Creative Thinking Skills: Definition, Examples & Creativity Tips (2022)

Creative thinking skills are important to master in many professions and workplaces.

On the face of it, “creativity” seems like a skill useful only to artists, designers, writers, or marketers.

Truth is—creative skills are indispensable for all professionals.

Creative thinkers are able to look at things in new, unorthodox ways and come up with solutions no one previously thought of.

Creativity is what drives innovation and progress.

And you came to the right place to learn all you need to know about creative thinking!

This guide will show you:

  • Examples of the best creative thinking skills.
  • What is creative thinking and how to use creativity skills to boost your career.
  • A list of the best jobs for creative thinkers and how to land them.
  • Creative thinking exercises to help you become more creative today.

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If you want to learn more about listing all of the most in-demand skills on a resume, see this beast of a guide: Best Job Skills You Should Put on a Resume to Land Interviews

And if you want to learn more about individual skills, we've got you covered! Check out our dedicated guides:

  • Key Hard Skills to Include on a Job-Winning Resume
  • Computer Skills Employers Want
  • Soft Skills vs Hard Skills for a Job: What Employers Look for

1

What Is Creative Thinking?

Creative thinking is a skill which lets you consider things from a fresh perspective and different angles. It's an inventive thought process which results in surprising conclusions and new ways of doing things. Creative thinking can be aided by brainstorming or lateral thinking to generate ideas.

Examples ofCreative Thinking Skills

Problem Solving

Tackling unexpected problems requires a lot of creativity. After all, employers want to hire creative thinkers not because of their creativity as such, but because they can use it to solve problems in an innovative way.

Creative Writing

One of the most typical yet in-demand creative skills. If you are able to write in a compelling, creative way, it will help you a great deal in marketing, sales and, obviously, journalism. But it will also come in handy in all other positions that require writing—even if you’re just drafting emails, reports, and presentations.

(Video) Creative Thinking: How to Increase the Dots to Connect

Open-Mindedness

When you’re open-minded, you oppose stereotypes and look for new solutions and methods of doing things, instead of sticking to good ol’ ways which might be no good after all.

Analysis

If you can gather information and data, that’s great but without creative thinking skills, you won’t be able to analyze it properly. Creativity in analytical thinking helps you extract meaning from sets of raw data.

See more:

Communication

No matter how great your ideas are, if you’re unable to communicate in an engaging and creative way, you’ll never get to implement them.

And there are different types of communication skills. Check them out here:

Active Listening

How can listening be considered “creative?” Well—through active listening you process ideas better so that you can challenge and refine them later during a creative brainstorming session.

Sales and Marketing

Selling and marketing require a great deal of persuasion. But first, you need to put together a creative message that will enhance your sales pitch.

Here’s all you need to know about marketing skills: Marketing Skills: Examples and How to Use Them

Graphic Design

Where creative thinking meets art. Artistic craftsmanship is important in graphic design but without fresh, creative ideas, even your most beautiful sketches and projects will be dull and lifeless.

Leadership

Leadership is all about inspiring others. But when you have great leadership skills based on big and creative ideas and visions, you are able to connect teams and motivate them to work together towards the end goal.

Before we move on to examples of how to use creative thinking skills in your workplace and how to show them off in the job search, one thing to keep in mind—

Two terms that people often conflate are creative and critical thinking skills. But these are not the same.

Creative vs. Critical Thinking

Creative thinking means you can come up with new ways to think about the surrounding world in order to make something innovative.

Critical thinking can be described as “thinking about thinking:” it means you can understand the way your perception works in order to identify flaws in your reasoning and avoid biases.

3

How to Use Creative Skills in Your Job Search

(Video) Creative thinking - how to get out of the box and generate ideas: Giovanni Corazza at TEDxRoma

Now that you’ve seen the best examples of creative thinking skills, think about how you can use these skills to better your career!

There are many great jobs that involve creativity—we’ve listed some of the most popular ones below.

If you’re interested in landing one of them, just click on the position name and you’ll see a dedicated guide on how to write a job-winning resume for your next creative gig.

Here’s a list of creative careers you might want to consider!

