Critical Thinking as a Competitive Advantage in Career Development

11 March 2022
Nataliya Redina, New York College Psychology Instructor and Human Resources specialist
Critical Thinking as a Competitive Advantage in Career Development

The employment market changed radically after the rapid digitalization that took place in an effort to not let the economy to collapse and to preserve human interaction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost all interaction started to take place virtually, the local markets opened their horizons with the aim of one united global employment market. The whole world realized that regardless of whether you live in Singapore or in Russia, you can be a valuable colleague in a company based in London or in Greece. The world’s most innovative workplaces now open their horizons to include international talent and embrace the limitless interaction and creative potential of professionals.

But what changes does this market globalization bring to what we knew, until now, about soft skills and hard skills?

Work related skills such as Independence, Self-Motivation, Cultural awareness and Flexibility / Adaptability and – above all - Critical Thinking have became “top priority” in a market that is constantly changing. Some years ago, it was enough to simply know your duties and to strictly follow instructions in order to follow a quite successful career path. That recipe rapidly collapsed as companies realized that what is needed now is not just people following guidance but for people to invent new guidelines them from scratch as required by global changes.

As a consequence of the above, Organizational Psychologists, Human Resources Managers or other professionals dealing with new employees, shifted their focus to assessing the ability of the candidate to think critically. Often this skill is more important than previous work experience. But what is Critical Thinking? How people develop such a skill? How can recruiters recognize this skill? Does a person they have it themselves in order to recognize it in others? Probably you require critical thinking skills in order to reply to these questions!

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively, persistently and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. Each term mentioned above can be analyzed according to its own definition. But it is complex to practice something when it is not very specific or easily measurable.

Try to remember just one thing: all things have different perspectives, so try to see them from as many angles as you can! How?

  • Stay curious
  • Listen whenever people have something to share with you
  • Always be open to the possibility of changing your opinion
  • Experiment with solutions you have not tried before
  • Take risks (within reason)
  • Ask for help and advice
  • Seek out new challenges
  • Read, research and ask others for explanations
  • Last, but not least, filter what you collect through a prism of respect and acceptance of different attitudes.

This is a cycle that never stops. One day you will be interviewed for your dream job and you will receive the feedback “We consider your critical thinking skills an asset for our company and we are happy to offer you the position”.

As you can see, Critical Thinking is not just a skill you need to demonstrate to good feedback during your studies. It is an attitude to life. Embrace it!


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