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Using the Standard Solitaire Game to Sharpen Your Problem-Solving Abilities

In today’s fast-paced world, problem-solving skills are more important than ever. Whether it’s in your personal life or professional career, the ability to think critically and find solutions is highly valued. One way to enhance these skills is by playing the standard solitaire game. While many people may see solitaire as a simple card game, it actually offers numerous benefits for improving problem-solving abilities. In this article, we will explore how playing the standard solitaire game can help sharpen your problem-solving skills.

Enhancing Strategic Thinking

Playing the standard solitaire game requires strategic thinking and planning ahead. As you lay out your cards and make moves, you must consider various possibilities and anticipate future moves. This process encourages you to analyze different scenarios and make decisions based on potential outcomes.

Furthermore, solitaire also teaches you the importance of prioritization. You need to prioritize which cards to move first and which ones to leave behind. This skill translates directly into real-life situations where you must prioritize tasks or actions based on their importance or urgency.

By regularly engaging in strategic thinking while playing solitaire, you can develop a more analytical mindset that will benefit you in all areas of life.

Developing Patience

Patience is a virtue that can greatly contribute to effective problem-solving. In the standard solitaire game, patience is key as success often requires multiple rounds of trial and error before finding the right solution.

The process of patiently trying different moves and experimenting with various strategies teaches valuable lessons about persistence and resilience. It trains your mind not to give up easily when faced with challenges but instead motivates you to keep trying until you find a solution.

Developing patience through playing solitaire can be a valuable asset when faced with complex problems that require time and perseverance to solve effectively.

Making Skills

In solitaire, every move you make is a decision that can impact the outcome of the game. The ability to make informed decisions quickly is crucial for success. By playing the standard solitaire game regularly, you can improve your decision-making skills.

As you become more experienced in solitaire, you will start recognizing patterns and developing strategies that maximize your chances of winning. This process trains your brain to analyze information efficiently and make decisions based on logical reasoning.

Moreover, solitaire also teaches you to evaluate risks and rewards. Some moves may seem appealing in the short term but could lead to unfavorable outcomes later on. Learning to assess potential risks and rewards helps you make better decisions not only in the game but also in real-life situations where critical thinking is required.

Enhancing Concentration and Focus

Playing solitaire requires concentration and focus as you need to pay attention to every card on the table and track their movements. Distractions can lead to mistakes that could cost you the game.

Regularly engaging in solitaire can help improve your ability to concentrate for extended periods. This skill is transferable to various areas of life where focus is necessary, such as work tasks or studying.

Additionally, solitaire can serve as a form of meditation by providing a momentary escape from daily stressors. It allows you to clear your mind, focus solely on the game at hand, and recharge your mental energy.

The standard solitaire game offers more than just entertainment; it provides an opportunity to enhance problem-solving abilities through strategic thinking, patience development, improved decision-making skills, and enhanced concentration/focus.

By incorporating regular sessions of solitaire into your routine, you can sharpen these essential skills that are valuable in both personal and professional settings. So next time you find yourself with some free time or need a break from work-related tasks, consider playing a round of solitaire – it might just give your problem-solving abilities a boost.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


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Software Developers, Lawyers, and 11 Other Occupations That Demand Frequent Problem-Solving

May 4, 2023

Only about 14% of civilian workers have to solve problems on a daily basis, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics . But some jobs are all about problem-solving.

Looking at the BLS 2022 data, ClickUp found that software developers, executives, and lawyers are among the top 13 jobs that demand the most frequent problem-solving. Occupations on the list are ranked by the estimated percentage of workers in each job who had to solve problems more than once per day.

Over 100 jobs were reviewed in the analysis, and only those where more than half of the workers problem-solved multiple times daily made the rankings. Nearly half of the jobs on the list involve management responsibilities. 

Management positions come with many problem-solving requirements because of the need to oversee people and processes; define goals and break them down into smaller, assignable tasks; and make resource management decisions based on theory and data.

Employers value problem-solving in the workplace because workers with these skills are better able to overcome challenges independently, suggest new ideas and improve processes , and save the company and its customers time and money.