Jobs for Creative Thinkers

  • Academic Career
  • Acting
  • Bartending
  • Culinary Career (Chef or Cook)
  • Data Analysis
  • Data Science
  • Graphic Design
  • Interior Design
  • Management
  • Marketing and Marketing Management
  • Programming
  • Public Relations
  • Sales
  • Software Engineering
  • Teaching
  • UX/UI Design
  • Visual Art
  • Web Design
  • Writing

And what sorts of creative gigs are hot right now? Let’s see some statistics—

Recent research by The Creative Group revealed that the top 10 areas for creative hiring will be:

  1. Web and mobile development
  2. Web production
  3. User interface and interaction design
  4. Creative development
  5. Visual design
  6. User experience
  7. Digital marketing
  8. User research
  9. Art direction
  10. Social media / marketing strategy (tied)

Creative Thinking Skills on a Resume

If you don’t want to read whole in-depth guides but just need some inspiration for putting your creative skills on a resume, see some examples below.

Creative Thinking on a Resume—Writer/PR Specialist

  • Skilled at writing all types of Public Relations texts: press releases, blog posts, bulletins, emailing campaigns (outreach emails, sales emails, engagement emails).
  • Able to produce up to 1,500 words of great, unique content on a daily basis.

Creative Thinking on a Resume—Graphic Designer

  • Collaborated on a project to create layouts and images for written online content.
  • Contributed to a customer site that won a 2016 Shopify Ecommerce Design Award.

Creative Thinking on a Resume—UX/UI Designer

  • Spearheaded all design elements, templates, and brand consistency.
  • Boosted UX scores by 25% above average for the company.

Creative Thinking on a Resume—Marketing Manager

  • Supervised all stages of digital marketing, creative and operational.
  • Introduced an incentive-driven A/B testing competition among team members which resulted in increasing landing page conversions by 114% in 4 months.

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(Video) Focus & Creativity - Creative Thinking, Visualisation & Problem Solving - Binaural Beats & Iso Tones

Already landed an interview for a job that requires creative thinking skills? Be prepared to face some...

Creative Thinking Interview Questions

Recruiters and hiring managers won’t automatically believe everything you put on your resume. Especially when it comes to transferable soft skills such as creative thinking.

Be prepared to prove your creative prowess during an interview.

To get ready for what’s ahead of you, see these sample creative thinking interview questions and answers.

Describe a time when you had to think “outside the box” to solve a problem. How did you handle it?

My coworker let a big order of defective parts get all the way to shipping. That was bad and created a lot of scrap. After, I suggested we install mistake-proofing so it could never happen again. We created some dies with pins in them so the parts can only be put into the machines one way. We haven’t had a single defect since.

Tell me about a presentation you’ve created that you’re most proud of.

We had to convince a big client to go with a costlier alternative that would ultimately make them higher profits. I put together a demonstration based on 10 real-world applications. They not only went with our suggestion, they became a long-term client.

Tell me about a time you used writing and communication skills.

I wrote reports as part of my daily shift. I chose to prepare the reports based on single case studies and examples to better illustrate data. My department head frequently commented that my reports were the shortest and easiest to understand of all the officers.

Interview questions that test creative thinking skills are usually situational interview questions. You can learn more about them here: Situational Interview Questions and the Best Answers (30+ Examples)

3

How to Be More Creative: 5 Tips for Increasing Creativity Today

Most people tend to think that creativity is a gift. Something you’re either born with or just have to accept living without.

Truth it, there are ways to become creative. And creative thinking skills are one of the most fun skills to learn!

Here’s what you can do to boost creativity:

1. Step outside of your comfort zone

Research has proven that one of the biggest obstacles for creativity is working or thinking within ideas we’re already familiar with.

In an experiment, a group of college students were asked to imagine, sketch out, and describe extraterrestrial animals. As it turned out, most of the animals they initially created were very similar to the earthly ones.

But—

The more “limitations” researchers imposed on students (e.g. animals have to have feathers and be able to survive in certain conditions), the more creative the students’ ideas became.

When you’re facing a creative challenge, try to constrain your work to a certain level (for instance, when making a presentation, force yourself to begin each slide with a verb in active voice, or set a more stringent word count limit on your writing assignment).

This way, you’ll encourage your brain to come up with creative solutions to work around the limitations you’ve set for yourself.

