Adaptive Skills Definition, List, and Examples

what are adaptive skills

More than ever, adaptability as a skill is being sought after. As more businesses go through structural and market condition changes, it requires their employees to be as vastly evolving as the business needs to be.

Adaptability is one of the best skills you can list on your resume. It can show that you’d be comfortable in an environment where the business structure needed to change. As well as be flexible in situations where your perception needs to change.

In this way, adaptability becomes more useful and sought after than analytical or critical-thinking skills. As adaptability can be more beneficial to the business than not.

Table of Contents

What Are Adaptive Skills?

There is only one skill that you need to list when you are thinking of adaptive skills. That is “adaptability skills”. While you might be able to say “Open Minded Skills” or something similar, it doesn’t have as much impact.

That’s because businesses don’t usually measure themselves based on their ability to be “open-minded”. But they do measure themselves on the ability to adapt to market conditions.

Are Adaptive Skills Applicable In All Industries?

Yes. If you are in education or nursing, adaptability skills are still critical. For example, in the nursing scenario, you might have to adapt to new patient behaviors or changes in the workplace. Let’s say they moved where the bedpans are stored.

While this is a rudimentary example, it reigns true. You are showing that you can adapt to your surroundings and still drive business results forward. There is no business in the U.S. that cannot benefit from this type of behavior.

Related: Resume Skills List (120+ Skills for the Resume)

Where Should I Put My Adaptive Skills On My Resume?

Every resume should have a “soft skills” portion to it. List your adaptable skill as the very first one. Then go into skills that might be specific to the job or specific to you. Other skills that are really important would be “Time Management Skills”, “Decision-making Skills”, and “Deductive Reasoning Skills”.

Those skills often compliment adaptability as a skill towards the top of your “soft skills” list on the resume.

Examples Of Using Adaptability As A Skill

There will be times where you might have to bring up situational examples, both in your cover letter or interview session. And you may want to indicate some of your ability to be adaptable. How do you do that?

Here are some example scenarios and stories which show your adaptability in the workplace.

Example one

“I remember in Q2 of 2017, our department went through significant layoffs. I was one of the few who was able to stay but our team was restructured. I remember, in the beginning, it was an emotional time. But I rallied our team around the problems we were solving and tried to stay focused on that. Within a few weeks, we forgot all about the situation and it was business as normal.”

Example two

“I recall in Q2 of 2017, our VP of Product was released from his duties. It was a really tough time for our Product team. We didn’t know what was going to happen to our department. I recall our team had a few more meetings than we normally do. Mostly group meetings, talking and discussing work in progress. We tried to stay focused on constructive ideas and adapted to whatever market conditions caused this change. After a few weeks, it was business as normal. It was a great lesson to learn. That every business goes through transitions and you have to stay focused on your work.”

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


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