Focusing on and developing advanced, nuanced, and quick-reaction problem-solving skills might even help insulate, to a degree, some knowledge-based professionals from the most disruptive effects of artificial intelligence and automation technologies.

The MIT Sloan Management Review found the most likely skills to be automated are those that can be “standardized and codified.” The research noted that tasks requiring physical or real-time resolution typically had lower automation rates. That was due to the fact that creating tools that can handle the unpredictability of those tasks is either too expensive, involves too much work, or may not yet be technologically achievable.

Problem-solving is a skill that can be practiced and honed. There is a wide array of literature and coursework available for learning established methods of problem-solving, with specialties in topics like parallel thinking, decomposition, research, and analysis. Even practicing word and logic puzzles as a leisure activity can help hone problem-solving skills.

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13. Electrical engineers

12. transportation, storage, and distribution managers, 11. computer and information systems managers, 10. architectural and engineering managers, 9. k-12 education administrators, 8. natural sciences managers, 7. software developers, 6. physicists, 5. chief executives, 4. nurse practitioners, 3. personal financial advisors, 1. podiatrists, enhance your problem-solving skills and boost your management efficiency with clickup.

Electrical engineers

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 51.7%
  • Nationwide employment : 186,020 (1.32 per 1,000 jobs)

Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and maintain electrical systems and components. They may identify problems, design circuitry and other parts, and create prototypes to test their solutions. And they can encounter surprises.

For instance, in 1945, Percy Lebaron Spencer, an electrical engineer for Raytheon, was working on radar equipment and noticed a candy bar in his pocket melted. Applying critical thinking and problem-solving skills, he devised a series of tests, observations, and experiments, ultimately inventing the microwave oven.

Hands-on experience and professional development help electrical engineers develop their analytical and critical thinking skills. Participating in professional associations can also assist in the development of their communication and teamwork abilities, allowing them to collaborate effectively with their colleagues and clients.

problem solving organizer real career

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 52.6%
  • Nationwide employment : 144,640 (1.027 per 1,000 jobs)

Transportation, storage, and distribution managers are involved in the planning, directing, and coordinating of transportation, storage, and distribution activities.

These logistics professionals must organize and manage the work of subordinates, effectively use analytical and inventory software, evaluate and act on data and reports, and communicate and collaborate with other departments.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a nonstop series of problems to solve for transportation, storage, and distribution managers, who have had to deal with demand spikes, driver shortages, and soaring warehouse costs. Now rising inflation and cooling demand are going to send their own series of problems through the pipeline in the reverse direction.

Staying on top of important data, such as changing regulations, weather, software innovations, and tariffs are some of the steps transportation, storage, and distribution managers take to be better prepared to problem-solve. Obtaining certificates and pursuing coursework in supply chain management and other related fields of study are also beneficial for practicing and developing key problem-solving skills.

Computer and information systems managers

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 54.0%
  • Nationwide employment : 485,190 (3.444 per 1,000 jobs)

Computer and information systems managers are responsible for the planning and coordinating of computer-related activities within their organization. High levels of technical expertise, as well as people management skills, are required to be effective.

Duties for computer and information systems managers can include managing all of the organization’s personnel who are relevant to its computer systems, as well as consulting with end users and stakeholders to ensure computing plans align with organizational goals.

Staying current with the latest research and technology is an important step in preparation for becoming a better problem-solver as a computer and information system manager so that you are up to speed on current best practices when it is time to make or advise a decision. 

Another way to improve problem-solving skills is to hold routine meetings and solicit team feedback as a way to work on communication skills and ensure expectations and issues are being clearly understood and acted on.

Architectural and engineering managers

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 54.6%
  • Nationwide employment : 187,100 (1.328 per 1,000 jobs)

Architectural and engineering managers plan, direct, and coordinate activities in the fields of architecture and engineering, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook . For instance, they might oversee a construction and renovation project, develop and present project proposals and bids, and oversee the recruiting of staff for design and engineering teams.

