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Let’s talk critical and creative thinking

August 17, 2021 by Curtin CEL Team

Let’s talk critical and creative thinking

We’re looking at transferable skills and why every student needs to know how to showcase them to prospective employers. Transferable skills are skills you develop throughout your life that are then widely applicable in other areas, like a new job. The great news is you probably possess a whole set of transferable skills, regardless of your work experience, that you can demonstrate to potential employers

This time we’re taking a look at critical thinking and creative thinking – quite possibly two of the more difficult, but arguably the most useful, transferable skills to develop. When it comes to talking about critical thinking and creative thinking, it’s easy to confuse the two – while these skills make good companions, they are actually quite different.

Critical thinking
Critical thinking has become a bit of a buzzword lately and, like most buzzwords, not everyone knows what it means. Simply put, critical thinking refers to your ability to analyse something and then use a logical and rational approach to determine an effective outcome. Whether it’s analysing a problem to find a solution, or analysing a situation to avoid a problem, it’s critical thinking.

Highlighting your ability for critical thinking in your resume might look like this:

Critical thinking – As a final year nursing student,  my critical thinking skills have been further developed on clinical placements when dealing with prioritising care for a four-patient workload across a number of hospital units.

And when you come to talk about this in the interview:

“My strong critical thinking was demonstrated during my most recent clinical placement at Fiona Stanley Hospital in an intensive care unit. Juggling a four-patient workload required triaging patients so that those most in need of care received it as a matter of priority, and identifying and alerting my supervisors to critical changes in a patient’s condition if they arose. In the high-stakes environment of the intensive care unit this ensured my patients received the best care possible.”

If you’re in a position when you don’t yet have an industry-relevant example, start to think of pertinent examples from your uni project/team work, your casual job, or anything in the community you’re involved with.

Creative thinking
Also highly regarded, creative thinking can go hand-in-hand with critical thinking. Creative thinking refers to the way you can identify connections between ideas that other people might not have thought of, and how you turn these connections and ideas into reality.

Of all the skills we’ve discussed, creativity is one of the most difficult to actively develop, but you can still find effective ways to discuss it during your job application.

On your resume, you can talk about it like this:

Creative thinking – As a marketing student, I displayed the ability to think outside traditional parameters in order to solve problems and come up with new ideas.

And at the interview you could say:

“In one of my major assignments I came up with an innovative approach to an online ad-campaign for a laundry service that incorporated animation and video. In the brief, the client wanted a campaign that raised their profile among millennials, something they had previously been struggling to do. The resultant campaign exceeded their expectations, with business from millennial clients increasing 84% for the duration of the campaign.”

Critical and creative thinking are key to innovation, which is why these skills are so valued by employers The ability to look at something, identify areas of improvement and come to a new conclusion or way of doing things is something that companies value immensely.

Keep an eye out for further articles on how you can demonstrate a range of transferable skills, both in your resume and at interview.


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