Critical Thinking Definition, Skills and Examples

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Critical thinking is one of the most sought after qualities that employer seek in job candidates. In fact, there were almost 80,000 job postings on Indeed when I searched recently by the keywords "critical thinking."

Employers listed this skill as a job qualification in a broad range of job postings including both professional and non-professional positions. Regardless of the job for which you're applying, critical thinking skills will be an in-demand asset.

What  is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking involves the evaluation of information, data, facts, observable phenomenon or research findings. Good critical thinkers can draw reasonable conclusions from a set of information and discriminate between useful and less useful inputs for solving a problem or making a decision.  

Critical thinkers can synthesize a range of information and identify the most important elements for consideration.  Critical thinkers can present coherent reasons for adopting a position and debunk faulty reasoning regarding a proposal or assertion.  

Examples of Critical Thinking

  • A triage nurse would use critical thinking skills to analyze the cases at hand and decide the order in which the patients should be treated.  
  • A plumber would use critical thinking skills to evaluate which materials would best suit a particular job.  
  • An attorney would review the evidence and use critical thinking to help devise a strategy to win a case or to decide whether to settle out of court.  
  • A job seeker would use critical thinking to analyze a vacancy and decide whether to apply for a job. Then they would evaluate which of their assets as a candidate should be emphasized in an interview for that job. 

List of Critical Thinking Skills

  • Analysis
  • Clarification
  • Evaluation
  • Interpretation
  • Judgement
  • Objectivity
  • Problem Solving
  • Reasoning

Related: Creative Thinking | Problem Solving | Decision Making

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