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Critical Thinking Skills List and Examples

Critical Thinking Skills and Keywords for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

Critical thinking is one of the most sought after qualities that employers look for in job candidates in almost any industry. Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment.

Read below for a list of critical thinking skills that employers are looking for in resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Included is a detailed list of five of the most important critical thinking skills, as well as an even longer list of critical thinking skills.

Also see below for information on how to demonstrate your critical thinking skills during your job search.

Why Employers Value Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking involves the evaluation of sources such as data, facts, observable phenomenon, and research findings. Good critical thinkers can draw reasonable conclusions from a set of information and discriminate between useful and less useful details for solving a problem or making a decision.  

This is important for almost any job in any industry. Employers want job candidates who can evaluate a situation using logical thought and come up with the best solution. Someone with critical thinking skills can be trusted to make decisions on his or her own, and will not need constant handholding.

Examples of critical thinking vary depending on the industry. For example, a triage nurse would use critical thinking skills to analyze the cases at hand and decide the order in which the patients should be treated.

A plumber would use critical thinking skills to evaluate which materials would best suit a particular job. An attorney would review the evidence and use critical thinking to help devise a strategy to win a case or to decide whether to settle out of court.  

How to Use Skills Lists

If critical thinking is a key phrase in the job listings you are applying for, you want to emphasize your critical thinking skills throughout your job search.

Include this phrase and related terms in your resumes, cover letters, and interviews.

Firstly, you can use these critical thinking skill words in your resume. In the description of your work history, you can use some of these key words. You can also include them in your resume summary, if you have one.

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. Think about times when you had to analyze or evaluate materials to solve a problem.

Finally, you can use these skill words in an interview. Be ready to mention a particular problem or challenge at work, and explain how you applied critical thinking to solve the issue. Try to use some of the keywords listed below in your answers to questions.

Some interviewers will even give you a hypothetical scenario or problem, and ask you to use critical thinking skills to solve it. In this case, explain your thought process thoroughly to the interviewer. He or she is typically more focused on how you arrive at your answer rather than the answer itself. The interviewer wants to see you use analysis and evaluation (key parts of critical thinking).

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.

Also review our other lists of skills listed by job and type of skill.

Top Five Critical Thinking Skills

Part of thinking critical is the ability to carefully examine something, whether it is a problem, a set of data, or a text. People with analytical skills can examine information, and then understand what it means, and what it represents.

Often, you will need to share your conclusions with your employers or with a group of colleagues. You need to be able to clearly communicate with others to share your ideas. You might also need to engage in critical thinking with a group. In this case, you will need to work with others and communicate effectively to figure out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking often involves some level of creativity. You might need to spot patterns in the information you are looking at, or come up with a solution that no one else has thought of before. All of this involves a creative eye.

To think critically, you need to be able to put aside any assumptions or judgments, and simply analyze the information you are given. You need to be objective, evaluating ideas without bias.

Problem Solving
Problem solving is another important critical-thinking skill that involves analyzing a problem, generating a solution, and implementing and then assessing that plan. After all, employers don’t simply want employee who can think about information critically. They also need to be able to come up with effective solutions.

Critical Thinking Skills


  • Analytical
  • Applying Standards
  • Asking Thoughtful Questions
  • Assessment
  • Clarification
  • Cognitive Flexibility
  • Communication
  • Conceptualization
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Decision Making
  • Embracing Different Cultural Perspectives
  • Evaluation
  • Explanation
  • Foresight


  • Identifying Patterns
  • Imaginative
  • Information Seeking
  • Interpretation
  • Judgment
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Making Abstract Connections
  • Making Inferences


  • Objectivity
  • Observation
  • Open-Minded Thinking 
  • Predicting
  • Presentation
  • Problem Solving
  • Questioning Evidence
  • Reasoning 
  • Recognizing Differences and Similarities
  • Reflection
  • Skepticism
  • Synthesizing

Read More: Employment Skills Listed by Job | Lists of Skills for Resumes | Soft vs. Hard Skills | List of Keywords for Resumes and Cover Letters

There was an atmosphere of cheerful chaos at the unofficial opening of Beetle House, a Tim Burton-themed bar in New York’s East Village, on Wednesday night.

An actor dressed as Beetlejuice – one of the idiosyncratic director’s most famous creations – greeted customers at the door with a stream of crude innuendo, while inside, the patrons – mostly female, many dressed in goth or Beetlejuice-themed clothing – sat up at the crowded bar drinking cocktails such as Jack Skellington (a reference to The Nightmare Before Christmas), the Fleet Street Martini (Sweeney Todd), or the Big Fish Bowl, or at tables surrounded by artwork and bric a brac evoking his films.

