You’ve probably seen it listed as a requirement in many job descriptions and hear your bosses throw it out a lot during meetings. What exactly is analytical skill?

To put it easily, it is the ability to observe, research and interpret either a situation or subject in order to come up with the best solutions. In summary, knowing how to analyse something correctly. In two words? Problem solving.

In order to do this, you will need have an in-depth understanding of something. But what if you just started? Does that mean your analytical skill is zilch?

Of course not!

Anyone can analyse. What’s important is how you make sure of that analysis. Being able to have the ability to sit down and think more about a situation is a good enough analytical skill already. It basically means you have the initiative to actually want to solve a problem, and many bosses appreciate this as it means you’re not the type to just wait and see but instead, you’re the kind to take charge.

So when do you use analytical skill? In many situations – when you are brainstorming, interpreting data and new information, making decisions and coming up with solutions. For example, you and your team are trying to come up with the best way to deliver a project. You have various information from the client, your team members have collected third-party data, and you have done some research online. Having good analytical skill means taking all of the information, reviewing the data and integrating everything that you know into creating solutions.

It’s OK if you don’t outright have analytical skill; like all other skills, it can be developed as well! The thing with analytical skill is that it is all about trial and error. It might be wrong or right but the most important thing is that you learn from it so that next time, you are quicker at analysing a situation or problem and can quickly come up with ideas to accomplish goals.

There are a few aspects to analytical skill that come into play and how you can improve on them:

Attention to detail
This means you are able to really notice something and keep track of details to help you be more accurate and precise in your decision making. Improve your attention to detail by taking time to learn. You may want to just glimpse through something but sometimes, all the answers you need is there. Also, ask questions. Only then will you be excited to learn more.

Great researching skills
To first have good analytical skill, you need to do your homework. Collate information from various sources to give you a bigger picture of the situation in order to derive at the solution. Always have a keen sense of curiosity – look up things you don’t know about and read more.

Critical thinking
If you’re the type to just accept status quo, then you’re doing analytical skill all wrong. Being able to go beyond the surface of any situation means you have critical thinking. For example, if your teammate says something can’t be done, you should instead ask why and work together at understanding the root of the issue better and see if you work around it.

Other ways to improve your analytical skill? Take on more leadership roles as this puts you in the position to make decisions. Improve your knowledge on whatever you do at work so you are quicker on your feet when it comes to problem solving. Think out of the box – the solution sometimes means being creative.

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