Architectural and engineering managers need to be able to effectively lead and inspire their teams. They must also strictly adhere to project deadlines and exhibit superior written and oral communication skills, all of which require advanced problem-solving abilities.

To be better prepared as a problem-solver, architectural and engineering managers attend design showcases to examine the work of other professionals, take advantage of continuing education opportunities, and seize opportunities to gain further field experience.

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K-12 education administrators

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 54.8%
  • Nationwide employment : 274,710 (1.95 per 1,000 jobs)

K-12 education administrators plan, direct, and coordinate the academic, administrative, or auxiliary activities of kindergarten, elementary, and secondary schools, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Whether managing teachers, helping students navigate curriculum challenges, or overseeing facility improvements, elementary administrators are constantly solving problems. And they’re expected to create “accurate, rapid, effective and accepted solutions,” depending on their visions “and school development programs,” according to a 2010 study .

Being an effective school administrator requires practice in building positive relationships, putting colleagues and families first, and using strategies to diffuse conflict and stressful situations. 

Participating in research opportunities, attending seminars and classes, and joining professional educational groups are all ways to stay current with the latest problem-solving tools and trends in the field.

Natural sciences managers

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 56.4%
  • Nationwide employment : 74,760 (0.531 per 1,000 jobs)

Natural sciences managers are involved in supervising the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook. These workers are in charge of activities that relate to research and development and coordinate testing, quality control, and production.

Natural sciences managers must use their highly developed research and scientific observation skills, and harness those of their direct reports, to uncover answers to complex technical issues.

Workers in this role are expected to perform functions like developing strategies and research projects; interviewing, hiring, and directing scientists, technicians, and support personnel; and administrative duties.

Because science moves so rapidly, natural science managers must constantly read and stay current with the latest developments so they have the knowledge and latest best practices to apply to their work. Attending health fairs, publishing papers, and working with a scientific mentor are some ways natural sciences managers build the skills and knowledge needed to be successful problem-solvers.

Software developers

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 58.4%
  • Nationwide employment : 1,364,180 (9.683 per 1,000 jobs)

Software developers are in charge of analyzing users’ needs and designing and developing software to meet those needs, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook. They design every part of an application or system and coordinate how each will work together.

Computer science itself is the study of problem-solving, so problem-solving skills are baked into all aspects of being a software developer. When designing and implementing code, troubleshooting and bug squashing, and communicating accurately and effectively within and between teams, software developers are problem-solving mavens.

Software developers hone their problem-solving skills through on-the-job experience, obtaining additional certifications and credentials, and staying current with rapid industry developments. Outside of their core job functions, they might contribute code to open source projects, participate in coding challenges and hackathons, or volunteer their time with nonprofit groups focused on building software solutions to civic challenges, such as Code for America.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AGILE Explore this hub of articles, guides and blueprints to understand Agile methodologies for software teams .

Physicists at work

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 60.3%
  • Nationwide employment : 20,020 (0.142 per 1,000 jobs)

Physicists are scientists who study the interactions of matter and energy. Whether tackling climate change, hunting for new subatomic particles, or figuring out how to make a chocolate cake mix rise faster, physicists are solving problems all around us. 

From the epic to the everyday, physicists use step-by-step approaches, apply past solutions to new problems, diagram procedures, and verify results.

Physicists prepare themselves to be problem-solvers by drilling into the fundamentals of their field, learning and practicing problem-solving strategies, and participating in professional organizations. They may also tackle physics word problems and brain teasers in their free time and then share solutions and strategies with colleagues.

A woman thinking by her office desk

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 61.8%
  • Nationwide employment : 200,480 (1.423 per 1,000 jobs)

Top executives plan strategies and policies to ensure an organization meets its goals, according to the BLS, which includes coordinating and directing the company and organization activities.

Recognizing gaps between where an organization is and its goals—and devising and implementing solutions, often in real time—is core to the role of an executive. 

Putting structures in place to develop new products, overcoming budget shortfalls, keeping pace with the competition, navigating regulations, and managing the personalities and career growth of staff are all types of problems executives need to solve.

