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Working under pressure

All jobs involve some degree of pressure, whether it’s hitting targets, working to deadlines or managing a lot of different tasks at once. Having the ability to work to the best of your ability while under considerable pressure is something that all employers look for, so it’s important you have some examples to show you are capable of this.

What is working under pressure all about?

Being able to successfully work under pressure is about being able to prioritise the most important task that you need to finish. It’s about being able to work to the best of your ability when you have a tight deadline or lots to complete. Most of all, it about being to maintain a sense of calm and order when you feel like work is getting on top of you.

You need to be able to:
  • Prioritise and evaluate lots of tasks at once
  • Be able to manage your own time effectively
  • Be able to think clearly about how you can overcome the work given to you
  • Choose the most cost-effective, most time-effective solution
Why do employers want people who are able to work under pressure?

No one is going to say that they are bad under pressure, so what employers are really looking for is how you behave under pressure. For example, do you thrive under pressure, looking forward to beating the challenge? Are you able to cope with stress and leave it behind at the end of the working day? Can you deal with angry or abusive customers? Your reaction to these sort of situations is what employers are looking for.

How can you show you have it?

You can show the ability to work under pressure in a number of ways.  Think of times when you’ve dealt with a lot of stress either in work, during studying or in general life. Examples could include exam periods, times of family stress or particularly busy periods during previous jobs.

How is working under pressure useful in the world of work?

All jobs are stressful to some degree, but the ability to work well under extreme stress is more important to some jobs than others. For example, a firefighter or surgeon will work in conditions where one mistake could cost lives, so will need to be able to deal with stress well and may even face extra training in order to cope.

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