Creative Skills in the Workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 2 September 2022 | Published 12 June 2021

Updated 2 September 2022

Published 12 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Creativity is a soft skill that is essential in the workplace. Creative thinking allows individuals to develop new ideas, enhance efficiency and discover solutions to complex problems. Individuals with creative skills are sought after due to their deep analytical thinking skills and ability to innovate. Some people are naturally born creative, but most people try to develop them over time. In this article, we discuss how you can hone your creative skills, no matter your skill level.

What are creative skills?

When you possess creative skills, you have the ability to view a problem from a different perspective and generate fresh solutions. Creativity allows you to think differently and use your imagination to generate new ideas. Creativity skills also enable you to find patterns and make connections to create new opportunities.

Thinking creatively is useful in the workplace, especially when it comes to productivity and the ability to solve challenges. For example, you can work in an accounting position, and you can think of an easy way to check and ensure the financial data is presented concisely. This helps you, your team and the company to increase productivity and efficiency, and it is highly beneficial to the company.

Related: How To Show Your Creativity at Work (Plus Examples)

Examples of creativity skills

Creativity is a mix of many qualities and skills that you can practise and improve. When you use your creative skills, that allows you to be more effective in completing tasks and solving problems. Here are some creative skills that you may have or want to develop:

Making connections

Creativity involves the ability to see patterns and make connections. When you are creative, you are able to connect the dots between different ideas and use them to solve problems. The ability to form patterns and make connections often appear when you do not actively think of it. Instead, the ideas may come up to you when you are reading or listening to something. Making connections between unrelated ideas can create progression, allowing you to form unique solutions to complex problems.

Asking questions

Being a part of a team means you need to ask questions, listen to others' opinions and consider the input of the team as you are forming a plan. Asking questions and taking in others' responses let you form fresh ideas more easily, and eventually help to improve your solutions. Asking the right questions also helps you to understand a problem better. It then allows you to look for better ways to do tasks and make changes to irrelevant problems.

Making observations

You can also discover fresh ideas by observing the world around you. Watching how things around you work, seeing how people go about their everyday lives and observing how the company structure functions may inspire you to think of ways to make the system more efficient. When you see how someone approaches a task, it may trigger you to think of another way of how the same task can be performed better. Paying close attention and making observations can help you see how things around you work and only then can you devise ways to improve them.

Networking

Networking skills are essential to expose you to new ideas and inspire creative thinking. When you are creative, you may also enjoy collaborating with others, and you may be able to easily network with people. In fact, networking and working with a diverse range of people can help you to explore new perspectives and create new ideas.

Related: A Complete Guide on How to Build a Network (Plus Benefits)

Open-mindedness

Creative thinking skills can also evolve from having an open mind to all possibilities. When you are open to new opinions, you will get more chances of stumbling upon great ideas as well. Keep in mind that open-mindedness also means you are open to accepting traditional methods, and not just the new and modern ideas. After all, the constant refining and upgrading from traditional methods may result in improvement in terms of the effectiveness and efficiency of processes.

Reflection

With any project, you need to take the time to look back and reflect on it: the idea, the journey and the end result. Having reflection skills means that you are able to give yourself feedback, giving constructive thought to the work that you have done. Reflections involve commending the tasks you have done well and acknowledging the areas that can be improved. Reflecting allows you to learn from your experience and thus do a better job next time.

How to develop creative skills

Creative skills are very important not just in your professional life but also in your everyday life. Some people are gifted with creativity, but that may not be the case for everyone. You can, however, build up and improve your creative skills even if you are not born with them. Here are some ways you can develop your creativity:

1. Participate in online courses

The internet is a great resource when you are looking to sharpen a skill. There are many online courses, paid and free, to help you refine your creative thinking skills. May it be creativity in general or specific creative skills needed in your industry, there will be something for everyone on the internet.

Also read: Diversity and Inclusion Online Courses

2. Appreciate your work and enjoy the process

In any kind of situation, enjoying your work will yield positive results. Being passionate about what you do encourages creative thinking, as it drives you to be better and to do more. When you love what you are doing, you will spend more time reflecting on it, and this time spent on reflection will improve your creativity skills.

3. Ask questions

Asking the right questions contributes greatly to your creative skills. Asking questions and listening to others' responses are some of the best ways to learn. Even if you do not get the answers that you are looking for, listening to others' insights might give you new perspectives. These new perspectives may come in handy when you are looking for inspiration to craft ideas.

4. Brainstorm

It's important that you are constantly brainstorming and looking for new ideas. Brainstorming often goes along with asking questions, especially when you are brainstorming within the team. Brainstorming is a valuable source of inspiration. It helps to sharpen your creativity and keep your mind open to possibilities.

Related: What Is Ideation? Tips for a Successful Creative Process

5. Seek challenges (and don't be afraid to make mistakes!)

Seeking new challenges allows you to push your limits. When you stumble upon obstacles, you will be forced to think creatively by going out of your comfort zone and working on unique solutions. You may find that you grow and improve significantly when you are faced with challenges. You can also participate in external activities, such as community service or sports, to further stimulate your creative thinking. In the process, you may make mistakes and that's fine. The most important thing to keep in mind is to acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them.

6. Collaborate with others

Collaborating with people of various backgrounds is a fantastic way to boost your creative skills. When you collaborate with different people, you are going out of your comfort zone and this allows you to get fresh perspectives that may surprise you! Engaging in thought-provoking conversations helps to stimulate your creativity and generate new ideas that you may not have thought of when you are by yourself. If you have the opportunity, mingle with people who are different from you. Constantly surrounding yourself with new people may broaden your perspectives and gives you new points of view.

Related: Interpersonal Skills Definition and Examples

How to highlight creative skills

Although creative skills are universal to all fields, certain industries may need them more than others. Thus, it is important that you can showcase your creative skills to the hiring managers. Here's how you can incorporate your creative skills in your resume and during an interview:

Creative skills in resume

Showcasing your creative skills on your resume is a good idea, no matter what industry you are working in and the type of position you are applying for. You can highlight your creative skills in your work experience section or in a separate skills section. When incorporating creative skills in your resume, be sure to review the job description and customise your skills to the job requirements.

Related: How to Format Your Resume

Here's an example of using creative skills on a resume in the professional experience segment:

  • Identified opportunities to reduce waste, improving ordering and vendor relations which resulted in a 15% revenue increase

Creative skills listed in a separate skill section might look like this:

  • Skills: Creative problem-solving, client relationships, attention to detail, organisation

Read more: 5 Steps For Producing an Effective Creative Resume

Creative skills in an interview

During a job interview, look out for behavioural questions that are designed to highlight creative thinking. Here are some examples:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to think creatively to solve a problem.

  • Can you give an example of an innovative project assigned to you, and how did you handle it?

  • Describe a time when you took an existing process and improved it.

Prior to the interview, prepare yourself for these kinds of questions and incorporate your creative skills into the answers. Be specific with your answers, provide examples and emphasise how your company has benefited from your solutions.

Related: Interview Questions and Answers

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