How can international students use resilience to get a graduate role?

Resilience is a skill valued by employers that also has benefits for students while studying, applying for graduate jobs and throughout your working career. It involves the ability to manage stress and difficult scenarios which can be common during the application process and help you cope with setbacks and bounce back to try again. It’s also a key leadership skill so can help you progress in your career. Resilient people tend to perform better in exams and achieve more in their career, but the key message is that it is a quality that can be learnt.

You may find yourself being asked how you recognise and deal with stress when applying for a graduate role as resilience and tenacity is essential for the workplace. Even before the pandemic, resilience was highly desired by graduate employers and going forward the need continues to work independently and react to changing scenarios with a proactive approach.

but you can use some of the obstacles you overcame during this time to show examples for your response to difficult situations.

How can you demonstrate these skills for an application?

You’re likely to be asked during the application or interview process questions such as:

  • How do you cope with stress?
  • How do you manage under pressure?
  • Describe a difficult or challenging situation and how you handled it?

These are all about your resilience and how you navigate challenging scenarios. Try to think of relevant examples before an interview, these could include how you responded to assignments, deadlines and disruption while studying during the pandemic and is an opportunity to show employers how you cope.

How can the 5 pillars of resilience help you?

There are 5 key areas that can help you achieve resilience in your personal, student and work life:

Flexible Thinking

The ability to think flexibly will help you adapt to situations as they arise. So instead of looking at issues as negative, you’ll be able to adapt and prevent yourself from being stuck in difficult situations.

Future Focus

Setting goals for ourselves help to build purpose. Try to imagine the big picture and your future career, they will be roadblocks and difficulties on the way but looking ahead will help you manage those inevitable challenges along the way.


Having positive relationships in your work, university and home life will help build a supportive network around you and help keep your resilience in check. We all have moments of doubt, but a strong network will help keep you focussed on your end goal.


What gets you up in the morning? Your inner drive and choosing optimism is what keeps you going and creates a positive mental attitude. The more you focus on your goals, the more resilient you can become against challenges. Try to focus on what is going right rather than what hasn’t worked out and your inner drive will help you remain motivated and confident in your abilities allowing you to effectively deal with setbacks as they arise.

Self-awareness and care

Self-awareness allows you have a clear understanding of your personality and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. It helps you understand how others perceive you which is really important when trying to talk to employers. Self-care is also key to resilience, as by looking after yourself and your energy levels you will be more equipped to deal with changes.

Make a start by trying to consider each of the 5 pillars and see where you can include them in your day-to-day activities. Don’t let setbacks hold you back but use them to your advantage as a learning opportunity for you to succeed the next time. For more employability tips, register with GradLink for free access to our database of top employers, global jobs and advice today!

By Jen Garmston Published: Mar 18,2022

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