An unspecified problem with the gas supply in the kitchen meant the menu had had to be whittled down to three items: wings, bread and chili, with themed items such as an Edward Burger Hands burger and Warm Wonka Bar Chocolate Cake sure to be available by the official opening on 6 May, we were assured.

But no one seemed to mind much that the menu had been “cut in half”, as the bartender put it. It was the drinks they were worried about. “Don’t cut the Fish Bowl in half!” one person yelled.

“It’s a long time waiting for this,” said Burton fanatic Alexandra Bunch of Staten Island, whose cousin Renee Bunch had surprised her with a night out at the venue. “This whole Tim Burton feel, I feel we don’t have it here in New York.”

What would Burton think of the place if he walked in right now? “I think he’d love it. He’d appreciate it his fans have an outlet, somewhere to hang.”

The bar – whose owners also run a Will Ferrell-themed bar nearby called Stay Classy New York – seemed to be more popular with women than men. Why was that? “Women are more open to finding [somewhere like this],” Bunch suggested. “I know a lot of men who are into Tim Burton, but will they come out to a bar?”

Her cousin Brian Bunch, sitting up at the bar, mused: “Men respect Tim Burton, but are we going to sit and watch every one [of his films]?”

This disparity did seem to be borne out by statistics, as one of my companions, Kieran Kumaria of Brooklyn, who works for data and polling company YouGov, was able to prove, showing customers on his phone the profile on Tim Burton fans that the pollsters have gleaned from their research panel of 150,000 people in the US.

Burton fans are disproportionately likely to be young women, urban and age 18 to 29, YouGov has found.

Beetle House was certainly getting one thing right for women, Bunch said – the restrooms. “Unisex bathrooms, it’s very hard to get them pretty and clean, but they did,” she said, adding: “Bathrooms are very important for a female.”

In truth, many of Beetle House’s cocktails – including the signature Beetlejuice: tequila with blackberry schnapps, Angostura bitters and a splash of cranberry – were a bit sickly-sweet, but the Big Fish Bowl, an enormous fruity blue vodka and rum concoction with candy at the bottom and cherries on top, was brutally effective and seemed to be the most popular around the bar.

Precious Val Webb of Maryland pronounced it “delicious”.

“Oh my gosh, it’s awesome,” added her friend Debbie Kern of Delaware.

The two were in town as a 60th birthday treat for Trish Dowd of Pennsylvania, who said her Beetlejuice cocktail was “very good”, although “a little too strong for me. She [the bartender] had to water it down for me.”

Better, it seemed, was the Chocolate Factory Martini, which chocolate blogger Lizzie Kumaria – Kieran’s wife – pronounced “the perfect chocolate alcoholic drink”. It had a “really good balance between booze and creaminess, like a liquid dessert, but not as heavy as a Bailey’s”. A small bar of Hershey’s was revealed at the bottom of the glass once the drink was drunk. “You could only drink one because it’s so sugary,” Kumaria said.

Sweeter still was the We Come in Peace (a Mars Attacks reference), which included salted caramel vodka, and reminded my girlfriend Eleanor Long of the “butterbeer” from the Harry Potter books. It tasted “like a melted butterscotch ice cream”, she surmised.

Brian Bunch preferred an Edward’s Lemonade, an old fashioned with orange bitters. “I order an old fashioned at every single bar,” he said. “I wouldn’t say this is the best, but it’s in the top five.”

Andra Passen of Astoria had dropped in with her friend Mary Adams of Brooklyn, both dressed in black and white stripes. “Most openings, I would avoid a crowd,” Passen said. “But when there’s a theme added to it we’re very much on board.”

Her favourite Burton films were Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. “I have a picture of him in my bedroom,” Adams said of the tragicomic Johnny Depp character. “And one of Catwoman,” she added, referring to the whip-wielding supervillain from Burton’s second turn at the helm of the Batman franchise.

What would Burton make of the critically-reviled most recent movie in the series, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice?

“I think and hope Tim Burton is very self-aware of the humour and freedom to be campy and I don’t think that’s Zach Snyder’s concern,” said Passen tactfully.

If there was a note of criticism of Burton’s work it came from David Love, a writer over from Los Angeles on business, who said he only liked the director’s older stuff – “up until Planet of the Apes”, his 2001 remake of the 1968 classic, which Love said was “pretty awful”.

Biopic Ed Wood was probably his favourite. “It’s the deepest he went with character. He’s great at imagery; this was very focused on character.”

But appropriately enough most customers seemed to prefer Beetlejuice, including Trish Dowd.

“It was fabulous,” she said of the 1988 cult classic. “It was crazy insane. I liked some of the actors that were in it. I’m old enough for that.”

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