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How to Demonstrate Your Resilience on Your Resume & at Interview

By Meaghan Marshall, Sep 3 2015 01:46PM

Organisations today are in a constant state of change. As a result there is a need for employees who can stay flexible, adapt and work well with others in new and uncertain situations. There are also positions that by nature are high pressured and unpredictable requiring someone with a high level of personal resilience.

Browsing you frequently see employers asserting that ‘resilience is required’ or similar. This is a requirement that appears across multiple industries and position types. As you can see from the examples included within this article. So, how do you convince a potential employer you are resilient? Here I discuss what resilience is and how you can show you are resilient.

Resilience refers to a person’s capacity to adapt and respond to stress and adversity. In a work context, this means being able to deal with the demands placed upon you, including constantly changing priorities or a heavy workload.

Are you resilient? Some people seem to ‘cope’ better than others. Resilient individuals are better able to resist distress in stressful situations because they can stay positive, attentive, flexible, and organised. Below is a list of key behaviours that demonstrate resilience.

A resilient person:

⇨ Deals effectively with stressful and difficult situations

⇨ Perceived change as an opportunity

⇨ Adapts quickly

⇨ Has ability to focus on the problem at hand

⇨ Seeks opportunities to learn and improve

⇨ Is self-motivated

⇨ Maintains focus and remains optimistic even under adversity

⇨ Responds constructively to setbacks

⇨ Supports others when setbacks occur

⇨ Accepts negative feedback in a constructive fashion

⇨ Has a sense of humour, is able to see the laughable when faced with adversity

Not everyone copes well 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. The good news is, that resilience is a skill that can be learnt and developed. If you consider this an area for improvement, you may like to visit Mind Tools for some guidance on Developing Resilience, or my article on Stress Management.

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

How to Demonstrate Your Resilience on Your Resume

On your resume you need to do more to convince an employer you are resilient than just listing resilience as a key skill. You need to 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.

Keeping in mind the above key behaviours, brainstorm examples of when you have remained composed during difficult times. Remember, if you have limited professional experience, you can draw examples from your studies, work experience, or even volunteer positions. If you’re having trouble thinking of examples look at the sample interview questions in the next section. They may prompt an idea.

You will need to write your examples as achievement statements. Describe the situation, your actions and the outcome. Remember when describing your action to include the key indicators discussed above.

Here are sample examples:

• Preserved and achieved payroll processing deadlines despite obstacles; during short payroll fortnight two of five team members absent. Remained focused and implemented strategies to ensured deadlines achieved.

• Increased sales personal conversions from 60% on commenced to 95%; initially disheartened however applied self and sought out experienced sales colleague as mentor. Improved knowledge and skills and in 6 week period.

• Delivered air quality research project on time; one month into 6 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 make sure deadline achieved.

How to Demonstrate Your Resilience at Interview

For a role that requires resilience it is likely a specific interview question will be asked to assess your resilience. Prepare prior to the interview with a past example that illustrates your ability to cope with stress and adversity. Think about the role you are being interviewed for and the challenges you’re likely to experience. Will you be required to deal with unhappy customers, work to tight deadlines, or budget constraints? Is there challenging performance targets, or perhaps long or irregular work hours? Understating the challenges of the role will help you select the most appropriate examples from your experience.

During the interview you will be asked behavioural interview questions. You will be invited to share a relevant example that demonstrates your resilience.

The best way to structure your story is to provide your answer in the STAR format.

★ S = Situation: Describe the situation to give the interviewer context.

★ T = Task: Describe what needed to be done what your role and responsibilities were.

★ A = Action: Describe what you did and how.

★ R = Results: Describe the outcome, what happened as a result of your actions.

Sample Interview Questions Include:

⇨ Describe 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?

⇨ Tell me about a time when you received criticism. What was the criticism? How did you feel? What did you do because of this?

⇨ Tell me about a time when you sought feedback from others. What was the situation? How did you go about getting the feedback? What was the outcome?

⇨ When have you faced major setbacks at work? What were they? How did you deal with them? What was the outcome?

⇨ Tell me about a time when an idea you were passionate about was rejected. What did you do?

Job interviews can be stressful, so remember that showing composure during your interview will also indicate that you have the capacity to remain focused and calm when under pressure. To maximise your performance make sure you prepare adequately.

You might also like:

How to Demonstrate Problem Solving on Your Resume & at Interview

How to Demonstrate You’re a Team Player

How to Demonstrate Communication Skills on Your Resume and at Interview

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