What Are Resilience Skills? Examples and Steps for Building

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 September 2022

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.

Regardless of how much they enjoy their role or their employer's support, most employees are likely to experience challenges at work. Professionals who respond resiliently may overcome and learn from them to continue flourishing and pursuing their goals. If you'd like to understand how resilience can benefit you professionally, it helps to learn which skills contribute to it. In this article, we share some resilience skills, define resilience, explain how you can build it and show how to highlight it when applying for a job.

What are resilience skills?

Resilience skills can help you respond to stress and adversity. Resilience is the ability to continue living productively and positively despite challenges. It involves adapting well to professional, financial, health, relationship and other types of issues.

Resilience can also let you develop your identity and establish your values, providing an opportunity for personal growth. It could help you overcome challenges at work so you can continue achieving your professional goals. These issues might include internal restructuring, team conflict or challenging projects.

Related: How to Identify Your Strengths in the Workplace (With Types)

Examples of resilience skills

These ten skills may help you respond to professional challenges resiliently:

Confidence

Confidence typically comes from feeling competent and self-assured. If you have confidence that you can respond well to challenging situations, you're more likely to do so. When an issue occurs at work, you know you have the skills and experience to address and overcome it.

Related: How to Build Self-Confidence (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Humour

A sense of humour can contribute to resiliency by helping you recognise the good parts of life, even during a significant challenge. Humour can be especially useful for resilience at work. Adding elements of fun to work can reduce feelings of stress and encourage a more realistic response to challenging situations.

Commitment

Commitment to a specific goal or identity can contribute to greater resilience. For example, you might commit to a specific professional position or a set of ideals and beliefs. You're more likely to respond to potential challenges resiliently when you know what's important to you and commit to it. Dedication to your goals can allow you to overcome an initial negative response more easily.

Related: 9 Personal Development Goals and How to Achieve Them

Optimism

Developing optimism can be useful for improving resiliency. It allows you to view the future with excitement rather than anxiety or fear. An optimist is likely to believe good things can occur in the future despite current circumstances. This outlook can give you the determination and energy to build resilience and move past adversity.

Adaptability

Adaptable individuals accept and adjust to change with ease. They recognise life's uncertainties and can maintain their identity and purpose despite external disruption. An objective may become unattainable because of challenging circumstances. If so, adaptability can help you redirect your focus and develop new goals. For instance, if an injury disrupts your sporting career, you could view it as an opportunity to explore other sedentary pursuits.

Related: How to Practise Adaptability in the Workplace

Communication

The ability to communicate a challenging experience can contribute to higher resilience. For instance, discussing a professional setback or perceived failure with your team members may put it into perspective or allow others to offer support and advice. Strong communication lets you talk about your experience and receive suitable help.

Related: 4 Types of Communication (With Examples)

Problem-solving

Resilience often involves knowing the practical steps to overcome a challenge. This means identifying the issue and deciding on steps to solve it. For example, your employer might implement redundancies due to restructuring. Problem-solving skills help you focus on actions you can take to find a new role or career. This type of practical response can also distract you from unproductive thoughts, such as feelings of frustration. It encourages you to focus on actionable steps and find positive solutions.

Related: How to Become a Creative Problem Solver: A Definitive Guide

Patience

Patience can mean you're willing to pursue a goal, no matter how challenging or time-consuming it is. Whether their goal is to become a company manager or improve a professional relationship, patient people expect obstacles and persevere despite them. Patience can be important to developing resilience because it lets you focus on the result instead of how long you take to reach it.

Composure

The ability to remain calm under pressure can promote resilience. Behaving with composure means responding proportionately to a problem, even while experiencing negative emotions. It can help you think clearly despite your emotion, helping you discover a productive course forward.

Related: What Are Soft Skills and Why Are They Important at Work?

How to build resilience

Here are four steps you can take to become more resilient:

1. Build strong relationships

Strong connections with caring and empathetic people can support you when you experience issues. They can help you share potential struggles and receive compassion from a colleague, partner or friend. Being part of social groups outside work can give you an additional sense of purpose and belonging. If you experience a significant setback in your professional life, a separate social group can help you retain your confidence and identity.

Related: 8 Examples of a Working Relationship (With Helpful Tips)

2. Set and move towards meaningful goals

If you feel you need more control in an area of your life, it helps to set achievable goals. By doing so, you can gradually move towards positive and meaningful outcomes. For example, if you realised that inadequate communication was why you didn't succeed in an interview, you could set goals for improvement. This could involve engaging in public speaking weekly or signing up for an online course.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

3. Develop perspective

Developing perspective allows you to respond more appropriately to an obstacle or stressful event. It can make you aware of any catastrophising and potential irrational thinking you may do. This can be especially important at work because you may encounter common issues, such as complex projects or unhelpful managers. While these issues can be challenging, keeping a balanced perspective can help you learn from and overcome them.

4. Learn from your past

Remembering how you surmounted previous challenges can help you respond to new ones resiliently. Try to identify who or what helped you before, and use this to respond more effectively in future situations. These reflections can also give you confidence by reminding you of other times you showed strength and resilience.

Related: What Is a Career Transitioning Process? (With Tips for Success)

Resilience in the workplace

Here are some ideas for developing resilience at work:

  • Volunteer for challenging tasks. You can develop resilience by exposing yourself to various unfamiliar or challenging tasks. Doing so could improve your ability to pursue goals even if you experience setbacks while working toward them.

  • Find a supportive mentor. A mentor can provide support and guidance when you encounter challenges at work. They can help you respond to these experiences optimistically and resiliently.

  • Communicate openly with your leaders. If leaders and managers are aware of your goals, they might help you reach them and overcome potential obstacles. A supportive relationship with leaders may also encourage you to ask for help more confidently during challenges.

Highlighting resilience

Resilience can be an important skill to prove when you apply for a new position. Here's how you can exhibit this quality:

Resilience skills on your resume

A resume is a professional document you provide when applying for a position. Including examples of resilience can show potential employers your positive attitude and commitment to your goals. You can do this in several areas of your resume, including the professional summary, work experience and skills sections. Your work experience section is a good place to show recruiters how you apply resilience in a professional setting.

Resilience skills in a job interview

You can also highlight your resilience during interviews. Before you attend, think of one or two times when you showed this quality. During the interview, you can elaborate by describing how resilience assists you at work. You could also explain how it helped you overcome a challenge or reach an important professional goal.

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