The one thing that never ceases to amaze people is that whilst they are keen to talk about their leadership abilities, employers are more likely to be asking about their team skills! The truth of the matter is that whilst recruiters are looking for leadership potential they are more interested in how you will fit into and contribute their team. Being a team player is essential and to be an effective leader you have to be an equally effective team player
How can I develop teamwork skills?
Are you involved in sports? Playing cricket, network or football all allow you to develop your teamwork skills. Volunteering will also allow you to put the theory of teamwork into practice. Think of how you can impact to the team. Consider how you spot and then solve problems. Think how you communicate with others and how you check they have understood what you are saying. Help others where you can. It maybe you have ideas, knowledge or experience of a situation – think how you can help the team be more effective.
Where can I get evidence of being a team player?
Group work is a great example. Here you have to work with others in a team not of your choosing. Group work can be frustrating as people will try to lead and direct or even subvert the direction the group goes in. Using your negotiation and diplomacy skills you navigate the minefield and deal with the situation utilising your communication skills.
Any part-time work you do and volunteering will feature elements of team work. You will have developed your flexibility to fill the gaps you find within the team or within the situation. If you work shadow then observe not only the person but also the way they fit within in their team. Team dynamics are interesting to observe. Everyone will have their own strengths and create their own roles within the needs of their team. Not only this but teams will absorb each other’s ideas and develop them further as their skills develop further.
What can I do to prepare for a question?
Firstly reflect on previous experiences. Think about the example and what made it a good one to use? Think about all the experiences you have of being in a team and what you have learned about your team working style? How has it changed? What feedback have you had about this? What have you enjoyed about working in a team?
There is an ‘I’ in team, when it comes to the evidencing of a skill.
You’ve heard that old expression there is no ‘I’ in team. Well, when you are offering an example you do have to set out what your role was. You do have to explain what your input was and how useful it was as well as what you learned from the experience. What you might do differently next time. How else can the employer see if you are suitable and do have the team working skills? You have to present them with clear evidence. So give them I, not we!
Don’t under estimate examples from part time jobs.
For many part time roles be it serving food or drinks or working in a shop there is a high element of team working. If you don’t see the value of the work experience you have then how can a recruiter? Don’t even say ‘it was only…’ it was work experience and recruiters are interested in all types of work experience and that includes volunteering – they see this as being proactive – and part time work (balancing it with studies shows multi-tasking).
Use a framework to help you support your evidence.
I use CARR (context, action, result and reflection) but you may be more aware of STAR (Situation, task, action and result) Think of the context or situation you are describing. Keep this precise and to the point. Concentrate on the action you took then give the result or outcome. The next stage should be to evidence how you learned and used that experience. Competency recruitment is very much focused on past behaviours and experiences being an indicator of future behaviours. We have a video that you can watch on You Tube If you haven’t already why not subscribe to the Warwick Careers & Skills channel ? Using a structure ensures you give a focused example and get your message across.
Get it checked before you send it!
It is always worthwhile getting feedback so you can send the best application form that you can, you can get an application check from a Job Search Adviser over in Oculus. Practice before the interview. Don’t forget to check out the Warwick Moodle courses especially the ‘Apply’ course.
Keep yourself open to new opportunities and keep developing the skills you need for roles. This is a constant process and reflecting on what skills you have and the skills you want to develop. Ask for feedback and suggestions on how you can improve not only from supervisors but colleagues too. Good luck!