Executives take training and development programs to improve their problem-solving and management skills. They may volunteer their management expertise to a nonprofit or become a mentor to a more junior manager. Executives attend conferences and workshops and stay current on their industry news to expand their skills, including problem-solving.

Nurse practitioner with a patient

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 62.4%
  • Nationwide employment : 234,690 (1.666 per 1,000 jobs)

Nurse practitioners diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a health care team, according to the BLS, and may focus on health promotion and disease prevention. They may be involved with ordering, performing, or interpreting lab work and X-rays, and can prescribe medication.

Nurses are called upon to apply their diverse knowledge to handle various situations during their shifts in a constantly changing environment. They might apply a solution from one set of patients to another. 

For example, one nurse described how a pain medication that worked for diabetic patients with neuropathy helped an amputation patient suffering from deep nerve pain who wasn’t responding well to traditional opioids.

Health care providers who stay on top of the most recent research report better patient outcomes. Nurse practitioners can use an evidence-based approach to apply a systematic process to review, analyze, and translate to the real world the latest health care and scientific evidence. Training, conferences, and social media also provide other sources of information to sharpen skills and knowledge.

Personal financial advisor coaching clients

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 67.1%
  • Nationwide employment : 263,030 (1.867 per 1,000 jobs)

Personal financial advisors assess their clients’ financial needs and advise them on investment decisions and navigating tax laws and insurance, according to the BLS. They help their clients with short- and long-term goals, like saving for college and retirement.

Saving for retirement in an environment with rising interest rates, coping with soaring college costs, and deciding what to do with the proceeds of a house sale are some of the issues that might come up for the clients of a personal financial advisor, which require tailored solutions.

In each case, personal financial advisors define their client’s problems, identify the causes, explore and decide on solutions , and implement them, according to Vesticor Advisors Managing Director Michael Sciortino.

Certifications—like certified financial planner, chartered financial analyst, or chartered financial consultant—or professional development courses can improve personal financial advisors’ hard skills and provide structured opportunities to learn and apply proven problem-solving strategies.

Participating in a pro bono program through a professional organization allows an advisor to apply their knowledge to help individuals, families, and communities in need while getting additional opportunities to practice tackling new and pressing problems.

A lawyer talking to his clients

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 68.1%
  • Nationwide employment : 681,010 (4.834 per 1,000 jobs)

Advising and representing individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes are some of the main obligations of lawyers.

Lawyers must research and analyze legal problems and provide advice to their clients. They evaluate all manner of legal decisions—such as weighing the pros and cons of filing for a judgment versus offering a settlement in a case—negotiate contracts, and respond to cease and desist letters. Problem-solving is so key to the legal profession that it was placed at the top of an American Bar Association’s report on fundamental skills for lawyers, even before legal analysis.

Lawyers prepare to be problem-solvers by being active listeners, zeroing in on the details of a case, and reading up on the latest cases and legal strategies. Specialized problem-solving workshops, exercises, role-plays, and simulations— sometimes organized through professional societies —are other ways lawyers can develop their skills.

A podiatrist with a patient

  • Share of workers who problem-solve more than once per day : 85.5%
  • Nationwide employment : 8,840 (0.063 per 1,000 jobs)

Podiatrists provide medical and surgical care for people with foot, ankle, and lower leg problems, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Patients come to their podiatrists presenting problems such as heel pain, bunions, ingrown toenails, and issues with gait and walking. Podiatrists listen to and diagnose the issue and prescribe solutions depending on what’s needed, such as orthotics, medical creams, or physical therapy.

Podiatrists sharpen their problem-solving skills by practicing and learning new and established methodologies for diagnosis and attending training sessions and conferences. They also practice regularly and seek feedback from patients and colleagues to improve their techniques and patient outcomes.

In today’s fast-paced business world, being an effective problem-solver is crucial for any role, especially management or leadership. Fortunately, there are various tools available to help you streamline your work and manage your tasks efficiently.

ClickUp, in particular, is an exceptional project management tool that can help you stay organized and achieve your goals. With ClickUp, you can easily track your progress, collaborate with your team members, and take corrective action whenever necessary.

