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Problem solving

The ability to analyse a problem, generate options and make recommendations in order to arrive at appropriate solution.

In more detail...

This seems to be a quite straightforward skill - "are you able to solve a problem"? However, rather than just looking at whether you resolved an issue and got an end result, the focus is also on the process you followed to get there. 

When you hear about the skill of problem solving, you should consider your ability to:

Identify a problem
Why has this problem come up and what is the impact it has on your work or project? Are you able to easily identify problems when they come up?

Consider different perspectives and evaluate different options
Sometimes there's many solutions to the same problem so how do you only choose one with confidence? Listening to what other people have to say and looking at all the options available, along with their risks can help you reach the best decision - and sometimes the easiest solution could be the answer! 

Think creatively
Creativity is a skill that some people believe is only necessary for artistic and less hands-on jobs. But this couldn't be further from the truth. Developing your creativity can help you with solving even the most complex problems and approach them with an "outside the box" mentality.

Support others to solve problems
Yes, it may not be your problem, but using your problem-solving skills to help others solve theirs is what makes you a good team player - a skill valued in any profession.

What if you have one big problem that has been caused by multiple smaller ones? Are you able to efficiently make a decision as to which problem needs to be addressed first?

Implement a solution
Ideally, after following all the right steps, you will be in a good place to find a solution. It's important that you also have the ability to put this solution into practice.

Why is it important? - Top 3 reasons:

  1. It helps you develop additional skills - from creativity to resilience to time management - being a problem solver means you develop additional skills that employers are looking for.
  2. You become more efficient - the process of solving a problem equips you with knowledge and options should you come across a similar problem again.
  3. It is assessed at interviews - many organisations test your problem solving skills at the assessment stage.