Problem-Solving Skills: Examples for Your Resume

Elizabeth Muenzen, CPRW
By Elizabeth Muenzen, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: April 29, 2024

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In today’s competitive job market, the ability to solve problems efficiently and effectively is a highly sought-after skill that can set you apart from other candidates. 

By highlighting problem-solving skills on your resume, you can demonstrate to potential employers your ability to analyze complex issues and develop creative solutions.

In this guide, we’ll share problem-solving skills examples and expert tips for showcasing them on your resume so that you can write a resume that wins interviews.

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What are problem-solving skills?

Problem-solving skills refer to the ability to identify, analyze and resolve obstacles logically and effectively. 

This skill set requires exceptional critical thinking, creativity and analytical skills to develop innovative solutions.

In a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers — Job Outlook 2024 — problem-solving was identified as the top attribute employers look for in potential candidates. 

Of the survey’s 255 total respondents, 88.7% indicated that they seek candidates with strong problem-solving skills, demonstrating the importance of showcasing this key skill on your resume.

Types of problem-solving skills

To define problem-solving skills, it’s important to note that there are several professional skills involved in the problem-solving process, depending on the situation.

Explore some of the different problem-solving soft skills and techniques below.

  • Analytical skills: The capacity to break down complex problems into smaller, manageable components and analyze the root causes and potential solutions.
  • Critical thinking: The ability to objectively evaluate information, identify patterns and make logical connections to form well-reasoned conclusions.
  • Creativity: The skill to think outside the box, generate new ideas and approach problems from unique perspectives to find innovative solutions.
  • Decision-making: The capability to assess available options, weigh their pros and cons and make informed decisions that best address the problem at hand.
  • Collaboration: The aptitude to work effectively with others, seek input and feedback and leverage collective knowledge and skills to solve problems as a team.
  • Adaptability: The flexibility to adjust strategies and approaches as needed, considering new information or changing circumstances during the problem-solving process.
  • Persistence: The determination to persevere in facing challenges or setbacks, maintain a positive attitude and actively seek alternative solutions.

Examples of problem-solving skills by industry

Explore the lists of problem-solving skills below for various professional industries. Incorporate them into your resume to stand out to potential employers. 

You can use one of our 40+ professional resume templates to quickly and easily craft a resume with an eye-catching skills section.   

Health care

  • Patient care and satisfaction
  • Electronic medical records (EMR) management
  • Staff scheduling and workflow optimization
  • Medical billing and coding
  • Compliance with healthcare regulations
  • Quality assurance and improvement
  • Medical equipment troubleshooting
  • Infection control and prevention
  • Emergency response and crisis management
  • Patient advocacy and communication

Hospitality and tourism 

  • Menu engineering
  • Revenue management
  • Event planning
  • Guest complaints handling
  • Food safety and sanitation
  • Front desk operations
  • Housekeeping management
  • Vendor management
  • Tour itinerary planning
  • Cross-cultural communication

Education 

  • Classroom management
  • Special needs accommodation
  • Curriculum development
  • Student assessment and evaluation
  • Behavior intervention strategies
  • Parent-teacher communication
  • Technology integration in the classroom
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Conflict resolution among students
  • Educational program evaluation and improvement

Food and beverage 

  • Menu development and engineering
  • Inventory management
  • Food safety and sanitation
  • Recipe development and testing
  • Vendor management
  • Cost control and budgeting
  • Staff training and development
  • Sales and marketing strategies
  • Customer service
  • Event planning and catering services

Retail

  • Inventory management and optimization
  • Visual merchandising and product placement
  • Customer complaint resolution
  • Loss prevention and shrinkage control
  • Sales forecasting and analysis
  • Store layout and space utilization
  • Staff scheduling and task delegation
  • Cash handling and POS system troubleshooting
  • Product returns and exchanges management
  • Competitive analysis and market research

Construction 

  • Construction project management
  • Blueprint reading and interpretation
  • Material sourcing and procurement
  • Budgeting and cost control
  • Construction site safety management
  • Conflict resolution and negotiation
  • Building code compliance
  • Construction scheduling and timeline management
  • Subcontractor coordination and management
  • Solving design and engineering challenges

Financial services 

  • Risk assessment and management
  • Financial analysis and forecasting
  • Investment portfolio optimization
  • Fraud detection and prevention
  • Regulatory compliance and reporting
  • Tax planning and strategy
  • Financial technology (Fintech) solutions implementation
  • Client relationship management and problem resolution
  • Financial modeling and valuation
  • Market research and competitive analysis

Transportation 

  • Route optimization and planning
  • Fleet maintenance and repair management
  • Transportation safety and compliance
  • Supply chain management and logistics optimization
  • Inventory management and tracking
  • Transportation cost analysis and reduction strategies
  • Regulatory compliance and reporting
  • Freight forwarding and customs clearance
  • Transportation network modeling and simulation
  • Customer service and problem resolution