Give ClickUp a try for free and take your management efficiency to the next level!

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Guest Writer: Ben Popken

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Problem solving: the mark of an independent employee

Abigail Lewis

Last updated: 24 Aug 2023, 08:40

Problem-solving abilities are essential in virtually any graduate role you can think of. Discover how to develop your problem-solving skills and demonstrate them to eagle-eyed recruiters.

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Interviewers will be interested to discover how you'd approach problems that could arise in the workplace.

Problem solving is all about using logic, as well as imagination, to make sense of a situation and come up with an intelligent solution. In fact, the best problem solvers actively anticipate potential future problems and act to prevent them or to mitigate their effects.

Problem-solving abilities are connected to a number of other skills, including:

  • analytical skills
  • innovative and creative thinking
  • a lateral mindset
  • adaptability and flexibility
  • level-headedness
  • resilience (in order to reassess when your first idea doesn’t work)
  • teamworking (if problem solving is a team effort)
  • influencing skills (to get colleagues, clients and bosses to adopt your solutions).

Identifying a problem is often the kernel for a new business or product idea – and, as such, problem solving is an essential ingredient of entrepreneurialism . It is also a key component of good leadership .

Short on time? Watch our one-minute guide to problem solving

  • how to answer problem-solving interview questions
  • how to think of examples of your problem-solving skills
  • a problem-solving technique you can use in any work or life situation.


Our targetjobs careers expert gives you a quick guide to showing off your problem-solving skills in a job interview.

Why all graduates require problem-solving skills in the workplace

Some graduate careers revolve around finding solutions – for example, engineering , management consulting , scientific research and technology . Graduates in other careers, meanwhile, will be expected to solve problems that crop up in the course of their jobs: for example, trainee managers should deal with operational problems (such as delays in the supply chain) or resolve conflict between team members.

In fact, the ability to solve problems is an essential part of any employee’s skill set, even if it isn’t specified on the job description.

Get the insights and skills you need to shape your career journey with Pathways. Learn and practise a selection of simple yet effective reasoning strategies to take your problem solving to the next level.

How to improve your problem-solving skills

How will employers assess your problem-solving skills?

Your problem-solving abilities can be assessed in three ways: by asking for examples of times when you previously solved a problem; by presenting you with certain hypothetical situations and asking how you would respond to them; and by seeing how you apply your problem-solving skills to different tests and exercises.

Competency-based application and interview questions about problem solving

You may be asked for an example of when you solved a problem on an application form – for instance, an engineering firm’s application form has previously included the question ‘Please tell us about a time when you have used your technical skills and knowledge to solve a problem’. But these questions are more likely at interview. Typical problem-solving competency-based questions include:

  • Give me an example of a time when you ran into a problem on a project. What did you do?
  • Give me an example of a difficult problem you had to solve outside of your course. How did you approach it?
  • Tell me about a time you worked through a problem as a team.
  • Have you ever had a disagreement with a team member? How was it resolved?
  • Give me an example of a time when you spotted a potential problem and took steps to stop it becoming one.
  • Give me an example of a time when you handled a major crisis.
  • Give me an example of your lateral thinking.

Hypothetical interview questions about problem solving

Interviewers will also be interested to know how you would approach problems that could arise when you are in the workplace. The precise interview questions will vary according to the job, but common ones include:

  • How would you deal with conflict in the workplace? (This is especially likely to be asked of trainee managers and graduate HR professionals.)
  • What would you do if there is an unexpected delay to one of your projects because of supply chain issues? (This is particularly likely to be asked in construction, logistics or retail interviews).
  • What would you do if a client or customer raised a complaint?
  • What would you do if you noticed that a colleague was struggling with their work?
  • How would you react if given negative feedback by a manager on an aspect of your performance?
  • How would you judge whether you should use your own initiative on a task or ask for help?

