What is Creative Thinking? Definition and Examples of Skills

Creative thinking skills will help you look at things from unexpected angles and help you devise novel solutions to workplace problems. Keep scrolling to learn more about them.

Bart Turczynski
Editor-in-Chief
What is Creative Thinking? Definition and Examples of Skills

Definition: Creative thinking is a core soft skill that lets you evaluate workplace obstacles through a unique perspective and find unorthodox solutions. It could be excavating new insights from an existing dataset or generally tackling a task in an innovative fashion.

While you might think creativity is only critical for web designers, content writers, or marketers, creative skills are indispensable for all working professionals. After all, employers want their employees to be original thinkers who can spark and drive innovation.

 

But—

 

Many of us aren’t gifted with the creativity gene. If you’re one of them, don’t fret.

 

In this guide, you’ll see:

 

  • A creative thinking skills definition.
  • A list of strong creative thinking skills examples.
  • How to improve your creative thinking skills.
  • How to add creative thinking skills to your resume.

 

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And once you’ve perfected your creative thinking skills, check our selection of other resume writing guides.

 

 

Check out more skills guides:

 

 

Creative Thinking Skills on a Resume Example

 

Allen Walker

Copywriter

 

Personal Info

 

Phone: 609-216-4589

E-mail: allenwalker@gnail.com

linkedin.com/in/allenwalker

 

Summary

 

Accomplished copywriter with 5+ years of experience in creating promotional and marketing copies. Looking for new ways to promote the brand and its services at Impact Networking LLC. At NexRep, managed the social media ad content of 3 different clients with more than 10k followers, and examined a comprehensive list of prospects to generate leads for the company.

 

Experience 

 

Copywriter

NexRep, Los Angeles, CA

September 2018–May 2021

  • Worked with a group of designers to create and implement a new marketing campaign for the company's first customer.
  • Created promotional content on Facebook and Instagram for a start-up client, resulting in 497 sales in the first week.
  • Managed the social media ad content of 3 different clients with over 10k followers.
  • Examined a comprehensive database of over 200 patrons and prospects to generate leads for the company.
  • Took part in a number of creative and marketing efforts to improve brand visibility and attract new business.

 

Copywriter

Siarza Social Digital, Los Angeles, CA

April 2016–September 2018

  • Utilized SEO strategies and increased the company's site traffic by 20%.
  • Analyzed every component of advertising efforts to ensure that they were of the greatest quality and consistency.
  • Increased new and repeat visitors by optimizing and managing the content on the landing pages for different clients.

 

Education 

 

Manhattanville College, BA in Computer Science

2012–2016

  • Member of Poets Society club (2014-2016)

 

Certifications

 

  • The Writer’s Bureau Copywriting Certification
  • SEO Certification (Coursera)

 

Awards

 

  • Rock Star Award, NexRep, December 2020
  • Rock Star Award, NexRep, December 2019

 

Additional Activities

 

  • Attending the weekly local yoga and meditation group
  • Listening to podcasts via Castbox

 

Key Skills

 

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication
  • Research and analytical skills
  • Open-mindedness
  • Efficiency
  • Friendliness
  • Time management
  • Social media management
  • Microsoft Word/Google Docs
  • Canva
  • Google Trends
  • Maintaining product knowledge

 

1. Why Are Creative Thinking Skills Important?

 

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution gaining ground rapidly, bleeding-edge tech like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and cloud computing render many repetitive jobs automated.

 

As a result, employers expect working professionals to grow more creative to benefit from the avalanche of these changes. 

 

In fact, companies now favor employees who can generate innovation in the workplace, whether by finding new approaches to lifting existing roadblocks, engineering new products that can fill an untaken niche, or coming up with ways to address customers’ biggest pain points. 

 

In the end, it can help businesses get the upper hand over the competition and see tangible improvements in their bottom line.

 

But it’s not just businesses that can benefit from creativity. You can too. Creative thinking has been cited as one of the most sought-after life and work skills. Develop your skills in this area and you’ll significantly up your game, both professionally and personally.

 

So—

 

Regardless of the sector, having creativity in your arsenal of soft skills can make you a more appealing candidate and generally elevate your hireability.

 

2. Top Creative Thinking Skills Examples

 

At this stage, you know creative thinking skills are essential for career success.

 

Now—

 

Let’s look at a list of eight creative thinking skills examples to help you stand out in the job market.

 

1. Problem Solving

 

As a working professional, you’ll inevitably face unexpected problems that require a lot of creativity and out-of-the-box solutions. So, you need to be able to jump to new methods of resolution and turn a problem into a favorable situation.

