10 Ways to Improve Analytical Skills.

Tips to improve analytical skills

In such fast-paced working environments, having high-level analytical abilities is an absolute must. Employees are expected to think on their feet, solve problems and analyze data in real-time. We’ve put together a list of 10 ways to improve analytical skills.

To do all these things and achieve professional success, it’s in a person’s best interest to continuously seek ways to improve.

Here we’ve listed 10 ways to improve analytical skills. and, as a result, not just improve your career but also create greater efficiency in all areas of your life.

1. Read More Frequently

A good way to start expanding your analytical skills is through the power of the written word. Indeed, the more you expose yourself to different ideas, the more you’ll increase your own cognitive abilities. The trick, however, is to not skim over pages.

When reading a book, magazine or article, you should think about the overall plot, take note of each character in the story and think about other possible scenarios. This will stimulate deep thinking and force you to test your logic and broaden your imagination.  All of which strengthen your mind’s ability to think analytically. 

2. Listen to Podcasts

If you commute to work daily and spend hours behind the wheel, this is an exceptional portion of time to activate brainpower.  Thought-provoking podcasts increase your critical thinking skills while on the road.  And, if you happen to be in a highly competitive industry, podcasts are a great way to stay up to date on current happenings.

Podcasts?  There’s an app for that! These days it seems the boom in podcast hosts is peaking. There is huge exposure available to opinions and expert advice in just about all industries. 

A few good podcasts worth listening to include Developer Tea, Broken Brain, Applying Awareness and TED Radio Hour, all of which will offer useful tips for stimulating creativity and challenging your thoughts and ideas. All of which, ultimately, help you enhance mental capacity.

3. Exercise

With everything we’ve learned about exercise in modern times, it’s no stretch to understand that moving the body is good for the mind.

The type of exercise you choose to do is entirely up to you, but taking a tai chi or Zumba class might be a good idea. You will need to memorize steps and sequences as well as focus on executing them in a controlled manner, effectively challenging both your analytical thinking skills and your physical stamina. 

4. Play Brain Games

Brain games like Sudoku, chess, backgammon, and Scrabble can help expand your critical thinking skills. It’s true, just 15 minutes a day of playtime can increase your mental stimulation and improve your analytical skills. 

Bonus points: The best part is that they are fun and they can be used as bonding experiences. 

So, instead of sitting in front of the TV all evening, play a brain game with your family and monitor your improvement over time. And if you can’t get anyone to play with you, don’t worry: ask google about Lumosity. It has plenty of brain games designed to encourage your thinking.

5. Surround Yourself with Different Personalities

If you socialize in a small circle, you’ll most likely discuss the same topics day in and day out. 

Although it’s not bad to have a tight-knit group, it’s important to surround yourself with people that you wouldn’t normally socialize with. These are the people that will spark your imagination and offer you a new and different perspective. 

If you’re not sure where to meet different people, start by attending networking events and engaging with everyone you meet there. You’ll be surprised by the effect that others can have on your analytical abilities.

6. Learn Something New Every Day

After graduating from high school or university, most people become passive when it comes to testing themselves and learning new things. Once we are comfortable in our careers and know what we are good at it, we tend to put a pause on learning. 

Try to learn something new every day; whether it’s a feature on your phone or a new recipe, it’s essential to keep testing yourself and gaining new skills.

7. Take an Online Course

This could be a short LinkedIn or Udemy course!  It doesn’t need to be extensive. Try to take courses in subjects that you aren’t very familiar with or good at. For example, not many people are born Excel gurus, but with time and dedication, you can master the use of formulas and cells and become an Excel expert yourself. 

The point is to expand your knowledge and challenge yourself with topics you don’t have any prior experience in.

8. Join a Book Club

We mentioned earlier that reading is a great way to increase cognitive abilities, but why not take it one step further by joining a book club?

You’ll not only be engaged in stories that you wouldn’t usually take a second look at but also challenge your thinking by analyzing the book and discussing it with fellow club members. You’ll also hear a different perspective and make new friends in the process!

9. Ask Questions

Curiosity drives us to be more motivated, intelligent and creative. The questions that we ask encourage us to pursue different outlets and methods, forcing us to compare what we previously thought and come to a logical solution. So, when you’re next interested in a topic, don’t be afraid to ask questions. After all, the more knowledge you soak up, the better your analytical skills will become.

10. Be Observant

When you’re observant, you tend to notice more around you, and this sparks your critical thinking. We often focus on getting things done quickly rather than slowing down and focusing on the details. But it’s important to take time to watch how others behave; doing so might even help you find new methods of dealing with any problems you might face. 

Pursuing a Career in Data

Pursuing career in data

Over the years skilled data analysts have become one of the most sought-after professionals in the world. The reasoning? Supply and Demand. With the mass increase in companies relying on data as a business tool, the need for analysts has boomed. As a result, trends are in favor of those pursuing a career in data.

