Problem solving is a key skill in life — and in most workplaces. Like any other soft skill, it belongs on your resume. The only question is, how do you prove it?
How to show problem solving skills on a resume
To effectively showcase problem solving skills on your resume, follow these steps:
- Look at the job ad. What kinds of problem solving skills are specifically mentioned? What key responsibilities are likely to involve problem solving?
- Make a list of these skills or responsibilities — this is what you’ll want to address in your resume.
- Think of a time when you’ve demonstrated each problem solving skill or been in a similar situation.
- Format that incident as an accomplishment by starting with a strong action verb.
- Be specific about what you did and what the end result was.
- Check in with a free resume scanner to see how your accomplishments score and what you can improve.
Here’s an easy formula you can use to make sure your bullet points are specific and action-focused:
Where to include problem solving skills on a resume
In your work experience
The work experience section of your resume is the best place for any soft skill — problem solving included. Choose examples of accomplishments that show how you’ve used these skills by outlining what the problem was, what action you took, and what the end result was.
Remember: The key is to be specific! For example, instead of:
- Solved problems causing long delivery times.
- Streamlined the implementation process and reduced the average product delivery time from 10 days to 4 days by redefining responsibilities and improving accountability of employees.
This specifies what the initial problem was, what action you took, and the end result. Use the formula [Action Verb] + [Accomplishment] + [Metric] to keep you on the right track.
In your skills section
- Data analysis
- Quality assurance
- Programming languages
- Loss prevention
In your resume summary and cover letter
If you’re applying for a role where you know that problem solving is an essential skill — like most management, data-driven, or customer-facing positions — you can emphasize your ability to solve problems in your resume summary or cover letter.
Do some research to identify the key issues facing the company, like streamlining inefficient business practices or expanding a small customer base, and highlight 2-3 skills or accomplishments related to those areas. Here's a simple example:
Synonyms for problem solving on a resume
Trying to avoid repetition? If you’re searching for another word for problem solving to use on a resume, these action verbs have you covered:
For even more suggestions, check out our list of resume action verbs for 2022.
Common resume phrases you can use to highlight problem solving skills
Looking for more ways to say that you’re a problem solver on a resume? Try these sample bullet points.
- Implemented customer service improvement solutions, resulting in an 8% increase in participant retention from 70% to 77%.
- Executed self-insured health plan including wellness benefits which saved the business in excess of $70K or 20% and influenced over 200 staff members to become healthier.
- Integrated and resolved audit findings that produced over $150k in positive error reductions.
- Maximized revenue by 45% by providing direct supervision and training to 10 managers to problem areas of the company.
- Developed a contingency plan during tough economic conditions to save $540K per year.
- Streamlined processes enabling the department to reduce the time needed to do month-end closing tasks by over 55%.
- Led multi-disciplinary 7 person team to design, develop, and launch online e-commerce store; prioritized and resolved 45+ new features and bug fixes.
- Responded to and managed 50+ inbound requests from members daily.
- Reduced double-booking and error rates by 45%, resulting in a $10,800 increase in yearly sales by developing a scheduling system to coordinate advertising space availability with Sales, Designers, and the Editorial team.
- Proposed a plan to reduce shrink, which increased work efficiency and customer services by over 75%.