How to Describe Work Under Pressure Skills On Your Resume


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Last updated: March 17th, 2024

work under pressure skills resume

Last updated: March 17th, 2024

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Some would argue that a job advertisement or job description that refers to working well under pressure is a giant red flag. Nobody can work effectively under too much pressure due to unreasonably tight deadlines, excessive demands, or a cutthroat culture.

 But most employers looking to recruit someone who works well under pressure are really asking:

“Can you think clearly, perform at a high level, and remain respectful to colleagues and customers, even when things don’t go perfectly to plan?”

It’s not enough to simply say you work well under pressure on your resume.

Anyone can make the same claim – and it’s also a cliché. Being more specific and providing proof will set you apart from other job applicants.

 Read on to learn how to describe your skill in handling high-pressure work situations.

By the way, do you want expert help with writing your resume? Consider using our:

What Are ‘Work Under Pressure’ Skills?

Every workplace will — at times — face circumstances that put employees under strain, such as an unexpectedly heavy workload, a mistake or problem that derails plans, a tricky or sensitive negotiation, or a last-minute client request.

  • Working well under pressure might look like finding an effective and ethical workaround in a pinch —while remaining calm and confident.
  • Letting the pressure affect your performance might involve cutting corners, yelling at your teammates, and producing inferior work to meet a deadline.

If your decision-making falters under pressure, it can lead to poor outcomes that threaten your company’s reputation, culture and revenue.


Employers who emphasise ‘working under pressure’ want reassurance that you won’t make them look bad — but they’re probably also keen to build a high-performance team

Because those who thrive, even under tough conditions, are more likely to: 

Have a high EQStaying calm requires being able to recognise and regulate your emotions, and also to be aware of how you’re impacting the people around you.
Be team playersPeople who don’t let stress turn into anger are much better for team morale, and are more likely to provide a safe space for creative collaboration. 
Remain adaptableUnflappable employees accept tasks may be complex and changeable. Instead of getting frustrated, they focus on finding solutions.

Roles Where Level-Headed Employees Are In Demand.

Recruiters and hiring managers looking to fill executive, managerial and team leader roles are likelier to want candidates comfortable in a ‘high-pressure environment’.

That’s because senior leaders and people managers set the direction and inspire people to achieve goals.


 When the proverbial hits the fan, we often look to leaders — not just for guidance, but also support to access the resources and tools required to overcome roadblocks.

High-pressure work environments can also be a breeding ground for culture-killing behaviours when leaders don’t know how to regulate their own responses to stress.

Irritability, intimidation and unethical shortcuts can become ‘the norm’, as modelled by those in charge.

(Related: How To Indicate Your Availability On Your Resume).

Which Examples And Skills Show You Handle Pressure Well?

Not letting factors that are out of your control make you flustered or aggressive is an essential aspect of being able to demonstrate you excel at the following skills:

  • Effective communication.
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • Strategic planning.
  • Leadership and management.
  • Project management.
  • Time management.
  • Teamwork and collaboration.

Expert Tip.

You can convey multiple skills sought by hiring managers with examples of how you dealt with high-pressure situations successfully.

Let’s say one of the core responsibilities of the role you’re applying for is project management, but you also know the recruiter wants work under pressure skills.

Here’s an example of an achievement you might include:

Overcame a major unidentified security gap and delivered the XYZ app rebuild project in just three months by spearheading a transition to Jira software for superior issues tracking and agile workflows, to support a scheduled re-launch that attracted over 10,000 new monthly active users.

As in this example, to illustrate your work under pressure skills in your resume, it’s helpful to: 

  • Explain the pressure you were under. What were the constraints, expectations, or stakes?
  • Demonstrate how you streamlined efforts, cleverly corralled resources or found a solution.
  • Include the outcome/value achieved thanks to your self-possessed working style.

You should also tailor your language and examples based on the company/industry, terminology used in the job description, and the culture you’re seeking to join by landing the role.


Your resume must make it clear you understand the particular pressures the company faces (e.g., funding, competition, high volumes, small team, political scrutiny) and how easily you’ll navigate these issues and add commercially meaningful value.

Where To Include Work Under Pressure Skills In Your Resume.

Here’s how you can say you’re good at handling stressful situations throughout your resume.