The pool of educated and experienced data analysts is limited.

On the supply side of the equation, there has been a consistent lack of skilled and experienced professionals to fill the increasing demand. Due to this shortage, even at the entry-level, data analysts can command huge salaries and excellent perks.

What do Data Analysts do?

Right now, some of the top jobs in data analysis involve helping employers make investment decisions, target customers, assess risks or help decide on capital allocations.

As data analysts, you probe through mountains of data to spot trends, make forecasts, and extract information. This, in turn, helps employers make better-informed business decisions. 

The career path a data analyst can take depends, in large part, on what industry holds there interest. As a result, they could work at big investment banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms. They could also work in health care, marketing, retail, and/or insurance.

In general, data analysts are everywhere.

As a matter of fact, financial institutions such as investment banks are a great entry-level career direction. Doors to management can be opened when highly-skilled data analysts excel in this area.

After all, who better to shepherd new hires into the company than you?

Tech companies are big business.

Big tech companies such as Facebook and Google analyze big data to a dizzying degree. To do so, they employ many of the top data analysts for a variety of purposes including advertising and internal and user analysis.

Moreover, it’s widely known that technology changes rapidly.

Due to this, the structural dynamics of tech companies are constantly evolving. New departments are created that incorporate new challenges and pursue new market opportunities.

Data analysts who excel in their existing tech roles are oftentimes the first chosen as leaders of these newly created departments. 

Data Analyst – Education

For those interested in pursuing a career in data, the majority of colleges in the US offer data analytics or data science as both a major or minor. Beyond the bachelor’s degree, there’s also a vast number of data science master’s programs.

That being said, if you’re interested in building your skills in a more flexible or shorter timeframe there are also multiple certification programs and courses available from a variety of educational institutions.

Graduating from a data analysis program with a strong grade point average should lead to an entry-level data analysis position without much trouble.

Alternatively, even a less-focused degree in mathematics, statistics or economics is enough to get your foot in the door.

Data Analyst – Annual Compensation

Some of the top jobs in data analysis can reach as high $100,000 annually during the first year out of college. Experienced professionals are making double that or more.

With that in mind, education is often the most important thing on your resume when applying for a data analyst job. Few people get hired without strong academic performances in math-related fields of study.

Data Analyst Career Paths

Overall, data analysts are good at working with numbers and details. Additionally, they are confident and organized in managing multiple tasks, data programs, and data flows.

You’ll also have strong presentation skills. Typically, with this role, you are required to present your analysis visually and/or orally on a regular basis.

A solid rule, pick an industry that sparks interest. Then pursue the education that backs you up. As mentioned, data analysts are in great demand. Choose wisely and have fun pursuing a career in data.

14 Potential Career Directions:

  • Business analyst
  • Management reporting
  • Corporate strategy analyst
  • Compensation and benefits analyst
  • Budget analyst
  • Insurance underwriting analyst
  • Actuary
  • Sales analytic
  • Web analytics
  • Fraud analytics
  • Credit analytics
  • Business product analyst
  • Social media data analyst
  • Machine learning analyst

For resume guidance, our team at PWU offers Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization, Interview Coaching, and Recruitment Services. 

Connect with us here for a free 15-minute consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

What Executive Presence Really Is

Executive Presence

In 2014, Sylvia Ann Hewlett and her team huddled over an extensive collection of data drawn from 14 sectors of corporate America. The goal was to identify, at the corporate level, what Executive Presence really is and why we need it.  

What the data reflected was that Executive Presence is not so much about performance. It’s not about what you do when ‘delivering the goods’ or ‘hitting the numbers’.  It’s about what you signal. 

Executive Presence or EP. What is it and where do I get some?

In the simplest terms, executive presence is about the ability to inspire confidence. It includes first impressions of appearance, interpersonal communication skills, and body language.  Executive presence consists of effective listening, effectively maneuvering through office politics and exuding authentic charisma. 

As a leader, you inspire confidence by showing that you are capable and reliable. Which is critical to being trustworthy of supporters.  By contrast, inspiring confidence with your own superiors shows that you have the potential for greater achievements in career growth.

The 3 Main Pillars of Executive Presence

As part of the 2014 study, the group singled out 3 main traits associated with EP.

#1. Gravitas

Gravitas is the projection of credibility and assertiveness with the confidence to convey a clear message.  In comparison, gravitas is the way of signaling impact in a compelling manner.

As an example, the study asked senior leaders who they saw as career role models.  Significantly, the #1 role model identified was Nelson Mandala.  A man that earned his placement through sincerity and understanding the power of symbolism.  Nelson Mandala had gravitas in spades and showed it by routinely connecting at a very human level.

