One of the most valuable skills you can develop while you're still at school is team working. Almost every employer will look for evidence of you being a team player when they read your CV or interview you face-to-face.
To help you improve your teamwork skills and impress potential employers, we've put together a list of things you can do to ensure you have the team work box ticked.
'Almost every employer will look for evidence of teamwork skills.'
To get us started, watch this video from the Civil Service about the importance of team work:
Seek out team working opportunities
There are tons of group activities you can get involved in at school. Some may be extra-curricular like after school clubs, whereas others might be simple classroom activities. In order to write about team working skills on your CV, you need to be pro-active in looking for opportunities.
The next time you're asked to work in a group in the classroom, use the opportunity to try out some of the things that we'll be talking about throughout this post. Likewise, if you have a hobby or are interested in a particular sport, why not see if your school has a club you can join as a way of interacting with other people in a group setting?
What employers say...
"Make sure you're prepared for the following interview questions: How do you work with others to achieve shared goals? Do you easily build relationships with others? Are you a team player?"
This might seem obvious, but in order to improve your teamwork skills, you actually need to participate - turning up isn't enough! For those of us who are naturally a little more reserved, participating in group discussion or activities can seem quite daunting. What if we say or do the wrong thing? What if other people in the group don't make the effort to include us? These hesitations are natural and the more experienced we become in teamwork situations, the less we worry about them.
It's also important to remember that working in a team doesn't necessarily mean being the leader. If you don't feel comfortable being the one to organise the group, then that's fine, leave it that role up to someone else. What you should be aiming for is to be involved in whatever capacity you can.
Consider your contribution
In order to improve your team working skills, you need to be aware of what value you add to the group. Are you the type of person who carefully considers everything they say, or the type to speak first and think later? Before you make a suggestion, share an opinion or express a thought in a group situation, take a few seconds to think it through first. Don't spend too long thinking though or you may miss your chance to speak.
Taking a few seconds to consider your contribution will help you determine whether your suggestion is relevant to the conversation or situation. It'll also help you sound more articulate and sure of yourself too.
Include other people
When it comes to working in a team, there's another skill that goes hand-in-hand with team working and that's social awareness. We all know that no two people have the same personality but how do we get a sense of someone's personality within a short space of time? Having a good awareness of the different types of personalities in a group can help you influence outcomes and approach situations in a tactful way.
To help you identify the different types of personalities in a group, take a look at this infographic below from Visual Infographics. To view a larger version, right click and select 'view image'.
One thing employers look for in job applicants is the ability to communicate with people on various different levels. In most jobs, you could find yourself speaking with colleagues, managers and members of the public all within the same day, so you need to be good at adapting your communication style. When it comes to team working, employers look for people who are able to include everyone in the conversation or activity. The more people who participate in a team, the stronger the team becomes and the more positive the outcome.
Teamwork skills are among the top employability skills employers look for - make sure you know what else they're on the look out for.
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Lead image via Flickr
Two girls via Flickr