What Employers Want: Teamwork

It’s the rare job that can be done in total isolation, so the ability to work on a team is a common requirement. This is a good topic to follow Tuesday’s post about leadership skills because you need not only the capacity for leading but also for following instructions and working well with others.

Teamwork is one of the skill sets that is fairly easy to understand, but there are several components, and you need to be able to demonstrate that you have all of them. Teamwork involves:

  • Collaboration: The ability to work with others to achieve a common purpose, with each person making contributions to the overall project based on his or her skills and talents.
  • Cooperation: Although similar to collaboration, I think that working cooperatively can just as easily mean getting out of the way as actively participating! Cooperation means being willing to recognize better (or equally good) ideas as well as knowing when to compromise, when to provide assistance, and how to help others do their part.
  • Planning: Recognizing not only what has to be done, but how long it will take and how to set attainable deadlines…and then meet them!
  • Organization: The ability to break a task down into component parts and help to identify which team members are most suited to handle each aspect of the task.
  • Time management: Making sure that you do your part on time, and helping other team members stay on schedule with their contributions as well.
  • Conflict management: You need to be able to resolve differences amicably and to put the needs of the group before your own.
  • Motivation: It is really helpful to the team if there is at least one person who can act as a “cheerleader,” keeping everyone on task, providing encouragement, and adding a bit of enthusiasm.

As with leadership skills, you can pull examples that demonstrate your teamwork skills from extracurricular activities, previous jobs, community activities, and group projects from your course work.