2. Brainstorm

Brainstorming is a perfect combination of creative thinking skills and teamwork.

(Video) Power Tips: Critical and analytical thinking

It’s based on thinking about a solution to a problem or a creative task, and jotting down all ideas any member suggests—regardless of how preposterous or out-of-place these might seem.

Out of all the ideas, some will most likely be both possible and innovative. But you can add an interesting twist to brainstorming—

Instead of picking the best ideas and trying to develop them further, pick the worst ones. Then, focus on these ideas and try to find their good features. Or try to come up with solutions to transform a terrible idea into a good one.

I guarantee, you’ll find out something creative you’ll be able to transfer over to the good ideas.

3. Force yourself to work when you’re feeling uninspired

As a professional writer, I have to find ways to overcome writer’s block—otherwise, there would be weeks when I wouldn’t write a single word.

Even when you feel like creative work is the last thing you’re capable of on a given day, commit to doing it anyways, but work in limited, short periods of time (for example, 20 minutes).

During these periods, don’t let anything distract you, don’t try to do anything else—just work on the thing you’ve committed to do.

If you write only 5 words, draw just two lines, or note down a single idea that doesn’t even make sense, it’s fine. Once the 20 minutes are over, take a break. Whenever you feel ready, start another 20 minutes.

After a few iterations, you’ll notice that you get more and more done within the set chunk of time and you’ll no longer feel relieved when it’s time for a break. Soon, you’ll be back to your creative best.

4. Work, daydream, work

Many studies have suggested that disconnecting mentally, daydreaming, dancing, or even simply napping helps enhance creative thinking skills.

But there’s only one study I found that highlights a very important aspect of daydreaming: it only works once you’ve already invested a considerable amount of time in a given project.

The deeper you are in the creative process, the more unplugging for a while or daydreaming can help you further.

(So keep that in mind the next time you’ll feel like taking a nap as an excuse for leaving your workspace!)

5. Think about love (or sex)

A fascinating study has shown that thinking about romantic love helps enhance holistic thinking, thus, enabling us to be more creative when it comes to understanding a “grander scheme” of things.

Thinking about the experience of sexual encounters, in turn, boosts the perception of present, concrete details, letting us see and analyze patterns more sharply and quickly.

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here.Here's what it may look like:

Creative Thinking Skills: Definition, Examples & Creativity Tips (4)

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Key Takeaway

Here’s a quick recap of everything you need to know about creative thinking skills:

  • Examples of creative thinking skills include: problem solving, writing, visual art, communication skills, and open-mindedness.
  • Top areas for creative hiring will be: web and mobile development, web production, user interface and interaction design, creative development, and visual design.
  • To show your creative thinking skills on a resume or during a job interview, don’t just list them: provide real-life examples of how you used them.
  • The best strategies to increase creativity are: leaving your comfort zone, brainstorming, forcing yourself to overcome a creative block, unplugging mentally after you’ve begun working on a project, and... thinking about romantic love!

What creative thinking skills do you think are most important today? Do you have any questions about how to put creative thinking skills on a resume or discuss it during a job interview? Drop me a line in the comments and I’ll get back to you straight away!

FAQs

Creative Thinking Skills: Definition, Examples & Creativity Tips? ›

Examples of creative thinking skills include: problem solving, writing, visual art, communication skills, and open-mindedness. Top areas for creative hiring will be: web and mobile development, web production, user interface and interaction design, creative development, and visual design.

What are the 7 creative thinking skills? ›

Some of the best examples of creative thinking skills may include: lateral-thinking, visual reading, out-of-the-box thinking, copywriting, artistic creativity, problem-solving, analytical mind, and divergent thinking.

What are the 5 creative thinking skills? ›

Aesthetic thinking, divergent thinking, lateral thinking, convergent thinking, and inspirational thinking are five types of innovative thinking to get the ball rolling. Divergent and convergent thinking are the most common ways to foster more creative thought.

What are creativity skills? ›

Creative thinking is the ability to consider something in a new way. Creative thinking includes analysis, open-mindedness, problem-solving, organization, and communication. Many employers value creative thinkers, so consider highlighting your creative thinking skills on your resume and in interviews.