How To Describe Work Under Pressure Skills In Your Profile.

Your profile, or career summary paragraphs, are prime real estate and should be used to introduce your value proposition — a holistic overview of the unique qualities and experiences you bring to a company.

If you know the recruiter is specifically looking for work under pressure or time management skills, it makes sense to highlight these skills here.

The easiest way to do so is by including:

  • Powerful adjectives that haven’t become overplayed.
  • No-BS descriptions of your high-level work under pressure skills.

Take this example:

I’m a target-obsessed Software Sales Manager with a decade-long track record of success guiding sales teams through major market downturns and rapid technological changes to consistently exceed sales targets without compromising customer satisfaction.
Recognised by my peers as a skilled negotiator, I’m adept at defusing conflict, quickly identifying win-win scenarios, and building long-term relationships that have helped secure over $50 million worth of B2B SaaS deals.

How To Describe Work Under Pressure Skills In Your Skills Section.

Depending on how you structure your resume, you’ll likely have bullet points covering your core skills, attributes or assets.

A mediocre example of a Skills section would look like this:

  • Team leadership.
  • Customer relationship management software (CRM).
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • Change management.
  • Time management.

It’s wise to go deeper, by fleshing out the message or including examples of accomplishments.

The right levels of detail will depend on what you need to highlight — relevant to the role — and your available space (remember a resume should be roughly 2-4 pages, depending on your seniority).

Here’s how you could approach it: 

High levels of emotional intelligence, with 8+ years’ experience as an empathetic and patient people manager known for her ability to remain calm in high-pressure situations.

Superior goal-setting and time management skills, including effectively prioritising tasks, delegation skills, and creating systems that enable teams to be focused yet flexible.

Strong ability as a change agent, having championed the engagement and development of team members during tumultuous transitions to new processes and tools.

How To Describe Work Under Pressure Skills In Your Employment History.

It’s best practice to highlight what you’ve achieved in the roles you’ve held when you list your professional experience on your resume.


Perhaps you’ve held high-pressure responsibilities in a past job — and that’s useful to mention — but recruiters are much more interested in how you handled those responsibilities to deliver on company objectives.

For roles where you need to prove your work under pressure skills, refine the achievements you include based on how well they tell recruiters:

  • What constraints or obstacles you overcame – and their significance.
  • How your attributes, decisions or strategies led to a favourable result.
  • What impact you had. What’s was the tangible outcome/metric/cost benefit?

Expert Tip.

Convey your achievements with dynamic language. Put yourself front and centre in the action. The secret to doing this well? Action verbs, which we explain in greater detail here.

Some of the best action verbs to use on resumes designed to showcase work under pressure skills:

  • Overcame.
  • Navigated.
  • Negotiated.
  • Steered.
  • Transformed.
  • Resolved.
  • Influenced.
  • Enabled.
  • Delegated.
  • Inspired.
  • Championed.
  • Deployed.
  • Established.
  • Oversaw.
  • Guided.

Here’s an example of how it might look on a resume: 

Operations Manager | Big Pixel Advertising Agency | July 2019 – Jan 2024

Served as a key member of the leadership team, responsible for overseeing end-to-end business processes to maximise revenue and reduce costs. I improved complex international systems used by a distributed, global team to ensure cost-effective operations and efficient workflows that boosted the agency’s long-term profitability.

And this is how you might showcase your skills in the achievements section:

Deployed a remote working policy in a short timeframe during Covid-19 lockdowns, including transforming team updates to an asynchronous process enabled by online collaboration tools. The change increased employee satisfaction by 25%, and 84% of staff voted to retain these changes post-Covid

Established a reduced-rate agreement with an on-demand talent agency to enable the company to urgently expand its team and successfully bid for work in a new market valued at over $500,000.

Resolved a dispute with a supplier at no cost to the business by renegotiating their payment terms, to expedite a delayed $200,000 customer order for a major marketing campaign, resulting in the customer immediately re-signing for five years.

Show Recruiters You Can Handle High-Pressure Situations.

 Many employers want to know that when unexpected events arise, you won’t fall to pieces, let the quality of your work slip, or behave poorly towards others.

 So, when a job ad calls for “excellent working under pressure abilities”, use concrete examples to flaunt your poise, adaptability and problem-solving prowess.


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