Problem-solving exercises and tests for graduate jobs

Different tests that employers could set to gauge your problem-solving skills include:

  • Online aptitude, psychometric and ability tests . These are normally taken as part of the application stage, although they may be repeated at an assessment centre. The tests that are most likely to assess your problem-solving skills are situational judgement tests and any that assess your reasoning, such as inductive reasoning or diagrammatic reasoning tests.
  • Video ‘immersive experiences’ , game-based recruitment exercises or virtual reality assessments. Not all of these methods are widely used yet but they are becoming more common. They are usually the recruitment stage before a face-to-face interview or assessment centre.
  • Case study exercises. These are common assessment centre tasks. You’d be set a business problem, typically related to the sector in which you’d be working, and asked to make recommendations for solving it, either individually or in groups. You’ll also usually be asked to outline your recommendations in either a presentation or in written form , a task that assesses your ability to explain your problem-solving approach.
  • In-tray (or e-tray) exercises. These always used to be set at an assessment centre but nowadays can also be part of the online testing stage. In-tray exercises primarily test your time management skills, but also assess your ability to identify a potential problem and take actions to solve it.
  • Job-specific or task-specific exercises, given at an assessment centre or at an interview. If set, these will be related to the role you are applying for and will either require you to devise a solution to a problem or to spot errors. Civil and structural engineering candidates , for example, will often be required to sketch a design in answer to a client’s brief and answer questions on it, while candidates for editorial roles may be asked to proofread copy or spot errors in page proofs (fully designed pages about to be published).

How to develop and demonstrate your problem-solving skills

Here are some tips on how to develop the problem-solving techniques employers look for.

Seek out opportunities to gain problem-solving examples

Dealing with any of the following situations will help you gain problem-solving skills, perhaps without even realising it:

  • Sorting out a technical problem with your phone, device or computer.
  • Resolving a dispute with a tricky landlord in order to get your deposit back.
  • Carrying out DIY.
  • Serving a demanding customer or resolving a complaint.
  • Finding a way round a funding shortfall in order to pay for travel or a gap year.
  • Turning around the finances or increasing the membership of a struggling student society.
  • Organising a student society’s trip overseas, overcoming unforeseen difficulties on the way.
  • Acting as a course rep or as a mentor for other students.

There should also be opportunities for you to develop problem-solving skills through your studies. Many assignments in subjects such as engineering and computer science are explicitly based around solving a problem in a way that, for example, essay topics in English literature aren’t. But, then, English literature students may also encounter academic problems, such as difficulties in tracking down the best source material.

Some professional bodies (for example, those in construction) run competitions for students, which often ask students to suggest solutions for problems facing the industry; entering these can provide good evidence of your problem-solving skills.

Games such as Sudoku and chess can also strengthen your ability to think strategically and creatively.

Practise recruitment exercises beforehand

Any candidate, no matter how high-flying, may be thrown by undertaking an online test or attending an assessment centre for the first time, so do everything you can to practise beforehand. Access our links to free and paid-for practice tests. Contact your careers service and book in for a mock-interview or mock-assessment centre.

Keep in mind this problem-solving technique

If you’re provided with a scenario or a case study during the graduate recruitment process, you could try using the IDEAL model, described by Bransford and Stein in their book Ideal Problem Solver . It breaks down what you need to do to solve a problem into stages:

  • Identify the issue
  • Define the obstacles
  • Examine your options
  • Act on an agreed course of action
  • Look at how it turns out, and whether any changes need to be made.

Give detail in your answers

You will need to explain how you identified the problem, came up with a solution and implemented it. Quantifiable results are good, and obviously the more complex the situation, the more impressive a successful result is. Follow the STAR technique outlined in our article on competency-based interview questions .

If you tackled a problem as part of a team, explain how your role was important in ensuring the positive solution, but also explain how your group worked together. This could be an opportunity to promote your teamworking skills as well.

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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As well as skills specific to the job you’re going for, employers are also looking for general job skills. These are sometimes called ‘employability skills’ or ‘soft skills’. These types of skills will make you stand out.

Even if you don’t think you have any job skills, you have these employability skills if you’re:

  • easy to get along with
  • open to learning new things.

