What is crisis management?
To define what crisis management is, we should first give a definition for a crisis. A wide range of situations can be defined as critical, but in most cases, we speak of a crisis when there is an extraordinary circumstance that needs to be handled.
Crisis is a time of intense disruption or sudden change, a time of great difficulty or a turning point. Usually in such cases, an important and impactful decision or series of decisions need to be made.
Crisis management then is the ability to steer this unusual disrupting event in a way towards stability, certainty, and positive change.
In terms of scale, there is a huge variation. You may think of a smaller crisis – such as the delivery of champagne bottles for the corporate event is scheduled to arrive 1 hour after the important announcement that is to be celebrated. Or you might have something bigger in mind – like the hostile acquisition of a small company with an uncertain outcome.
Why is crisis management important on your resume?
Now you may think crisis management is not that important a skill if you’re not in a leadership or executive position – after all, in the operational field there are not that many huge strategic decisions to be made, jobs to be saved and money or important business relationships to be management. But let me offer a different point of view. Since we already mentioned that there are crises of varying scale, a small crisis could emerge in any person’s daily job.
Let’s take a look at a simple example. You’re a barista at an up-and-coming coffee shop and this is your first job. There is a huge queue for coffee drinks in the morning, but you notice that the coffee grinder has jammed, and your colleagues don’t have any ground coffee to prepare drinks with. Customers are getting impatient, insisting they be serviced, a few even walk out. Your supervisor is currently in a meeting with a vendor and cannot come to help and handle the mini crisis.
So, you take matters into your own hands, breathe slowly, and think of ways to come out of this situation. You suddenly remember there are a few packages of ground coffee under the bar waiting for a regular customer to come pick them up later. You offer to your fellow baristas to use it up while you all come up with a plan to fix the jammed coffee grinder. Day is saved!
Crisis management is not only about handling PR scandals and COVID-19 consequences. So, let’s talk about how you can showcase your own crisis management skills in the work experience you have so far.
What activities and accomplishments help you highlight your crisis management skills?
Whether you’ve handled huge or mini crises, it’s important to be able to describe that in your resume. This important and sought-after skill can be implied from mentioning some of the following qualities and activities:
Adaptability: in essence all crisis is a change of some sort, in most cases unexpected and negative. It takes flexibility and adaptability to see the good in the bad and adjust to the new situation.
Self-control and communication: when a crisis occurs, it rarely would be handled well by someone who is frantic or disorganized. Without good emotional self-regulation, it’s easy to fall prey to feeling doomed or panicky. Exhibiting self-control leads to calm and rational decision making, clear communication and effective problem-solving.
Creative problem-solving: thinking outside the box and coming up with solutions that haven’t been though of before is another A-skill needed for good crisis management. A creative thinker and problem solver would see the crisis as a challenge and embrace the chance to consider different perspectives and try out something new. After all, a lot of innovations are born out of necessity and critical moments.