 

2. Analytical Thinking

 

Most office jobs require data analysis skills. But while you might be able to gather information, you’ll need creative thinking skills to analyze it and make sense of it.

 

3. Self Reflection

 

Once you’ve come up with a creative solution, you’ll then need to take time to reflect on it. That involves giving yourself a sound assessment of how well your idea worked and acknowledging what didn’t live up to your expectations. One of the reasons self-reflection is a key creative thinking skill is because it lets you take what you’ve learned and apply it to your next projects.

 

4. Open Mindedness

 

This is a big one. When you’re open-minded, you tend to look for novel solutions and ways of doing things rather than stereotyping or sticking to old methods that are no longer effective. 

 

5. Verbal communication

 

Creative thinking skills and verbal communication are closely linked. You might come up with the most innovative idea, but if you fail to communicate it and convince others, there’s a good chance you won’t implement it. So, it’s important to have the eloquence that helps move forward with your plans.

Expert Hint: To be more eloquent and convincing, choose your words carefully. To do it, use short and simple vocabulary and generally opt for less complex sentences.

6. Creative Writing

 

Followed by verbal communication, it’s one of the most typical creative skills. If you work in sales, marketing, or journalism, knowing how to write compelling copy can help a lot. That said, creative writing will also be beneficial in other roles that generally require writing competencies, even it’s just penning emails or reports.

 

7. Listening

 

Before implementing your creative ideas, it’s vital to collect input from other team members, be open to a discussion, and generally be receptive to your manager’s and colleagues’ viewpoints.

 

8. Leadership

 

When you have strong leadership skills coupled with creative ideas and a vision for the future, you can connect, inspire, and motivate others to work together toward common goals. This also involves your ability to organize work to ensure each team member knows their role in the grand scheme of things.

 

3. How to Include Creative Thinking Skills on Your Resume

 

As mentioned earlier, each of us needs creative thinking skills, no matter what position we apply for.

 

So—

 

When you get around to writing your resume, be sure to spotlight your creative thinking skills to prospective employers.

 

Here are some pointers to help you:

 

1. Start off with a Resume Profile

 

Your resume profile section (also known as a career summary or career objective) is likely the first section the employer will check. So, it’s important to showcase your creative thinking skills to succeed at the job. Here’s how to add them to your resume summary.

 

Creative Thinking Skills in the Resume Summary

Good example

Summary

 

Accomplished copywriter with 5+ years of experience in creating promotional and marketing copies. Looking for new ways to promote the brand and its services at Impact Networking LLC. At NexRep, managed the social media ad content of 3 different clients with more than 10k followers, and examined a comprehensive list of prospects to generate leads for the company.

2. Turbocharge Your Work Experience Section

 

Another critical component of your resume is the work experience section. That’s where hiring managers will spend most of their time evaluating your fit for the job. Here, you want to highlight your creative thinking skills, so you don’t get the “thanks but no thanks” email from the HR department.

 

Have a look at the three resume tips below to get this section right, followed by an example:

 

  • Write down your professional wins from past tenures that were made possible by your creativity. If you can use numbers, that’s a big plus.
  • When going over achievements, don’t say what you did. Instead, mention how well you did.
  • For each bullet point, opt for a powerful action verb (e.g., “devised,” “implemented,”) in preference to weak and often meaningless phrases like “responsible for” or “assisted with.”

 

Job Description with Creative Thinking Skills

Good example

Experience 

 

Copywriter

NexRep, Los Angeles, CA

September 2018–May 2021

  • Worked with a group of designers to create and implement a new marketing campaign for the company's first customer.
  • Created promotional content on Facebook and Instagram for a start-up client, resulting in 497 sales in the first week.
  • Managed the social media ad content of 3 different clients with over 10k followers.
  • Examined a comprehensive database of over 200 patrons and prospects to generate leads for the company.
  • Took part in a number of creative and marketing efforts to improve brand visibility and attract new business.

3. Make Your Education Section Stand Out

 

If you’re a recent graduate writing a resume without much tangible experience, you need to put in some extra effort into your education section to make up for the lack thereof. To do it, add your GPA, mention extracurricular activities you took part in, and feature individual modules you studied.

 

Creative Thinking Skills in the Education Section

Good example

Education 

 

Manhattanville College, BA in Computer Science

2012–2016

  • Member of Poets Society club (2014-2016).

 

Certifications

 

  • The Writer’s Bureau Copywriting Certification
  • SEO Certification (Coursera)

4. Make the Most Of Your Skills Section

 

If you’re an experienced candidate, you’ve likely accumulated a ton of hard and soft skills in your career. As a result, you might be tempted to list them all on your resume document to prove your competence. But that could make your resume look crammed with text. Instead, it’s better to make your skills section focused.