Energy 

  • Renewable energy technology optimization and troubleshooting
  • Energy efficiency analysis and optimization
  • Risk assessment and mitigation in energy production and distribution
  • Environmental compliance and sustainability problem-solving
  • Energy storage and grid integration problem resolution
  • Financial analysis and budgeting for energy projects
  • Market analysis and forecasting for energy markets
  • Policy analysis and advocacy for energy sector development
  • Energy infrastructure design and engineering problem-solving
  • Integration and optimization of decentralized energy systems

Information technology

  • Technical troubleshooting and problem resolution
  • Network security and threat detection
  • Software development and debugging
  • Database management and optimization
  • IT infrastructure design and implementation
  • Cybersecurity incident response and mitigation
  • IT project management and coordination
  • User support and helpdesk management
  • Cloud computing and virtualization problem resolution
  • IT system integration and migration problem-solving

Examples of problem-solving skills by job title

Explore examples of great problem-solving skills that you can include on your resume for a few popular job titles below. 

We also recommend checking out our library of 800+ resume examples to see real-world samples for different job titles, industries and career levels. 

Teacher

Effective problem-solving skills are essential for teachers as they encounter various challenges in the classroom, such as adapting lesson plans on the spot and determining creative classroom management solutions.

Here are a few problem-solving skills examples for your teacher resume to impress hiring managers:

  • Developing creative lesson plans to engage students and accommodate different learning styles.
  • Communicating effectively with students, parents and colleagues to address concerns and resolve conflicts.
  • Adapting teaching methods to meet the needs of students with different abilities or backgrounds.
  • Identifying and addressing behavioral issues in the classroom to promote a positive learning environment.
  • Providing individualized support and resources to students struggling academically or personally.

Registered nurse 

Strong problem-solving skills are critical for registered nurses as they provide care for patients with complex health issues. Nurses must be able to identify and address patient needs, adapt care plans to changing situations, and find creative solutions to unexpected challenges. 

Here are a few problem-solving skills examples for your registered nurse resume to rise above the competition: 

  • Assessing and prioritizing patient needs in a fast-paced and high-pressure environment.
  • Identifying and resolving medication discrepancies or errors to ensure patient safety.
  • Responding quickly and effectively to emergency situations, such as cardiac arrest or respiratory distress.
  • Troubleshooting medical equipment malfunctions and implementing temporary solutions while awaiting repairs.
  • De-escalating conflicts and managing challenging patient or family situations empathetically and professionally.

Sales

Problem-solving skills are crucial for sales professionals as they navigate the complexities of the sales process, adapting their sales strategies to different situations and finding creative solutions to overcome conversion barriers. 

Here are a few problem-solving skills examples for your sales resume to set yourself apart from the competition:

  • Analyzing market trends and competitor activity to identify opportunities for growth and competitive advantage.
  • Troubleshooting and resolving customer complaints or issues to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams, such as marketing and product development, to align sales strategies with business objectives.
  • Utilizing data analytics and tracking tools to measure sales performance and identify areas for improvement.
  • Negotiating contracts, pricing and terms to ensure mutually beneficial outcomes for both the company and the customer.

Customer service representative 

Customer service representatives must have exceptional problem-solving skills in order to identify and understand customer issues, adapt their responses to different situations and find creative solutions to address specific pain points. 

Here are a few problem-solving skills examples for your customer service representative resume to stand out from the crowd:

  • Collaborating with team members and other departments to solve complex customer inquiries or concerns.
  • Developing and implementing process improvements to enhance the customer experience and streamline service delivery.
  • Troubleshooting technical issues and providing guidance to customers to resolve their problems.
  • Managing difficult or irate customers with professionalism and de-escalating tense situations.
  • Anticipating and proactively addressing potential customer issues or roadblocks to prevent escalations.

Accountant 

Problem-solving skills enable accountants to think critically about financial statements, analyze data to identify potential issues and collaborate with colleagues to develop effective financial plans. 

Here are a few problem-solving skills examples for your accountant resume to get hired faster: 

  • Identifying and resolving accounting discrepancies or errors to ensure financial accuracy.
  • Developing and implementing internal controls to mitigate risks and prevent fraud.
  • Analyzing complex financial data to identify trends and opportunities for cost savings or revenue growth.
  • Troubleshooting technical issues with accounting software or systems to ensure uninterrupted financial operations.
  • Conducting internal audits and reviews to identify potential financial processes and control weaknesses.

Graphic designer 

In addition to possessing strong computer skills, graphic designers must have excellent problem-solving skills to adapt to their clients’ needs and design preferences. 

