Teamwork is essential for practically any job out there - even the ones where you mostly get to work alone.
That’s because teamwork skills allow you to get along with your coworkers, come up with more creative ideas and solutions to problems, and foster an overall positive work environment.
So, it’s no wonder that the vast majority of employers prefer job-seekers with teamwork skills.
But, which are the most important teamwork skills and how can you prove to the hiring manager that you have them?
In this article, we’re going to teach you just that!
Read on to learn:
- Why Are Teamwork Skills Important?
- 7 Teamwork Skills and Examples
- How to Add Your Teamwork Skills to Your Resume
- 10 Ways to Improve Your Teamwork Skills
And more! Let’s dive in.
What Is Teamwork?
Teamwork is the ability to work effectively with other people to achieve a common goal.
Teamwork skills, on the other hand, are a set of soft skills that allow you to successfully collaborate with others to achieve a professional, academic, or personal goal.
- In a professional setting, teamwork skills allow you to better collaborate with your teammates, and in turn, get better work done.
- In an academic setting, strong teamwork skills help you ace group projects or excel at extracurricular activities.
- And finally, in your personal life, teamwork skills allow you to better get along with your peers and family and help you meet your personal goals.
And the icing on the cake? Teamwork skills are one of the most in-demand skills in today’s job market.
According to a study by Queens University, nearly 3 out of 4 employers rate teamwork and collaboration as very important, while 39% of surveyed employees worldwide say that people in their organizations don’t collaborate enough.
But what is it exactly that makes teamwork skills so sought after for employers and employees alike?
Why Are Teamwork Skills Important?
Whether you need to cooperate with two or more colleagues to solve an issue, brainstorm new strategies, or put a plan into action, teamwork skills are going to help you get it done.
Some of the most important benefits of having strong teamwork skills are:
- Better work environment. Team players communicate more efficiently and are less likely to get into big disagreements, which means that teamwork skills reduce the likelihood of conflicts in the workplace.
- Efficient problem-solving. You’re a lot more likely to come up with an effective solution to a problem if you collaborate with other people (than if you go at it solo). Sometimes, other people might have some key insights from their experience that you don’t.
- Better customer relations. According to a study by ResearchGate, the better the teamwork, the higher the quality of services employees can offer. Meaning, better teamwork skills in an organization equals more satisfied clients.
- Higher employability. Teamwork skills are among the most in-demand transferable skills out there. Whatever job you might be applying for, strong teamwork skills are definitely going to come in handy.
- Smaller chance for burnout. When you collaborate with your colleagues, you’re likely to get more work done with less conflict. This, in turn, leads to less anxiety and stress at work, making you significantly less likely to suffer from burnout.
- Increased productivity. Goes without saying, a team of people can get more things done than an individual. By effectively collaborating with your team, you’re a lot more motivated to work, as well as more likely to come up with solutions to problems at work.
7 Teamwork Skills and Examples
Teamwork isn’t just ONE skill. Rather, it’s a mix of several qualities that can make you a great team player.
Below, we’ll go over the most important teamwork skills that you can use to create a memorable resume and land your next job!
Communication is, by far, the most important teamwork skill.
To be able to cooperate with others, you should be able to speak your mind clearly and listen actively. Typically, good communicators can also present information well and read non-verbal cues such as people’s facial expressions and body language.
In a nutshell, communication skills are what ensure that you understand your team members and that they understand you.
For example, if you need a coworker to cover for you at work while you’re away but you lack communication skills, they may fail to understand what, exactly, your tasks are, and how to carry them out effectively.
Communication is a multi-faceted skill that consists of:
- Oral and written communication
- Active listening
- Non-verbal communication
- Public speaking
- Presentation skills
#2. Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution refers to the process and set of skills required to effectively resolve a conflict between two or more individuals.
Wherever people work together - be it in an office, remotely, or on the field - conflict of some scale is bound to happen.
Whether it’s something small like how to approach a task or something like personal hostility from a coworker, it’s essential to solve the issue.
And that’s where conflict resolution skills come in handy!
Some skills that are associated with conflict resolution are:
Compromise, or the ability to make concessions, is another essential teamwork skill.