These skills might not be listed in the position description, but they are common skills needed to do most jobs. It’s good to think about these skills when you’re preparing for a job interview .   

Different people define these skills in different ways, but generally they can be broken down into these eight categories:

  • communication
  • problem solving
  • initiative and enterprise
  • planning and organising
  • self-management
  • technology.

1. Communication

Depending on the job, communication means being clear about what you mean and what you want to achieve when you talk or write. It involves listening and being able to understand where someone else is coming from.

Communication skills also include non-verbal communication, such as the body language you use.

Examples of ways that you can develop or improve your communication skills include:

  • writing assignments and reports as part of your studies
  • blogging or using social media
  • making oral presentations as part of your class work
  • working in customer service (face-to-face or on the phone)
  • getting involved in a local club
  • being aware of how you hold your body.

2. Teamwork

Teamwork means being able to get along with the people you work with. It involves working together to achieve a shared goal.

Examples of ways that you can develop or improve your teamwork skills include:

  • doing group assignments as part of your studies
  • volunteering for a community organisation
  • thinking about how you can work better with other people at your workplace
  • joining a sporting team
  • organising with friends or family to have a neighbourhood working bee.

3. Problem solving

Problem solving means finding solutions when you’re faced with difficulties or setbacks. It involves being able to use a logical process to figure things out.

Examples of ways you can develop or improve your problem-solving skills include:

  • doing research assignments as part of your studies
  • dealing with complaints at your workplace
  • doing a study skills course that looks at problem solving
  • talking to other people about how they solved the problems they faced
  • fixing broken things around the house by looking up YouTube to find out how to do it.

4. Initiative and enterprise

Initiative and enterprise mean looking for things that need to be done and doing them without being asked. This can also involve thinking creatively to make improvements to the way things are done.

Examples of ways you can develop or improve your initiative and enterprise skills include:

  • approaching organisations and businesses about work placements or internships
  • setting up a fundraiser in your community
  • making or proposing changes to the way a group you belong to does things
  • doing things around the house without being asked.

5. Planning and organising

Planning and organising mean working out what you need to do, and how you'll do it. Planning and organising involve things like developing project timelines and meeting deadlines.

Examples of ways you can develop or improve your planning and organising skills include:

  • developing a study timetable and sticking to it
  • travelling by yourself overseas or interstate
  • managing your time around work, study and family commitments
  • helping to organise a community event
  • organising a family get-together.

6. Self-management

Self-management means:

  • being able to do your job without someone having to check up on you all the time
  • staying on top of your own deadlines
  • delegating tasks to other people to make sure things get done on time.

Examples of ways that you can develop or improve your self-management skills include:

  • doing a work experience placement or internship
  • asking for new responsibilities at work
  • developing a study schedule and sticking to it
  • joining a volunteer organisation
  • keeping your room tidy.

7. Learning

Learning is about wanting to understand new things and picking them up quickly. It also involves taking on new tasks and being able to adapt to change.

Examples of ways to develop or improve your learning skills include:

  • doing a short course or online course
  • researching skills and courses you’d like to do
  • starting a new hobby
  • joining a sporting or volunteer group
  • teaching yourself a new skill, like making the perfect omelette.

8. Technology

Technology skills mean being able to use a computer for word processing, using spreadsheets and sending email, or knowing how to use office equipment like a photocopier.

They also involve using social media, working with design or video editing software or knowing programming languages. Other technology skills relate to hardware, like knowing how to use EFTPOS, a cash register, a camera or a recording studio.

Examples of ways to develop or improve your technology skills include:

  • asking for extra training at work
  • finding out what technology is used in the job you want and how it’s used
  • making a list of all the technology you're already using in your day-to-day life.

Highlighting your skills

Now that you've identified the employability skills you have, and ways you can improve them, you need to highlight them in your job applications.

To find out more about applying for jobs, visit our Applying for a job  section. 

To find out how to highlight your skills in a job interview, visit our job interviews  section.

Monash University Careers -Developing Your Skills Advice on employability skills, general skill and suggestions on developing skills.

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