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Key Employability Skill: Teamwork

Employability is defined, in line with the University Employability Policy and Strategy, as “the capability to secure and maintain satisfactory work”, and is all about what skills you have and how you can demonstrate to employers that you have these skills.
Much of the ordinary, everyday activity that students undertake can make a contribution to their employability development (eg working in groups, planning projects, undertaking part time work, giving presentations).

Teamworking

This is a key employability skill!

Being able to show that you can work collaboratively with others from a wide range of backgrounds is a key requirement in most occupations and is very important when applying for a graduate job. Employers see the ability to work as part of a team as a crucial skill, and you need to be able to demonstrate convincingly that you have sufficient understanding and experience of teamworking. Careers and Employability can help give you some ideas to improve your teamworking skills and therefore your employability and your CV!

First Thoughts

Are you aware of the different roles people play in a team- from leader, to thinker to doer? If you have never thought about roles in a team before, this is a good time to start. Different people play different roles within teams and groups, and understanding what these are can be very useful. Even informal groups of friends meeting for social purposes will adopt roles – start to watch and see! For a formal introduction to the type of roles people adopt in team, read about the work of Meredith Belbin and his team who conducted research over a period of nine years. Belbin identified nine clusters of behaviour, termed Team Roles. Details are available on the official Belbin website.

What makes a Good Team Player?
To be an effective team member, you need to be able to show a range of skills: for example, you need to be able to

  • Listen
  • Question
  • Persuade
  • Participate – and sometimes Lead.


The website of the University of Bradford Career Development Services has some useful information on the skills involved in teamwork.


How To Impress

Remember, you need to prove to employers that you have teamworking skills, with tangible evidence to back up your claims. So think about what you have achieved so far:

  • Think about your current teamworking skills.
  • Think of your best example of working co-operatively as a team member to accomplish something. What did you do? What was the result? How did you interact with others on the project? What did you do to contribute towards creating a teamwork environment? Did you play a particular role within the team?
  • Think about the most difficult challenge you have faced in trying to work co-operatively with others. What was your role in enabling the project to move ahead? Was it successful? If not, why not?


Where to Start

Kick-Start your Ideas: if you are struggling to think of examples that illustrate your teamworking skills, here are some ideas to think about:

  • Course Work

Building up examples of your teamwork experience based on your course work is a useful starting point. For example, you may have taken part in a team presentation as part of your course. Or perhaps you had to submit a group report for assessment. What role did you play when preparing the work? Did anything go wrong during the preparations? Did you help to put it right?

  • Find Part time Work

Not only a great way to earn money to keep you going whilst you study, part-time work will help you to increase your employability skills and will impress employers. Work such as stacking shelves, or working in a shop, can show that you have customer care experience and are accustomed to working in a team with others.

  • Volunteer!

Visit our jobs vacancy database for details of volunteering opportunities in the local community. For example, if you are interested in conservation work, there are many local environmental projects. Not only can you help local groups, this will give you a chance to demonstrate that you are used to working with others and give you a bank of evidence/ to draw upon when filling in application forms.

  • Start Preparing Your CV

If you are applying for a part time job whilst studying at the University, many employers will ask you to send in your CV (resumé). Your CV is your marketing tool. It summarises your qualifications, experience and skills.
If you start preparing your CV now, it can also act as a template that you can develop as you progress through University. This will save you a lot of time in the future if you have all your information collected in one place. As you develop more evidence of your teamworking skills, you can add it to your CV and develop a strong bank of evidence that will help when you come to apply for graduate jobs. Careers and Employability has a range of resources to help you to write a CV and/or covering letter. These can be picked up in person from Careers and Employability or found online.

  • Get Involved!

Get involved in clubs, societies or with the Students' Union. All of these activities will help develop your personal skills. For example, if you have been involved in sporting activities such as rugby, this can show your teamworking skills; if you are a member of a role playing group, this can show evidence of your communication skills and your ability to work alongside others. As well as having fun or keeping fit, you will greatly enhance your CV. Perhaps you could join a student committee so you can demonstrate your teamwork skills.

University of Bradford Career Development Services - information on key employability skills.

Page Updated: 5th June 2017