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Resilient Skills

The Survivor Skills That the Class of COVID-19 Should Pursue

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illustration of fox and hedgehog

"A fox knows many things.
A hedgehog knows one big thing."


Resilient skills, like resilient people, flourish no matter what. They take a licking and keep on ticking. These will be the survivor skills for the class of COVID-19—indeed, for anyone searching for new or better employment. Resilient skills are the skills that graduates should highlight on their resumes and current students should focus on gaining.

As Isaiah Berlin famously said: “A fox knows many things. A hedgehog knows one big thing.” The resilient worker is both fox and hedgehog: they know a little about many things, and they know a lot about one or two subject matters. They are both specialist and generalist.

bar graph showing skill appearance in job postings


  • Resilient skills include a mix of human skills and technical skills.
  • Human skills (such as communication, management/leadership, and critical thinking) are specifically required in 84% of all job postings.
  • Technical skills fall into two basic categories: technology (tech) skills (such as coding and software development) and core business skills (sales, marketing, finance, and operations).

This report is for:

  • College graduates and incoming college students as they set the stage for their careers.
  • Educational institutions as they help students assess and communicate the resilient skills they possess.
  • Policymakers as they develop programs that will help workers reskill at various stages of their careers.
  • Workforce and economic development organizations as they communicate the opportunity of resilient skills to workers who may be stalled in their careers, and help connect those workers to employers.
  • Businesses as they invest in the skills of their employees and recruit skilled workers from all types of undergraduate programs.
mapping of resilient skills to career areas

Download the full report

Additional Resources

Emsi offers two skills-based tools to help those that are graduating, have lost jobs, are struggling to find work, or are otherwise affected by COVID-19:

Skills Match - Identify your skills and receive personalized career and educational recommendations

Resume Optimizer - Optimize your resume for the job you want to apply for