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Asked by Abbi on September 9, 2017

Research indicates that companies want their recent grads to be good problem solvers. How can I show a company on my resume or in an interview that I am a good critical thinker and a good problem solver. How do companies evaluate these skills in a person they do not know very well.

Answered by Merron, Hiring Expert at DuPont, on September 20, 2017

Very good questions. I’ll do my best to answer each of them… The first part of your question (how you can show a company that you’re a critical thinker/good problem-solver) can be addressed by writing a targeted cover letter. Ensure that you’re writing a cover letter specific to the job you’re applying for, not just a generic cover letter. This will give the hiring team some insight to your abilities and your competencies. How to write an effective cover letter is a lengthy topic in itself, so please be sure to research how to write an effective cover letter if you’re not sure.
During the interview, if the employer is asking behavioral-based interview questions, that is a fantastic opportunity to show your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. You’ll want to think of recent examples from your internships/work experience and describe 1.) the situation you were in, 2.) the actions you took, and 3.) the result/outcome and key learning's for each question that is asked. Companies typically evaluate candidates from the examples and answers provided during the interview process, and sometimes they'll perform reference checks as well.

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Answered by Eddie, Hiring Expert at Quest Diagnostics, on October 1, 2017

This is such a good question. The answer is RESULTS! For a recent grad, I would look for an indicator such as increasing productivity in a student organization. For instance, if I knew then what I know now, I would have included the percentage increase of membership in my college fraternity chapter on my resume. Another example would be showing the increase in funding for a student organization. Another indicator would be decreasing the time it takes to perform tasks on an internship or part-time job as a result of suggestions you make.

Showing results opens the door for you to explain to a recruiter or hiring manager the steps you took to help create success. You can use the good ol' S.T.A.R. method (give them the Situation, explain the Task, tell them what your Action was, and the Result of your work). Critical thinking or problem-solving often leads to results!

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