Careers in Tech

What Is Resilience, and Why Should It Be On Your Resume?

February 3, 2022
An illustration of a female climbing a mountain

When you get knocked down, do you get back up? If the answer is yes, you show resilience—also known as the top skill learning & development professionals in the U.S. want  hires to hone, according to a LinkedIn survey. If you’re job hunting, now is the time to make sure your resilience shines through every aspect of your application.

And if you’re still working through your tech training, this is your best chance to practice resilience. It’ll pay off. 

Just ask Isaac, who studied web development at BloomTech and who, at first, struggled with learning to code. 

He persevered, though. He graduated from BloomTech (FKA Lambda School), applied for jobs, and got hired. Less than two years after finishing the web development program, three different companies were in a bidding war for his work—and work ethic. He chose a company where he now earns a solid six-figure income, along with a signing bonus.

Resilience kept him on his path toward landing this fulfilling, well paying job.

”I highly recommend you push through the hardest part of your journey,” Isaac says. “Don’t give up!”

Resilience isn’t fixed. You can grow it.

Think back to a recent time you hit a bump in the road. Like with any situation, you can react to disappointments and setbacks in countless ways. You could call up a friend and vent. You can have a good cry. You can pet your dog until your heart rate finally slows down.

But what do you do after that initial reaction?

You can choose resilience as the next step. 

“Resilience is more of a process than a characteristic,” explains Patrick Flynn, a professor and researcher who studies resilience at North Carolina State University. In a nutshell, that means that you can work to improve your resilience, much like you can increase your patience or perfect your layup on the basketball court.

How to strengthen your resilience muscle

“Without resilience, you’re not going to get to the point of excellence and knowing your craft,” explains Ash Tilawat, a Labs release manager at BloomTech. “You need that ability to find your way through problems.”

Ash should know. He works in BloomTech Labs, the portion of the program dedicated to creating and shipping a product for a real client. He says that learners have to push through problems every day—and that their skills (as well as resilience) are better for it. 

For example, a learner might get an error code, then have to sift through 70 pages of code in order to find a misplaced semicolon. Ash can relate, since he graduated from BloomTech’s Full Stack Web Development program and so went through many of the same “growing pains” to become a web developer.

Ash finds that one of the best ways to develop resilience is to resist going to someone else for a solution, at least at first. Wrestle with the problem on your own to see how far you can get. “It’s ok to be a little stressed out because that’s where the learning happens,” he explains. “Do your due diligence, go out and learn, try to answer your own questions. By trying to do something hard yourself, you quickly become a more confident coder.”

Every day you’ll find opportunities to strengthen your resilience muscle in school and beyond. 

Why does resilience matter for your career?

Jobs are like the rest of your life: They’re full of both ups and downs. How you handle the downs can significantly impact your career path—not to mention your day to day happiness at work.

Being successful at work requires employees to stick with it in spite of setbacks. Ash remembers a time when a manager asked him to complete a project using TypeScript, which he hadn’t used before, instead of his go-to programming language JavaScript. Clearly, his manager couldn’t sit down and teach Ash this new coding language. Instead, Ash watched a YouTube video on TypeScript basics, reviewed a document outlining the differences between TypeScript and JavaScript, then compared notes with a friend. He got as far as he could on his own and then approached his manager with specific questions. 

“Especially in an entry-level job, your manager will give you things you have no idea how to do,” he explains. “Yes, you need resilience to learn to code and graduate, then you need it to achieve in your career.”

How to show resilience in a job application

Now that you know that hiring managers are looking for workers who are resilient, how do you stand out?

“Resilience can be a challenging trait to showcase in an application because it's a subjective skill that doesn't lend itself to being quantified,” explains Andrea Gerson, founder of RS Works and Resume Scripter. “That being said, there are absolutely ways to demonstrate resilience to employers. The trick is to show them that you have these skills rather than telling them.”

Luckily, there are many opportunities to demonstrate your resilience during the job application process, particularly in the tech field. 

Gerson recommends highlighting a time when you demonstrated resilience, either during an interview or in a cover letter. She continues, “You'll want to emphasize that you not only took initiative, but that you were able to leverage your energy and enthusiasm to turn a difficult situation into a positive.”

Think of a time during your tech training or in a previous job when you faced a challenge. Then briefly outline how you took action—e.g. by taking a different approach, collaborating with a team member, or studying up on a new skill. Be prepared to talk about results (for example, positive feedback from stakeholders) and what you took away from the experience.

You might feel hesitant to bring up a time when you struggled, but highlighting your resilience in the face of adversity actually benefits you. First of all, it demonstrates how you will rebound from problems—which inevitably surface in any job. Secondly, the willingness to share the story shows your confidence. Employers want to hire workers they can trust to get the job done, even when things don’t go perfectly the first time.

If you second-guess your resilience, remember what Gerson says: “You want to emphasize how you leveraged your resilience to make an impact.” After all, employers are looking for someone who can make an impact for them. 

When you’re resilient, that’s what you can offer. 

Are you ready to take the next step in launching a tech career? Apply to one of BloomTech’s jobs-focused programs today.