How to convince employers you’re a team player

Employability skills 2

Even if you have the exact technical ability and experience an employer asks for, your CV is still going to the bottom of the pile if you can’t show you have this one skill – teamwork.

Every action you take at work has an impact on the people around you and the business, so employers need you to work well with others.

Employers are looking for these top 10 teamwork skills:

  • participation – you offer ideas, take a role in the team and do the work
  • communication – you listen to all ideas, speak clearly and let people know if you have a problem
  • reliability – you get things done when you say you will and turn up to meetings
  • diplomacy – when you don’t agree with something you can express this calmly and without hurting people's feelings
  • encouragement – you support and praise others, help people keep working and stay positive when things are going wrong
  • mediation – you offer solutions and help keep things calm when there is a disagreement
  • persuasion – you can get others to agree or accept your ideas or changes
  • leadership – you motivate people in the team to do work, take responsibility for the work and can stand up for yourself when you think your idea is best
  • respectfulness – you treat everyone equally, listen to people without talking over them and accept ideas different from your own
  • enjoyment – you’re usually pleasant to be with, and you don’t make people around you unhappy most of the time.

If you’ve been on a team you have most likely shown all these skills at some stage. It’s this experience that’s going to show employers you’re a team player.

Show you’re a team player in your CV

Show you’re a team player with your experience and achievements. Think of a time you were on a team that did well – what did you do? Here are some examples to get you thinking:

Work experience

Bey App Design Ltd – worked with a team to design a new app to help people keep track of their car maintenance.

Achievements

Culinary Olympics competition finalist – helped my team design, cook, construct and present dishes in the New Zealand finals of the International Culinary Olympics.

Interests

  • goal attack for social club netball team
  • fundraised for environmental agency
  • member of New Zealand guitar orchestra

Show you’re a team player in an interview

In your interview you’ll probably be asked to talk about a time you were on a team. The secret is to tell a story, but be as specific as possible.

First, do some prep work. Think of times you’ve successfully been on a team.

  • What was your role?
  • What did you do?
  • What were you trying to do?
  • Why was it successful?
  • What steps did you take to make it a success?
  • How did you solve any problems?

Your teamwork story might be like this:

“I worked with a team of plumbers to fit  out a new apartment building. It had to be done in a week as the owners were running over budget. I was responsible for the master ensuites with an apprentice. I had to make sure the apprentice followed my instructions and that things were done right. I had to do my work by a certain time so I didn’t hold up the tilers from doing their work, and make sure my apprentice did their work on time so they could help others on the main bathrooms.

“We had meetings at the start of each day and I committed to how much work I could do. If something went wrong I’d let people know so I could get help to fix it. I also helped others when things went wrong for them. When I had downtime I went and worked on the main bathrooms or the kitchens. I kept in touch with the manager all day to let them know my progress. We managed to get it done in the week with a very happy client.”

Remember at the interview to listen well, smile and be friendly and you’ll be on the way to convincing that employer you’re a good fit for their team.

Watch this space as we bring you more articles on the skills employers need you to have, so you can win at job seeking.

Find out more about employability skills