Here are a few problem-solving skills examples for your graphic designer resume to impress prospective employers:

  • Troubleshooting design issues and finding innovative solutions to ensure visual consistency and quality across different platforms and mediums.
  • Adapting to tight deadlines and managing multiple projects simultaneously, effectively prioritizing tasks and problem-solving to meet project milestones.
  • Analyzing client feedback and revising designs accordingly to ensure client satisfaction and meet project goals.
  • Finding creative solutions to design challenges within budget constraints and resource limitations.
  • Resolving technical issues with design software or hardware to ensure smooth workflow and timely project completion.

Veterinarian 

Strong problem-solving and technical skills are critical for veterinarians as they diagnose and treat various animal health issues, adapting their treatment plans to different animals and circumstances.

Here are a few problem-solving skills examples for your veterinarian resume to land your dream job faster:

  • Diagnosing and treating complex medical conditions in animals to identify the root cause of the issue and develop effective treatment plans.
  • Resolve client concerns and complaints compassionately and professionally to understand their concerns and find effective solutions.
  • Troubleshooting technical issues with medical equipment and technology, identifying and resolving issues promptly and efficiently to ensure smooth workflow and proper diagnoses.
  • Analyzing medical records and test results to identify patterns and trends and develop effective treatment plans that address underlying issues.
  • Managing difficult or aggressive animals with professionalism and compassion, using problem-solving skills to minimize risks and ensure the safety of both animals and staff.

Personal trainer 

Effective problem-solving skills empower personal trainers to provide personalized and effective training plans, motivate clients and help them achieve their desired fitness outcomes.

Here are a few problem-solving skills examples for your personal trainer resume to set yourself apart from other applicants:

  • Designing customized workout programs tailored to individual client needs and goals, using problem-solving skills to address specific challenges and limitations.
  • Analyzing and modifying exercise techniques to accommodate client injuries or physical limitations, ensuring safe and effective workouts.
  • Troubleshooting and addressing client concerns or complaints to understand their needs and find appropriate solutions.
  • Developing strategies to motivate and engage clients to overcome barriers and help them stay committed to their fitness goals.
  • Collaborating with clients to develop realistic and achievable goals to break down large goals into smaller, manageable steps.

Human resources manager 

In addition to strong interpersonal skills, it is crucial for human resources managers to have excellent problem-solving skills to identify and understand the root cause of conflicts and adapt their strategies to different situations. 

Here are a few problem-solving skills examples for your human resources manager resume to land your dream job faster:

  • Resolving employee conflicts and disputes in a fair and respectful manner to understand different perspectives and find mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Developing and implementing policies and procedures to address workplace issues and promote a positive company culture to identify areas for improvement and develop effective solutions.
  • Analyzing workforce data and trends to identify potential issues and develop proactive strategies to address them, anticipating future challenges and opportunities.
  • Conducting investigations into employee complaints and grievances, identifying root causes and developing appropriate responses.
  • Developing and administering compensation and benefits programs, balancing budgetary constraints with competitive compensation packages.

Security guard 

Strong problem-solving skills are crucial for security guards as they navigate various security challenges and ensure people’s and property safety by quickly assessing situations and finding effective solutions to mitigate them. 

Here are a few problem-solving skills examples for your security guard resume to wow employers:

  • Identifying and addressing security vulnerabilities and risks to develop effective strategies to mitigate threats and protect people and property.
  • Resolving conflicts and defusing potentially volatile situations to understand the underlying issues and find peaceful resolutions.
  • Responding to emergency situations, such as fires or medical emergencies, to assess the situation quickly and take appropriate action to ensure the safety of individuals.
  • Conducting security assessments and audits, identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses in existing security protocols and recommending improvements.
  • Monitoring and responding to security alarms and surveillance systems to assess the situation, determine the appropriate course of action, and minimize any potential threats.

How to include problem-solving skills in your resume

Problem-solving skills demonstrate your ability to think critically, analyze situations and develop creative solutions. 

By highlighting these skills on your resume, you showcase your adaptability, resilience and resourcefulness, which are highly sought-after qualities in the workplace. 

Explore the expert tips below to learn how to describe problem-solving skills throughout different sections of your resume. 

Highlight problem-solving in your resume summary

A resume summary is a concise, three- to five-sentence paragraph at the top of your resume where you introduce yourself to the hiring manager and highlight your key skills and qualifications.

Your summary is an excellent place to include problem-solving skills relevant to the role you are applying for. See the example below, which includes problem-solving skills such as “critical thinking” and “resolving complex issues.” 

“Analytical and resourceful marketing professional with five years of experience developing and executing successful marketing campaigns. Skilled in problem-solving and critical thinking, with a proven track record of identifying and resolving complex issues. Strong project management skills, with the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously and deliver results on time and within budget. Demonstrated expertise in data analysis and interpretation, with experience in using data to drive decision-making and improve campaign performance.”