 

Below are a few tips:

 

  • For each and every job you apply for, you need a custom resume that fits that particular job ad like a plug in a socket. Otherwise, an applicant tracking system (ATS) might reject you. To tailor your resume, go over the job ad and note the skills the employer is after. Then, sprinkle the skills you found over your resume.
  • Consider crafting a brief statement for each skill that gives more info to the employer about why you’re good at it.

 

Creative Thinking in the Skills Section

Good example

Key Skills

 

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication
  • Research and analytical skills
  • Open-mindedness
  • Efficiency
  • Friendliness
  • Time management
  • Social media management
  • Microsoft Word/Google Docs
  • Canva
  • Google Trends
  • Maintaining product knowledge

5. Add Additional Sections

 

If you want to win a few extra points from the employer, you may want to add several additional sections to your resume. For example,

 

  • Add a language section if you speak more than one language. It’s a valuable communication skill that can help convince others to move forward with your creative plan, particularly in the language-diverse workplace.
  • If you have hobbies or interests that are related to the job or that showcase your creative thinking skills, make sure to list them too. For instance, if you have a YouTube channel, let recruiters know because running a video blog requires a ton of creativity.

 

Creative Thinking Skills in the Extra Sections

Good example

Awards

 

  • Rock Star Award, NexRep, December 2020

 

Additional Activities

 

  • Active blogger, www.kleverity.com
  • Listening to podcasts via Castbox

Expert Hint: Don’t forget to spotlight your creative thinking skills when writing a cover letter. While you might feel they are becoming a thing of the past, a full 83% of HR pros still consider cover letters necessary.

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4. How to Improve Your Creative Thinking Skills

 

Don’t worry if your creative thinking skills aren’t up to scratch. With a little practice, you’ll improve your creative thinking and boost your employability to boot.

 

1. Brainstorm with Others

 

Brainstorming is a great way to generate new ideas and exercise your creativity. That’s especially true if you have a large team, as each member will have unique insights and perspectives to bring to the table, presenting you with a variety of solutions. 

 

If you want to take it a step further, pick the worst ideas and work with others to transform them into good ones rather than going with the most popular solutions.

 

2. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

 

While the above statement might sound cliché, data suggests that operating within ideas we’re familiar with is one of the most significant obstacles to creativity

 

So, next time you’re faced with a challenge at work, try setting limitations for yourself that will encourage your brain to be creative. For instance, you could set a stringent time limit for your next presentation or force yourself to stick to active verbs exclusively (vs. passive ones) in your article.

 

3. Engage in Strategic Boredom

 

Most working professionals don’t think of boredom as a good thing. But strategic boredom can launch your creativity into the stratosphere. 

 

When you unplug and engage in an activity that requires minor or no concentration—e.g., walking a familiar route or swimming laps—you get to recharge your mental batteries, and as a result, allow for new ideas to arise. 

 

4. Research Regularly

 

More often than not, running some casual research on Google about anything can help boost your creativity or present you with a new idea, even if the topic of your research is seemingly unrelated to the problem at hand. 

 

So, make a habit of continually picking up as many short pieces of advice as you humanly can. Get your hands, ears, and eyes on relevant industry online courses, webinars, podcasts, TED Talks, business books, etc. 

 

Once you’ve created a framework that lets you devour knowledge on autopilot, you’ll become much more creative.

Expert Hint: Keep in mind that research can mean anything, ranging from running simple Google keyword searches to reading a book.

5. Stay Positive

 

Throughout your career, you’re bound to encounter setbacks. Worse, some of your ideas won’t pan out regardless of how innovative they might have seemed. That said, it’s essential to accept and see failures through the lens of the temporary rather than permanent. 

 

After all, if you set your best foot forward, you’ll eventually achieve success and when that happens, have the confidence to give yourself credit where it’s due.

 

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Key Points

  

Having robust creative thinking skills is paramount for success in almost every position, regardless of your line of work.

 

So—

 

Put your best foot forward to improve your creative thinking skills and accelerate your career. It’ll help you come up with unconventional ideas to solve workplace problems and generally drive innovation.

 

Lastly, add examples of creative thinking skills to your resume to help your candidacy stand out.

 

Thanks for reading. If you’re still struggling with creative thinking skills or just need some advice on adding them to your resume, let us know in the comments section below. We’re here to help.

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Bart Turczynski
Editor-in-chief at Zety since 2016. His career advice and commentary has been published by the Financial Times, Hewlett-Packard, CareerBuilder, and Glassdoor, among others. With a strong passion for statistics and a background in psychology, Bart makes sure all the advice published on Zety is data-driven.

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