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Evidencing teamworking skills

Teamworking is one of the key skills employers look for when recruiting graduates. This guide provides details of how you can demonstrate and evidence these skills within an application form, CV or at an interview.

Professionals and graduates interviewed in the Standing out videos agreed that being able to work in a team and develop good relationships with clients and colleagues is essential. This is not just about the ability to carry out specific tasks, but to be able to get along with people and engage at a personal level within a professional setting.

One person interviewed suggested that having an appealing personality was important in standing out - for colleagues to want work with an individual. Two UEL graduates emphasised the importance of joining societies as a way of entering into new experiences that could provide you with a context within which to develop and evidence your skills.

CIPD Teamworking definition

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Teamworking factsheet defines a 'Team' in the following way:

A number of people who have shared objectives at work and who co-operate on a permanent or temporary basis to achieve those objectives in a way that allows each individual to make a distinctive contribution.

Teams are increasingly used: to improve productivity; to improve the quality of products or services; to ease the spread of ideas; to respond to opportunities or threats; to increase employee motivation and to introduce employee multi-skilling and flexibility.

Types of teams

There are many different types of teams. Teams may be brought together for a fixed period of time to work on a specific project, to work on new developments, or as “thinktanks”, to come up with new ideas.

Teams can be brought together in times of emergency. Committees are frequently teams which draw together key stakeholders in order to achieve a task or to monitor processes.

Virtual teams are becoming increasingly common, with global organisations setting up teams with team members located in different parts of the world.

How to demonstrate and evidence these skills

In an interview you might be asked a specific question about resolving a conflict in a team or to give a detailed example from your personal experience, rather than a broad theoretical question on team working.

Teamworking skills can be broken down into a series of behaviours:

Leadership potential

Give examples of when you have given direction or suggested ways in which a project could be taken forwards. They are looking for your potential here rather than for a fully accomplished team leader.

Effective inter-personal skills

Can you get on with people? Give examples of when you have worked on projects as a team member and have negotiated, discussed issues and worked with people from a range of backgrounds. You may be observed and your inter-personal skills may be assessed by the manner in which you act before the interview, how you interact with other candidates and how you answer the questions.

Decision-making skills

Give examples of how the groups in which you have worked have reached decisions. What was the process that was employed in order to reach a decision?

Problem-solving skills

Give examples to demonstrate how problems were solved in a group setting.

Communication skills

These will be evidenced at the interview, especially if a presentation is required. Using the correct tone of voice, making eye-contact and conveying enthusiasm through appropriate body language is essential. Give examples of when your communication skills have been important to the functioning of a team.

Setting and achieving goals

Give examples of when your group has had to set goals. Be able to discuss how you met objectives that were set for you as an individual and how they fitted into the task as a whole.

Be aware of your strengths and weakness when working in a team. Give examples of the types of qualities and skills that you could bring to a team and areas for development.

Co-operative working

Give examples of the ways in which you have had to co-operate with others in order to achieve the collective goals. How have you had to support others in order to achieve team goals?

Emotional Intelligence

It is important to note that some employers will be looking for evidence of a candidate having emotional intelligence. There are numerous definitions of emotional intelligence.

Essentially some of the characteristics sought are: to be open to change; to understand and support others; to work co-operatively; and to be able to act in a way to resolve conflict.

See Daniel Goleman’s work and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development’s fact sheet for further details.

Examples to draw your evidence from

Below are some contexts that you can draw from to evidence good teamworking and good inter-personal skills.

  • Sports teams
  • Dance/drama/music productions you have performed in, supported technically or directed
  • Full or part-time employment
  • Research projects at university
  • Art exhibitions, setting up, planning, marketing
  • Acting as a UEL course representative
  • Voluntary work
  • Organisation of festivals, music events, concerts, shows
  • Supporting UEL marketing team on events
  • Governance work for a school, nursery or charity
  • Joining or setting up a UEL society
  • Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
  • Faith-based organisations: church, mosque, synagogue

Specific interview questions

  • Give examples of when you have showed initiative by doing research and analysis as part of a team activity.
  • How do you prepare for meetings?
  • Give examples of positive contributions you have made at meetings that enabled the team to reach its objectives.
  • How do you manage to keep a team focused on priorities?
  • Why is it important to listen carefully to the contributions of others?
  • Give examples of when you have supported/coached/encouraged team members.

References

Cannell, M. (2010) Teamworking. Available at: http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/maneco/general/teamwork.htm (Accessed: November 2010).

Cannell, M. (2008) Emotional Intelligence. Available at: http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/lrnanddev/selfdev/emotintel.htm (Accessed: November 2010).

Future fit: Preparing graduates for the world of work. (2009) Available at: http://www.cbi.org.uk/pdf/20090326-CBI-FutureFit-Preparing-graduates-for-the-world-of-work.pdf (Accessed: November 2010).

Goleman, D. (2010) Emotional Intelligence. Available at: http://danielgoleman.info/topics/emotional-intelligence/ (Accessed: November 2010).

 

Being able to respect others, co-operating, negotiating/persuading, contributing to discussions, awareness of interdependence with others.

Confederation of British Industry (CBI) definition of teamworking