Use bullet points to highlight your skills

List your problem-solving skills using bullet points in the skills section of your resume. 

For example, the sample below includes “critical thinking,” “creative problem solving,” “troubleshooting” and other skills that effective problem solvers possess. 

Skills

  • Critical thinking
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Decision-making
  • Troubleshooting
  • Data analysis
  • Adaptability
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Time management

If you have limited professional experience, problem-solving is an excellent transferable skill to list on your resume. 

See our guide on how to make a resume with no experience for additional tips and examples from career advice experts. 

Quantify your achievements

If you list “problem-solving” as a skill on your resume, you’ll need to back it up with concrete examples in your resume work history section to connect the dots. 

Showcase your problem-solving skills by highlighting achievements demonstrating how you resolved complex problems and contributed to positive outcomes.

Use numbers and statistics to quantify your accomplishments and demonstrate your impact whenever possible. 

Here are a few examples of quantifiable achievements that demonstrate creative problem-solving capabilities:

  • Implemented a new inventory management system that reduced stockouts by 20% and improved overall supply chain efficiency, resulting in a cost savings of $50,000 annually.
  • Developed and executed a customer retention strategy that decreased customer churn rate by 15% and increased customer satisfaction scores by 10%.
  • Led a cross-functional team in identifying and resolving a production bottleneck, resulting in a 30% increase in production output and a cost savings of $100,000 per year.
  • Streamlined the onboarding process for new employees, reducing the average onboarding time by 25% and improving employee productivity and engagement.
  • Identified and resolved a customer service issue that was causing a high rate of customer complaints, resulting in a 40% decrease in customer complaints and an improvement in customer retention rate by 15%.

Use action words to showcase your skills

Incorporating powerful action words throughout your resume is an effective way to showcase how you have used your problem-solving skills in past roles to make a positive impact. 

Here are a few examples of powerful action verbs that relate to problem-solving skills and techniques:  

  • Analyze
  • Resolve
  • Identify
  • Develop
  • Create
  • Implement
  • Improve
  • Streamline
  • Optimize
  • Innovate
  • Facilitate
  • Spearhead
  • Collaborate
  • Diagnose
  • Investigate
  • Negotiate
  • Adapt
  • Mitigate
  • Prioritize

Tailor your problem-solving skills to the job description

Customize your resume to the role you are applying for by showcasing keywords and problem-solving skills from the job description. 

This demonstrates to potential employers that you are a great fit for the role and have the required skills to identify and resolve their most pressing issues and challenges. 

For example, if the job description notes that the company is seeking a candidate who can cut costs and improve operational efficiency, you could use the following resume headline on your resume:   

“Innovative problem solver consistently delivering efficiency and cost savings”

Tailoring your resume to the job description ensures that your application will pass applicant tracking systems (ATS) and impress the hiring manager. 

How to develop problem-solving skills

Developing problem-solving skills is a valuable asset that can help you take your career to the next level. Take a look at the following expert tips on how to improve problem-solving skills in the workplace to get started. 

 

  • Practice critical thinking: Develop the habit of critically questioning assumptions and analyzing information. Ask questions, evaluate evidence and consider various perspectives.
  • Learn from experience: Reflect on past experiences where you encountered problems and consider what you could have done differently. Analyze the situation, identify the root cause of the problem and consider alternative solutions.
  • Seek out new challenges: Take on new challenges that require solving problems. This could be taking on a new project at work, learning a new skill or pursuing a personal goal.
  • Collaborate with others: Work with others to solve problems. This can help you gain new insights and perspectives and develop your teamwork skills.
  • Develop your creativity: Try new approaches and think outside the box. Experiment with new ideas and be open to new ways of thinking.
  • Use problem-solving tools: There are many problem-solving tools and techniques available, such as brainstorming, mind mapping and SWOT analysis. Experiment with these tools to find the ones that work best for you.
After building your resume, we recommend using our ATS resume checker to scan for 30+ common errors and receive instant optimization suggestions to improve your resume score.

Key takeaways

  1. The definition of problem-solving skills is the ability to identify, analyze and solve problems effectively and efficiently.
  2. Problem-solving skills involve critical thinking, logical reasoning, creativity and resourcefulness to fund solutions to complex challenges or situations.
  3. Problem-solving skills are highly valued in various fields and industries as they enable individuals to overcome obstacles, make informed decisions and achieve desired outcomes.
  4. Incorporating problem-solving skills throughout your resume is an excellent way to impress potential employers.
  5. Learning how to work on problem-solving skills, such as seeking out new challenges and developing creativity, is essential for improving your professional life and advancing your career.

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