What is the definition of creative thinking? ›

ACER defines creative thinking as: the capacity to generate many different kinds of ideas, manipulate ideas in unusual ways and make unconventional connections in order to outline novel possibilities that have the potential to elegantly meet a given purpose.

What is creativity example? ›

The definition of creativity is the ability to come up with new and exciting ideas. When Apple Computer comes up with a brand new product such as the iPod that no one has ever thought of before, this is an example of creativity. When a painter creates a beautiful work of art, this is an example of creativity.

Why creative is important? ›

Creativity allows us to view and solve problems more openly and with innovation. Creativity opens the mind. A society that has lost touch with its creative side is an imprisoned society, in that generations of people may be closed minded. It broadens our perspectives and can help us overcome prejudices.

What is your creativity? ›

What is creativity? Creativity is the act of generating new, imaginative ideas. It is often beneficial for solving problems and communicating with others in the workplace. Creativity can involve identifying patterns, making connections between things that are normally not related and thinking of new ideas.

How do you create creativity? ›

7 Tips for Creativity
  1. Practice. It may sound obvious, but practice is essential for creativity. ...
  2. Discover Quality in Quantity. Creativity is not about perfection. ...
  3. Look to the Ordinary. ...
  4. Collaborate With Others. ...
  5. Experiment With Different Styles. ...
  6. Have Confidence. ...
  7. Give Your Brain a Refresh.
Sep 6, 2021

How can I improve my creativity skills? ›

8 Ways You Could Boost Your Creativity:
  1. Keep learning. ...
  2. Do what you love. ...
  3. Take a break. ...
  4. Get some exercise. ...
  5. Find the conditions that make you most creative. ...
  6. Make time for creativity. ...
  7. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback. ...
  8. Collaborate with others.

What are the different types of creativity? ›

There are 4 types of creativity: deliberate, cognitive; deliberate, emotional; spontaneous, cognitive; and spontaneous, emotional (Dietrich 2004).

What are examples of skills? ›

They can be soft skills, such as problem-solving abilities, effective communication, or time management, or hard skills, like speed typing, using Powerpoint or Excel. Feel free to include any universal skills even if they're not specifically required or mentioned in the job description.

Why is creativity important in education? ›

Creativity lights up the brain.

Teachers who frequently assign classwork involving creativity are more likely to observe higher-order cognitive skills — problem solving, critical thinking, making connections between subjects — in their students.

What is creative thinking PDF? ›

A definition of creativeness is defined as a way to seem at and solve problems from. singular perspective, avoiding orthodox solutions and thinking outside the box. This creative.

How can I improve my creativity skills? ›

8 Ways You Could Boost Your Creativity:
  1. Keep learning. ...
  2. Do what you love. ...
  3. Take a break. ...
  4. Get some exercise. ...
  5. Find the conditions that make you most creative. ...
  6. Make time for creativity. ...
  7. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback. ...
  8. Collaborate with others.

What is another word for creative thinking? ›

fecundity, design, inventiveness, innovation, vision, ingeniousness, flight, ingenuity, cleverness, wizardry, imagination, conception, imaginativeness, genius, excogitation, fruitfulness, invention.

How can students develop creative thinking skills? ›

How can you encourage creativity in the classroom?
  1. Choose a flexible classroom layout. ...
  2. Follow a classroom theme. ...
  3. Create a classroom library. ...
  4. Visualize ideas and goals. ...
  5. Create opportunities for reflection. ...
  6. Display inspirational quotes. ...
  7. Enliven your virtual classroom. ...
  8. Take your teaching outside.

Videos

1. what is creative thinking |Creative Thinking Skills| Creative thinking techniques || SimplyInfo.net
(SimplyInfo)
2. Teaching Creative Thinking Skills // Master Books Homeschool Teaching Tips
(Master Books)
3. Jordan Peterson - The Best Way To Learn Critical Thinking
(Bite-sized Philosophy)
4. Using Brain Teasers to Build Critical Thinking Skills
(GCFLearnFree.org)
5. BOOST CREATIVITY: 7 Creative Thinking Techniques for Success
(Inspiration Abode)
6. Classical Music for Brain Power - Mozart
(HALIDONMUSIC)

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