Showing how flexible you are will perform wonders for you in the workplace

We all had to adapt to a completely new way of life during the pandemic, right? It was forced upon us when the Prime Minister said those fateful words, “You must stay at home.” But we did it, we've come through it, and we're out the other side - albeit a little bit bruised. It's been trying and the jobs market will probably never be the same again, with a huge shift to working from home and lots of us having to quickly learn about Zoom calls and how Microsoft Teams functions.

But think of all those adaptability skills you've either discovered you now have or have built upon over the last couple of years. They're very useful attributes and should be celebrated within your CV and at the interview stage.

The definition of adaptability skills

So what does it entail when we talk about being adaptable? Being flexible or adaptable means adjusting to, and reacting quickly and responsibly to, change - those times when things don't go as planned, or something pops up out of nowhere when you least expect it, or something that hadn't been factored in as a possibility previously.

The phrase “change management” is often bandied about as well, and is a term used to describe the preparation, support, and help needed by individuals, teams, and companies when going through organisational change. It includes methods that either redirect or redefine the use of resources, business processes, and any other operation that will significantly change a business. So if you're able to include “change management” on your CV as a valid skill, that you can expand on with tangible evidence and examples in an interview, then what are you waiting for? 

Showcasing your adaptability skills at work

Nothing is set in stone… well, apart from death and taxes! There's always movement and change within any environment, obstacles and challenges to overcome, especially in a business. Being adaptable is one of those skills that's potentially hard to pin down but should definitely be in your arsenal of weapons when entering the workforce. Say, for example, that you're starting on a new project. You want to show off your adaptability skills, prove that you understand and are prepared for possible upheaval, and will consequently adapt to this new situation as quickly as you can.

Along with being flexible, you need to show high levels of communication, effective problem solving, and positive relationship building qualities that will sustain and cement ties between you and your new colleagues on the project. All these translate to being there at the forefront, identifying and nailing those resolutions, when new circumstances arise. Display all of these capabilities and it's a sure-fire way of establishing a good reputation at work.

How to improve your adaptability skills

The more experienced you become at your role, the more likely you are to evolve and develop your adaptability skills. But there's always room for improvement! It's a sought after skill and, with knowledge and experience, being adaptable will come naturally.

  • Ask for feedback

Identifying what you need to work on in terms of adaptability is the first step to improvement, so request honest feedback from your manager. When you can hone in on your strengths and weaknesses in this area, you can make room for improvement and use this constructively to guide you onwards. Constructive feedback should help you to pursue excellence in your work.

  • Set some goals

This will give you a long term overview and lock in your motivation. Just like when you go to the gym and have weekly goals to accomplish, set some goals at work too. If you know you're not so great at listening or you're constantly missing deadlines, lay down targets to achieve on a weekly or monthly basis - and make sure that you stick to them. By breaking down these goals into manageable chunks, you won't get overwhelmed and you'll be able to see the progress being made over the weeks to come.

  •  Embrace those changes

A lot of people don't like change, but won't necessarily admit it. They might be scared of being out of their comfort zone or hate having to cope with new circumstances. But there's no avoiding it, so embrace it. Recognise why there have been changes and take the time to let them sink in. Maintain a positive attitude towards the changes and keep giving 100% to your job. Connecting with those colleagues who are positive about the changes will help too, as you don't want to be surrounded by moaners who resist different ways of working. Accept that it might be difficult occasionally during the transition, but remember that it's only temporary and you'll adapt soon enough.

  • Focus on enhancing a growth mindset

A growth mindset is the opposite to a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset limits possibilities, whereas a growth mindset is a way of viewing setbacks with a positive spin. People with this ability can see that their skills may be rigid, but that they can improve themselves and their skills over time. Developing a growth mindset is key to encouraging adaptability as you take on challenges, explore opportunities, and expand your capabilities.

Examples of being adaptable at work

Show that you're motivated, adaptable, and up for a challenge by demonstrating how you're willing to take on new skills and solve problems by adopting a solution-orientated approach.

Examples of how you can showcase your adaptability skills include:

  • Taking on more responsibility

  • Suggesting and facilitating improvements

  • Offering different solutions to problems

  • Taking calculated risks

  • Recognising and, more importantly, learning from mistakes without them getting you down, so that you can make adjustments to what came before

  • Being proactive by stepping out of your comfort zone and undertaking tasks that aren't necessarily in your job description

  • Demonstrating true organisational qualities so that if changes occur, you're extremely well prepared

  • Sticking your head above the parapet by contributing ideas in meetings

  • Seizing the chance to upskill with any relevant training opportunities that either come your way or that you specifically seek out

  • Embracing any change or adaption with an optimistic outlook

Translating adaptability skills to the job seeking process

To be successful, you want to prove that your cognitive abilities are top notch. But how to translate that onto the pages of your CV? Below are a few examples where adaptability skills are referenced, that can be tailored to suit your own circumstances:

A natural flair for exhibiting insight, adaptability, and astute judgement when navigating challenging situations.

Displaying adaptability to changing priorities at short notice when working across teams, from arranging shoots to liaising with Designers, Sub-Editors, and Publishers.

Demonstrating outstanding communication skills, adaptability, and the confidence to resolve difficult situations seamlessly and effortlessly.

Adapting to cooking all over the world at different venues as a Relief Chef, by landing in any restaurant and initiating the process of developing tasty dishes from scratch.

Exercising flexibility to constantly re-prioritise work in response to frequently changing demands.

Next steps

Use your adaptability skills to customise your CV every time you apply for a job. It's not advised to just send a generic, one-size-fits-all CV, as this won't cut it in a competitive market place any more. Tailoring your CV to the job description shows that you've clearly thought about your application and taken the time to adapt, which means you must be worthy of an interview at the very least!

Want to learn more about how to incorporate your adaptability skills into your CV? The professional CV Consultants at TopCV have the answers, so check out the free CV review offered as the first step to finding your next fulfilling role.

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