Resilience skills involve being able to ‘bounce back’ after a setback or disappointment. Resilience will enable you to keep on trying at a problem until you reach a suitable outcome. To have resilience is to believe in your ability to cope when things don’t go smoothly.

Activities where you could develop resilience skills

You can demonstrate resilience in your degree programme by showing how you perhaps recovered your grades after a difficult assessment, or continued to succeed despite adjusting to a different way of studying (such as remote learning during the pandemic). The following activities, which may be undertaken as part of or alongside your studies, can be good ways to develop your resilience skills:

  • Join an SU group or committee Doing something new and building connections with others helps to build your self-esteem, and important part of being resilient.
  • Peer Mentoring Set yourself a challenge and achieving it can be a great way to build resilience. With Peer Mentoring you’ll be supported to do this.
  • Volunteering Making an impact to something that is important to you helps to build commitment, a critical part of resilience.
  • Growth mindset Reflecting when things aren’t going to plan is important as it can help you to learn from the situation. Adopting a growth mindset can help you to look at the big picture and be aware of how your thinking patterns impact your resilience.

How is resilience assessed in recruitment?

Some examples of application form and interview questions which are designed to test resilience skills:

  • Give a recent example of when you overcame a problem.
  • There are times when things go wrong. Give an example of when this happened to you and how you managed it.
  • Tell me about the last time something didn’t go according to plan.
  • Tell us about a situation when a project failed. How did you manage this?

If you are unsure how to structure an answer for either application or interview questions, visit the application and interviews section of our website and find out about the CAR (context, action, result) and STAR (situation, task, action, result) models. Our recommendations are based on feedback from employers.

In assessment centres you may be asked to take part in ‘impossible’ exercises, or where the parameters of the exercise shift. This could include being given much more information than you have time to read, or by cutting a budget part-way through the exercise. To assess your resilience skills, assessors will then observe how you carry on through this difficulty.