Show Resilience on Your Resume

man stressed at work.  resilence required.

Resilence on Your Resume: Why & How

The world of work is rapidly changing. As a result, there is a demand for employees who are resilient, flexible, and comfortable with ambiguity. So, how do you demonstrate resilience on your resume?  The answer is, with examples from your past experience that demonstrate your resilience.

To do this effectively, you need to know a few key things:
(1) what is resilience?
(2) what does resilience look like at work? and
(3) how will I need to apply resilience in the role I am applying for?

With this understanding, you can create achievement stories for your resume that showcase your resilience.

What is resilience? A definition & description

Resilience refers to a person’s capacity to adapt and respond to stress and adversity. Resilient people stay positive, attentive, flexible, and organised even under pressure. In a work context, this means being able to deal with the demands placed upon you, including constantly changing priorities or a heavy workload.

“Resiliency is the ability to take a hit just as well as you take a win. Being able to perform well under pressure (“stress tolerance”) and make the best of a bad situation (“flex”).”
man leaning over lap top showing resilence by persiting

Examples of resilience at work

A resilient person at work:

  • Maintains focus and remains optimistic even under pressure
  • Deals effectively with stressful and difficult situations
  • Keeps a sense of humour when faced with difficulty
  • Gives honest advice in the face of contrary views
  • Accepts negative feedback and learns from it
  • Has the ability to focus on the problem at hand
  • Controls emotions in challenging situations
  • Seeks opportunities to learn and improve
  • Supports others when setbacks occur
  • Adapts quickly and shows initiative
  • Sees change as a new opportunity
  • Responds positively to setbacks
  • Welcomes new challenges
resilient colleagues shaking hands in the office. solved problem

Assessing Your Resilience and the Role Requirements

To convince a potential employer you have the resilience required, you will need to consider the requirements of the role you are applying for.

The type and level of resilience needed will depend on the nature of the role.  It goes without saying that the resilience required as a Receptionist is different to the resilience required as an Emergency Nurse.

Also, not everyone copes with stress and deals well with difficult situations. If you are considering applying for a role that requires a high level of resilience.  It is worth considering if the role will suit your individual strengths. Don’t be discouraged, though; resilience is a skill that can be developed.

Read the job advertisement or position description for clues to the challenges of the role. Is the environment deadline-driven? Will you need to assist unhappy customers? Do you need to meet challenging performance targets? Are you responsible for the safety of others?  Are there long or irregular work hours?

Knowing the requirements of the role will help you to include relevant examples within your resume. You will be looking for examples in the past where you have performed similar tasks or overcome similar challenges with resilience.

Related Content: Career Resilience: What is it and How to Improve it

How to Demonstrate Your Resilience on Your Resume

The key to demonstrating your resilience on your resume is providing examples of when you have shown these key behaviours in the past.

Avoid using vague statements like “remains calm under pressure” and instead give powerful and specific examples that prove your ability to cope in stressful situations.

Brainstorm examples of when you have remained composed during difficult times. Keep in mind the definition and description of resilience provided above and the requirements of the role you are applying for.

Remember, if you have limited work experience, you can draw examples from your studies or volunteer roles.

If you’re having trouble thinking of examples, here are some prompts:

  • Think of a situation in which you needed to work under pressure for a long time. What caused the pressure? What did you do to complete the work?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to adjust to changes that were outside your control?
  • When have you received criticism? What was the criticism? How did you feel? What did you do in response?
  • Have you faced major setbacks at work? What were they? How did you deal with them? What was the outcome?
  • Has there been a time when an idea you were passionate about was rejected? What did you do?
  • You will need to write your examples as achievement stories. To do this, you should describe the situation, your actions and the outcome.

Example Achievement Stories to Show Resilience on Your Resume

Here are examples:

Achieved payroll processing deadlines despite obstacles; during short payroll fortnight two of five team members were absent. Remained focused and implemented strategies to ensure deadlines achieved.

Increased personal sales conversions from 60% to 95%. Initially disheartened, I sought out an experienced sales colleague as a mentor and improved my knowledge and skills within just six weeks.

Delivered critical research project on time; one month into six-month research project, program objectives altered due to change in key stakeholder. Remained positive and adapted to new focus. Created new strategy and timeline to achieve deadline.

Guided team through a challenging system upgrade project; addressed technical issues and implemented workarounds to ensure project completion within the revised timeline, resulting in improved system efficiency.

A Final Note on Workplace Stress

Sometimes, the demands of a role are more than resilience can overcome. Certainly, experiencing negative stress, especially at high levels, can be harmful. An employer has an obligation to provide a safe workplace.  For advice, you should contact your state’s health and safety regulator.

If you have concerns about your stress levels, have a stress-related illness or stress causing persistent unhappiness, then you should seek the advice of a qualified health professional.

Similar Articles

If you found this article helpful, here are some similar articles for other key employability skills:

Ability to Work Independently
Attention to Detail
Team Player
People Person

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