Adaptable people are better leaders and more desirable to employers. In fact, one recent study concludes that people who can showcase their adaptability skills are 24% more like to be employed.
When faced with an unplanned change or barrier, people who respond with patience and positivity are adaptable. With this in mind, consider your current resume, cover letters, and other ways you present yourself to the professional world. Do these tools convey your soft skills? We’ve brainstormed some ideas to help you better demonstrate adaptability on your resume.
What Adaptability Means in the Workplace
Adaptability is more than a buzzword. It encompasses a certain subset of other soft skills that are critical to the modern workforce. Be sure to include these attributes as much as possible when crafting your resume.
In our current work landscape, teams are now scattered across different mediums. Some people work from home full-time, others have a hybrid schedule, and certain industries require that employees are in-person. Adapting your communication across these workplace variations is key. Good communication demands that you actively listen when others are speaking, ask questions for clarification, speak respectfully and clearly, and take time to master the many communication tools available to you.
Willingness to Learn
Being adaptable means, you’re willing to learn new tools and best practices for your field. This may mean attending supplemental training sessions and taking time out of your schedule to teach yourself something new. With the ever-evolving suite of technology at our fingertips, employers need people who aren’t stuck in their ways. You’re naturally curious and open to trying new things.
You’ve just learned that a deadline has been moved forward, and you and your team have to buckle down to get the project done. People who can manage stress during these tense situations are generally more adaptable. Successful stress management includes setting realistic goals, regulating your emotions, managing the time you have left effectively, and remaining optimistic.
Staying organized means you and your team can adapt better to any unplanned change. Be sure to assign a note-taker at meetings, update team calendars, and effectively categorize your resources, so things are easy to find. Being organized will also help you manage stress and think outside of the box.
Create Examples of Adaptability on Your Resume
Whether you’re a recent grad or want to pursue a new position, you can highlight your soft skills to potential employers in creative ways. But what does adaptability look like on a resume? Here are some ideas on what you might include.
For Those with Little Professional Experience
For recent graduates, be sure to highlight those achievements and accolades that demonstrate your adaptability during times of stress or change. For example, did you continue to succeed academically when your college courses went online mid-semester? Perhaps you took some time away from school to work instead. Or did you pursue a study abroad opportunity that challenged your comfort levels and language skills? Beyond listing these in your resume, lean on these anecdotes during your interview. Showcase how you were able to pivot toward success even when things didn’t go to plan.
For Those Returning to the Workforce
If you haven’t worked for an extended period, leverage your personal success stories instead. Perhaps you or a loved one were recovering from an illness. Mention how you were able to adapt to an unfortunate circumstance and what you learned from it. For individuals who were laid off and were unemployed for a period, emphasize your commitment to your job search and the ways in which you sought to better prepare yourself for the workforce. Be sure to mention prior employment that you held and include short phrases that display how you adapted to difficult job search situations. Always mention the positive outcomes of your choices.
For Those That Need a Change
People often decide to leave their current positions and pursue new careers. Some even go back to school. This should all be included in your resume, as these experiences help illustrate your ability to handle a major life change. Include phrases that emphasize what challenges you faced in returning to school (and always include how you eventually succeeded).
For any scenario, list your major accomplishments at the top of your resume. Begin your phrases with verbs that emphasize adaptability skills and create phrases that not only list the task or project but encompass the result as well.
It may be difficult to identify your personal inventory of adaptability skills. Begin by asking yourself questions like, “When was I most stressed at work and how did I overcome that feeling?” or “How have I been flexible for my teammates?” Questions like these may come up during an interview, so it helps to have clear examples planned.
That being said, not everyone is necessarily a master of adaptability. Here are a few tricks to help improve your workplace flexibility.
Asking questions can feel vulnerable, but it’s an excellent way to improve your knowledge and demonstrate a commitment to learning something new.
Lean on Others
Is there someone on your team whom you admire? Do they excel at the new software or know how to captivate a room? Be open to learning something new and ask your teammates to help you improve your own skills.
Identify something about yourself you would like to improve and create a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goal. This is excellent practice when overcoming an obstacle, and you’ll get an extra boost of confidence when you meet your goal.
Rather than resist change, practice acceptance instead. It’s okay to feel frustrated but try not to simmer too long. Instead, challenge yourself to brainstorm ways that unexpected changes could actually make a situation better. Pretty soon, this positive thinking will become a habit.
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