Making a compromise means being able to put your ego aside, reduce your demands, take other people’s thoughts into account, and change your own opinions in order to reach a settlement or find common ground.
Take, for example, a team of four people who want to start a startup. Each individual may have different opinions about how to get funding, how to manage employees, how to get clients, etc.
If none of them is able to compromise on these matters, they may never be able to move forward with the startup.
A way to compromise in this situation, on the other hand, would be to assign a separate responsibility to each person based on their experience (e.g. one person be responsible for funding, one for management, etc.).
There are many ways to reach compromise depending on the situation; what’s important is for everyone involved to actually want to do it.
#4. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence means being aware of, controlling, perceiving, and expressing emotions, as well as handling interpersonal relations, in a fair and empathetic manner.
When it comes to teamwork, emotional intelligence involves putting yourself in others’ shoes and understanding each person’s perspective.
Some examples of showing emotional intelligence in the workplace include:
- Understanding why a teammate failed to complete a certain task and helping them solve the issue.
- Understanding that an introverted coworker might feel more comfortable communicating over text, so not pushing them too hard to do calls.
- Understanding why someone else might have an issue with something you said, even though you might find nothing wrong with it.
If you’re part of a team, you’ll likely be required to work with people who are different from you.
And, chances are, you won’t always agree with them and their opinions.
In such cases, it’s important to be tolerant toward your team members.
In a nutshell, tolerance is the ability to tolerate the existence of opinions and behavior that one disagrees with.
Remember, tolerance isn’t about blindly accepting everyone’s opinions or behaviors, but about not judging them simply because you disagree with them.
If, for example, you can give arguments as to why a coworker’s behavior is harmful (e.g. they’re being ageist toward senior employees), then that’s definitely something you want to discuss with a supervisor.
If, on the other hand, a teammate wants to approach a task in their own way (which is different from how you’d handle it), then you should simply let it go.
Team members that can’t rely on each other simply don’t make a good team.
Would you be able to cooperate with someone who you can’t trust to meet deadlines, deliver quality work, or hold themselves accountable for their mistakes?
Being reliable means that other people can trust you, count on you, and vouch for you. Not just that, but it also means that people will also go out of their way to be just as reliable toward you.
Basically, reliability is the foundation of trust and, as such, an integral part of teamwork.
#7. Team Building
If you’re a manager or a team leader, you need to know how to build a team too.
For a team to be as effective and successful as possible, every team member needs to have a role. This is to ensure that each person is dealing with a different task, that they’re utilizing their strengths effectively, and that there are no miscommunications and misunderstandings among team members.
Dr. Raymond Belbin, a British researcher and management consultant, has identified nine different team roles in his research, such as “the coordinator,” “the resource investigator,” “the plant,” “the specialist,” etc.
While it’s not necessary for every team to have these exact same roles, it’s important to know how to build a team with well-defined goals and objectives, roles for each member, purpose, action plan, and so on.
10 Ways to Improve Your Teamwork Skills
Like any other soft skill, teamwork skills CAN be learned!
Here are our top 10 tips on how to improve your teamwork skills:
- Know your goals. In addition to the team’s common goal, each team member has smaller targets. Being clear on what those goals and targets are is important to establish trust and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
- Clarify your roles. In every team, each member has a role. Understanding your role can help you avoid miscommunications about who was supposed to do what.
- Stay positive. How we think often defines how we act. If you keep a positive mindset when you’re collaborating with others, that’ll surely reflect on the team’s performance and productivity.
- Hone your organizational skills. The better your organizational skills, the more reliable you’ll be within the team and the more your team members will be able to trust you.
- Establish rules. Clearly define and understand the team’s do-s and don’t-s. That’ll ensure everyone’s on the same page and no one oversteps any boundaries.
- Socialize. By hanging out with other team members outside of work, you’ll be able to get to know them better and see them as more than just people you have to work with.
- Ask for feedback. No better way to improve than by asking your team members for feedback on your strengths and weaknesses.
- Communicate openly. Miscommunications can lead to conflict. Make sure to always speak your mind and voice your concerns, and at the same time, be open to other team members doing exactly the same.
