Hiring managers are always looking for candidates with a strong understanding of innovation and creativity. While you might think that creative thinking is only applicable to artistic disciplines, the truth is that this skill is important for almost every field. Highlighting your ability to identify innovative solutions and bring new ideas to the table is extremely valuable to prospective employers. Over the course of this guide, we’ll provide a variety of strategies to help you highlight your creative thinking skills.
What is Creative Thinking?
The Australian Council for Education Research defines creative thinking as “the capacity to generate many different kinds of ideas, manipulate ideas in unusual ways, and make unconventional connections to outline novel possibilities that have the potential to elegantly meet a given purpose.” In simpler terms, this can be interpreted as one’s ability to solve problems creatively and generate innovative ideas. As you build your resume, you’ll want to showcase creativity and innovation using specific examples from your career.
Difference Between Creative Thinking and Critical Thinking
Although creative and critical thinking is related, they have some differences between them. Critical thinking is more commonly understood as the ability to solve problems using objective reasoning and sound logic. In some ways, this is an oversimplification, as you can’t identify a creative solution if you can’t assess a problem critically. Both creative thinking and critical thinking skills are essential for success in almost any profession, and you should make a point to highlight each of them on your resume.
List of Creative Thinking Related Skills
It’s acceptable to list creative thinking as a skill on your resume, but like critical thinking, the term is broad and can be interpreted in a multitude of different ways. This is why it’s more important to incorporate related skills that paint a clearer picture of your capacity to drive innovation and creativity. Below, you’ll find a list of skills you can use to emphasize creative thinking on your resume:
- Business Strategy
- Content Strategy
- Continuous Improvement
- Change Management
- Creative Problem Solving
- Creative Solutions
- Creative Thinking
- Creative Writing
- Cross-Functional Leadership
- Feature Development
- Marketing Strategy
- Process Improvement
- Solution Development
- Strategy Development
Demonstrate Your Ability to Solve Problems Creatively
To grab the hiring manager’s attention, you’ll want to showcase specific examples of you developing novel solutions for problems. It isn’t enough to mention your capacity for creative thinking. You need to back it up with your career accomplishments. This will help prospective employers gain a better understanding of your unique background. Notice how the candidate highlights their creative thinking skills using key achievements from their experience within the education field:
- Spearheaded initiatives to develop innovative adult learning and education technology solutions to enhance student engagement by providing multiple learning pathways based on individual student strengths and weaknesses
- Coordinated with educators, teachers, and researchers to create novel learning solutions using differentiated instruction techniques and innovative learning strategies
- Partnered with special education teachers to develop and implement new education technology to provide additional support for students diagnosed with autism
Notice how the candidate doesn’t use the term “creative thinking” in these bullet points. And yet, as you read through the content, you’ll notice that each of these achievements highlights the job seeker’s ability to drive innovation and approach problems creatively. Using any term in a vacuum will only go so far, so it’s important to ground these types of skill sets using specific accomplishments from your career.
- Utilized a creative approach to product marketing and created dynamic social media marketing campaigns featuring pop culture, film, and video game references, which contributed to a 400% increase in Twitter followership
- Developed innovative marketing copy and brand messaging targeting consumer interests, including popular cultural references and internet memes
- Collaborated with the marketing team and graphic designers to develop creative assets for digital and print advertisements
In this example, the candidate highlights their creative thinking skills by illustrating their unique approach to digital marketing. Developing marketing copy that genuinely resonates with target audiences requires ample amounts of creativity. Notice how the candidate explains how they leveraged pop culture references and internet memes to drive social media campaigns. These details showcase the job seeker’s capacity for creative thinking and will help to differentiate them from the competition during their job search.
Feature Your Communication Skills
Communication skills are another way for you to highlight creative thinking on your resume. For example, it requires creativity to present your arguments persuasively to a wide variety of audiences. Interpersonal and conversational skills are important when collaborating in team-based environments and are relevant across almost every industry. Highlighting your expertise in various modes of communication will help showcase your capacity for creative thinking and draw the hiring manager’s attention.
When to Mention Creative Thinking on Your Resume
Although it’s better to showcase your creative thinking skills using tangible examples from your career, there are situations where you’ll want to include the term directly on your resume. If you notice that a job posting mentions “creative thinking” multiple times, this is a strong indicator that the term is being tracked in the company’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS). In this case, you’ll want to include the term somewhere in your skills section or professional summary.
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