Add these skills to your CV to give yourself the competitive edge!

To get ahead professionally, you need more than a good application. You need a CV that showcases how you'll help to drive the business forward. That's where conceptual skills come into play. In the following guide, we will take a look at what they are, some examples you can use for inspiration, and how you can strengthen this unique set of talents. 

What are conceptual skills?

Before we dive in and take a look at some of the best conceptual skills, let's deal with the elephant in the room. What are they, anyway? Conceptual skills are here to help you to come up with solutions to challenges and problems within the workplace. 

That means that you can easily grasp new ideas and strategies and put them to work. Often enough, candidates forget to include these important skills when they're working on their CV. That's a mistake. Conceptual skills can help you to see the bigger picture when you work within a company. So, whenever you're working on a specific task, you can relate that to the aims of larger, long-term business goals. 

Conceptual skills examples

Now that you know what conceptual skills are, let's take a look at some you may want to include on your next application. Regardless of the job role and level to which you're applying, these skills will bolster your application. When hiring managers spot these golden nuggets, they make you stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. 

Ready to spice up your CV? To help you get started, we've listed 10 of the main conceptual skills you may want to consider and broken them into two clear categories.

Conceptual thinking skills 

When we talk about conceptual skills, it's important to note that many of these take place inside your own head. Before you pipe up with your genius ideas, you need to create them. Show recruiters that you have what it takes to strategise with the following skills: 

1. Decision-making 

If you have any level of autonomy in your role, you'll need to make snappy decisions that benefit the company. Whether that means deciding when to call a departmental meeting or choosing between marketing campaigns, you're in the driving seat. Decision-making isn't merely about the end result. To get to the right conclusion, you need to take logical steps, analyse the information you have, and use your own intelligence.

2. Problem-solving 

Problem-solving goes hand-in-hand with decision-making. Much of the time, when you're calling the shots, you will be dealing with a challenge or problem that has arisen. These two conceptual skills allow you to elevate yourself from mere worker to manager instantly. If you have the ability to overcome obstacles quickly, hiring managers will value that.

3. Creativity 

Creativity doesn't always mean grabbing a paintbrush and making a masterpiece. If you have a creative mind, you can use it to problem-solve in the workplace. Chances are, you've heard the phrase “think outside of the box.” While it's most certainly overused, there's truth in the idea that original thinkers can come up with innovative solutions.

4. Critical thinking 

Whenever you're approaching a problem, it's important to be logical and critical. You should find that countless ideas spring to mind. However, it's your job to sort the rubbish ones from the smart ones. To do just that, you'll need sharp critical thinking skills. When it comes to the best conceptual skills, you don't want to leave this one off your CV.  

5. Analytical skills 

Similar to critical thinking, your analytical skills allow you to look at the information in front of you, understand it, and process it. While some people have naturally analytical minds, the rest of us have to work hard to hone these skills and make them an everyday work habit. 

Conceptual leadership skills 

Conceptual skills also come into play when you're leading a group. As a manager or supervisor, you need to make sure that every staff member is kept fully in the loop. That's not always an easy job - especially when dealing with different characters. By employing some of the following key traits, you can make sure that everyone is on the same page. 

6. Presenting 

Let's say you've got a stellar idea that you've been concocting - how are you going to share it with the rest of the workforce? When you're spearheading a new solution, you need to make sure that you can get everybody else on board. The best way to do that is to present your master plan in an easy-to-digest way. With that in mind, having “presenting” listed as one of the conceptual skills on your CV could make a big difference. 

7. Communication 

You can walk the walk… but can you talk the talk? When you're working with a team of people, you need to be able to communicate clearly with them. This conceptual skill is vital no matter what level you're currently at. Few professionals work in absolute isolation. Getting the job done means collaborating with others and working towards a shared goal.

8. Interpersonal skills 

How do you get along with your teammates? Do you effortlessly build a rapport with staff members or, on the other hand, are your interactions cold? When you're trying to get the best out of people, you need to have excellent interpersonal skills. In simple terms, that means the ability to build good working relationships with everyone you meet. 

9. Motivational skills

When we're talking about conceptual skills, being motivational may not be the first thing that springs to mind. However, this is a vital talent that can help you to work well with a team. All too often, workers can get bored and tired of the humdrum nature of their jobs. As a leader, you have to keep them on track and show them the value of their efforts.  

10. Contextualising

It's one thing to understand complex ideas - it's quite another to put them into context for people. If your team is having a hard time getting to grips with a certain solution, you will need to show them how it aligns with the rest of the business processes. Whacking “contextualising skills” on your CV tells the hiring manager that you have this one down.

How to develop your conceptual skills 

If you feel as though you're lacking in conceptual skills, don't panic. No matter where you currently are, there are plenty of ways to strengthen your talents - you simply need to work at it. Here are some of the approaches that you can take to help you along the way.

Work closely with a mentor 

If you want to take a conceptual approach to your work, you need to get out of your department, mentally speaking. Working with a mentor can help you to better understand the role that you play within the business. It's worth looking for mentors within your ranks. For example, you may enlist the help of a manager, supervisor, or senior co-worker. 

Discuss ideas with others 

Do ideas stay within the confines of your mind? Or, as you should, do you share them with other professionals? One of the simplest ways that you can improve your conceptual skills is to have productive conversations with your coworkers. Start making a habit out of this. Whenever you're working in a large company, you need to sing from the same song sheet. The more time that you spend speaking to the people around you, the more in tune you will be.

Liaise with other departments

Inter-departmental working is the secret ingredient when it comes to conceptual skills. Departments have to work together to get the right results. If you're not already in the habit of liaising with people from other teams, it may be time to up your game. 

Make an effort to connect with other departments whenever you can. For instance, you might want to ask to attend company-wide meetings, say that you need more information about certain projects, or look for ways to collaborate with them. 

The takeaway  

Overlooking conceptual skills on your CV is an error. When you're looking for your next step on the career ladder, you need to ensure that your skills section is robust and diverse. In this guide, we've shared some conceptual skills examples you can use for inspiration. Take a look at the list and consider which ones you have in your professional arsenal. 

Looking for a way to get noticed professionally? Submit your CV for a free CV review to make sure that your application is optimised to turn hiring managers' heads. Boosting your CV may help you to land more interviews and get hired faster!

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