Adaptive Skills: What are they, and how can I showcase them on my resume?
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Adaptability in the workplace is integral to a successful career, and employers are always on the lookout for versatile employees who can adapt to changing circumstances. When applying for a job, it is important to indicate that you have the adaptive skills that employers want, but what are adaptive skills and how can you show them on your resume? Adaptive skills are more difficult to demonstrate than technical skills or hard skills, but with the right strategy you will be ready to show that you are adaptable, collaborative, and dependable.

What are adaptive skills?

Adaptive skills are the skills that help you adjust to changing circumstances, enabling you to learn and grow throughout your career. Creativity, collaboration, and communication are all skills that demonstrate adaptability and versatility, important characteristics that employers are looking for. Developing adaptive skills is integral to becoming a successful employee and a successful job seeker.

It is important to demonstrate that you can be successful in a new role, especially when the job you are applying for is very different from previous positions. Showing adaptive skills on your resume will show that you are ready for a change and will easily adjust to a new office, a new environment, or a new career entirely. Adaptive skills are transferable across different jobs and will give employers confidence in your ability to become a part of their team with as little friction as possible.

How can I show adaptive skills on my resume?

Many adaptive skills can be shown in a Skills section on your resume. Adaptive skills are often soft skills that can be displayed either in your primary Skills or Core Competencies section, or in your separate Soft Skills section. When you are displaying your skills in a separate section, use a simple bulleted list that is easy to find and read:

  • Critical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Teamwork
  • Verbal communication
  • Independence

Your adaptability should be apparent outside of your Skills section as well. As you write your work history, professional summary, and other parts of your resume, make sure that the achievements and accomplishments that you highlight exemplify your adaptive skills. Situations where you demonstrated leadership and adapted to changing circumstances are well worth showing on your resume.

To brainstorm ideas for adaptive skills, ask yourself questions like, “What was a time I overcame a difficult obstacle?” and “What is an example of a time I showed leadership in a team setting?” The answers will reveal your adaptive skills.

Tip: Questions like this are common in job interviews, so these questions will also help you prepare answers for job interview questions.

What are some examples of adaptive skills?

  • Flexibility: Recruiters are always looking for a candidate who can excel in many different conditions. It is important to show that you can adapt to changing circumstances, that you are comfortable with uncertainty, and that you can take on whatever challenge each day brings you. You need to be prepared to evolve with your role and with your career.
  • Communication: Strong communication skills are integral to a successful career. Whether you are interacting with bosses, working within a team, or managing an entire department, you need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly and professionally.
  • Problem solving: Every role comes with challenges, and employers want to know if you will be able to overcome these challenges. Confidence in your ability to solve problems and adapt to changing circumstances without becoming overwhelmed will make you a great candidate for difficult positions.
  • Teamwork: Working with other people can be a challenge, as it requires adjusting to different working styles and accommodating different opinions and methods. Workers who cooperate well with others and enjoy working with a team are very valuable to employers.
  • Independence: While the ability to work within a team is important, the ability to work well alone is also valuable. Managers appreciate employees who can diligently get their work done and solve problems without much oversight or supervision.
  • Tech-savvy: Most modern jobs involve some amount of technology, whether it is job-specific software or retail point-of-sale technology, and employers want to know that you can learn to use these tools quickly. Your resume should show that you are familiar with computers and eager to learn about new technology.
  • Lifelong learner: All companies are looking to grow, and they are looking for employees who will grow with them. By showing that you have a passion for learning new things, you can demonstrate that you are eager to expand your expertise and will be willing to adapt to the growing company and its changing roles as it expands.
  • Receptive to criticism: Even if you have been in your industry for a long time, you still have things to learn. For a successful career it is important to know how to accept criticism and advice from the people you work with, even if they are less gracious in giving the criticism than you are in receiving it.

While adaptability can be difficult to show on your resume, it is a skill worth highlighting. The modern workplace is always changing, and employers are looking for workers with the flexibility to succeed no matter what challenges they encounter.

Ben Temple

Written By

Ben Temple

VisualCV Customer Success Manager

Ben is a writer and customer support specialist with 5 years of experience helping job-seekers create their careers. He believes in the importance of a great resume and the power of coffee.

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