#2. Communication

Communication includes the ability to read an audience. To assess a complex situation and act accordingly. This is the ability to command a room. It’s what you say, when you say it, how you say it, and to whom you say it. Communication is also portrayed through the masterful use of body language and concise speaking skills.

These skills combined show you’re able to communicate the authority of a leader.

#3. Appearance

While the data showed appearance to be the smaller piece of the puzzle, it is still worth significant attention. Appearance is commonly referred to as “looking the part.”

By taking the time to look and feel your best, it shows consideration and respect toward the people you interact with. Appearance also includes dressing appropriately for the environment and occasion which in a corporate setting carries high-level importance.

Why You Need Executive Presence

Ultimately, executive presence determines whether you gain access to opportunity.

There’s a saying in leadership, “All the important decisions about you will be made when you’re not in the room.” It’s true. In particular, whether it’s a decision about an important opportunity, a promotion to a critical role or an assignment to a high-visibility project, it’s likely that you won’t be in the room.

Therefore, the opportunities you gain access to depend on the confidence you’ve already inspired in the decision-makers. Additionally, the more significant the opportunity, the more important executive presence becomes.

How To Build Your Executive Presence

As with any other skill, some people are naturally more gifted at executive presence than others. That being said, everyone can improve their EP with focus and practice.

Cultivate a foundation of quiet confidence.

At its core, executive presence is about confidence, yet “the more confidence the better” isn’t always the way. Presence is confidence without arrogance.

Sadly, confidence is often confused with cockiness however, the truly “present” executive is one who doesn’t need to trumpet his achievements. Instead, he or she has an internal resolve driven by a solid sense of self-worth. As a result, they have learned healthy, effective ways of dealing with challenges and relationships.

Key points to focus on while developing your own executive presence:

  • Learn to operate effectively under stress.
  • Become an excellent listener. 
  • Build your communication skills.
  • Understand how others experience you.
  • Have a vision, and articulate it well.

Most importantly, find your voice as an executive.

Identify your assets and leverage them to the max. Some people are naturally gregarious and can fill a room with their personality. Others rely on their listening ability, sense of timing, and ability to maintain their composure when others get emotional.

In an increasingly diverse world, executive presence will look very different from one executive to another. Just keep building the confidence of others that can step you up as a leader if and when times get tough.

Data Scientists are the Future

data scientist

Alright, we’ve heard it said, Big Data is the future and honestly, the current volume of Data Scientists looking to have their resumes written professionally is impressive. Naturally, this got us thinking, what’s the big deal with Data Scientists?

In simple terms, a data scientist collects data to come up with meaningful insights.

The term “data scientist” covers many roles across many industries and organizations from academia to finance and governance. As businesses continue to modernize, the need for data scientists has grown extensively.

Data scientists find patterns, build models and develop algorithms.

Consider this in relation to specific product development. Developers need to maintain the functionality of their products in order to stay relevant. A data scientist is critical to the navigation of past, present, and future product insights.

data scientist

Would You Make a Good Data Scientist?

A data scientist’s most common fields of study are Math and Statistics followed by Computer Science and Engineering. They possess a natural curiosity and have highly developed creative and critical thinking skills.

  • What can be achieved with all the data?
  • Where are the undiscovered opportunities hidden within?
  • How can I connect these dots?
  • What questions have not yet been asked?

Data scientists are also highly educated.

  • 88 percent of data scientists have at least a master’s degree.
  • 46 percent have PhDs.

According to industry resource KDnuggets, the data explosion is not slowing down either. Fueled by increased bandwidth, processing power, and innovative data analysis tools, Data Scientists are currently among the most demanded and lucrative IT careers.

Interestingly, a good data scientist has the potential to make or break a business.

To illustrate this point, a 2011 study from the McKinsey Global Institute indicates retailers that maximize data analysis capabilities could increase profits by up to 60%. More so, the health care industry can reduce operational expenses by 8% – equating to $200 billion per year! That’s some serious game face!

Does the generalization of this job seem delightful to you?

Go watch this TED Talk we found. The author, data journalist David McCandless, is fascinated by the stories data can portray. His talk is colorful and precisely touches on what data is capable of saying when pulled with specific goals in mind.

Without a doubt, data scientists have a unique combination of analytical skills, technical flair, and entrepreneurial spirit. Their job is to effectively analyze massive data files while thinking critically and shifting assumptions on the go.

The bottom line, if you’ve gained the education to pursue a career in data science and have the buzz to go further, then you are the unicorn many companies are searching for right now.

As always, our team at PWU is here to build you a resume that will successfully navigate ATS and recruiter processes while gaining you the momentum to ideal job placement. Connect with us anytime for a free consultation and current resume review.