- Praise others. Celebrate your team members, give positive feedback where it’s due, and share enthusiasm for small and big achievements alike.
- Don’t fight over credit. The point of teamwork is to achieve a common goal, not personal gratification. As such, focus on the bigger picture instead of fighting over who accomplishes what.
How to Add Your Teamwork Skills To Your Resume
Want to show off your amazing teamwork skills?
Then you should add them to your resume!
There is, however, a right and wrong way to do this. Below, we’re going to walk you through the entire process of effectively highlighting your teamwork skills in your resume, step by step.
Before that, though, make sure to pick one of our free resume templates and fill it in as you go!
#1. Mention Them In Your Resume Summary
The first place to mention your teamwork skills is in your resume summary.
The resume summary is a short, two or three-sentence-long paragraph that typically describes:
- Your years of experience and professional title
- Your top skills and qualifications
- Your most noteworthy accomplishments
Done right, the resume summary is supposed to grab the hiring manager’s attention right away, spike their interest, and get them to read the rest of your resume in more detail.
Here’s an example of an attention-grabbing resume summary that highlights the candidate’s teamwork skills:
- Dedicated IT project manager with 6+ years of experience in management, research, and resource planning. Excellent communication and teamwork skills. Managed 5+ IT projects over the past 3 years, ensuring that the products met client specifications and were delivered on time.
#2. List Them Under Your Soft Skills
Secondly, you should list your teamwork skills under your skills section.
Usually, the skills section is divided into soft skills (e.g. communication, teamwork, organizational skills, etc.) and hard skills (computer skills, foreign languages, etc.), and can look something like this:
Simply create a Soft Skills section and list out your teamwork skills.
That said, there IS one thing to keep in mind here.
Don’t try to impress recruiters by filling up this section with as many teamwork skills as you can think of. Instead, you want to add the skills that you actually possess and that are required for the job.
Here’s just how you can do that:
- Check the job description for the exact skills required for the position. If you’re applying for a marketing role, for example, the job ad might ask for “strong communication skills” rather than just “teamwork skills.”
- Identify your skills. You probably don’t possess each and every skill listed in the job ad. Instead of listing out all the teamwork skills we’ve outlined here, identify 2-3 of the ones that you can prove with experience.
- Add them under your soft skills. Finally, take the skills you’ve identified and list them under soft skills.
#3. Prove Them In Your Work Experience Section
Last but not least, you should mention your teamwork skills in your work experience section.
This is arguably the most important part of every resume because it’s where you can prove that you actually possess the skills that you’ve mentioned so far.
Here’s how you can effectively list your teamwork skills in your work experience section:
- Tailor your work experience to the position. You don’t want the hiring manager to think you’re using the same generic resume to apply to hundreds of jobs. As such, make sure to keep your work entries relevant. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a social media manager, you should mention your professional experience as a reporter but not the time you waited tables in college.
- Focus on your achievements. Everyone writes their responsibilities on their resume. If you want to make an impression, you want to show how you made an impact with your achievements. So, think up and write some achievements for every skill you’ve identified.
- Make them quantifiable. Backing up your achievements with numbers will leave no trace of doubt in the hiring manager’s mind about your skills. After all, “collaborated with all department heads to innovate HR procedures that reduced employee turnover by 17%” sounds significantly better than “collaborated with coworkers to update HR procedures,” right?
And here’s a practical example of teamwork skills listed in the work experience section:
- Collaborated with the marketing team to schedule and execute a new product launch.
- Worked with a team of five people to implement a project management solution in the company, boosting company-wide productivity by 13%.
When applying for the job, you’ll need to submit a cover letter alongside your resume. If teamwork skills are essential for the position you’re applying for, make sure to mention them there too.
Interview Questions and Sample Answers on Teamwork Skills
If teamwork skills are important for the role you're applying for, chances are that the hiring manager will ask you to talk in more detail about your teamwork skills during the job interview.
In this section, we’ll teach you just how you can answer teamwork-related interview questions!
The first thing you should know is that the interviewer will probably inquire about your teamwork skills through a behavioral question.
When interviewers ask behavioral interview questions, they want to know exactly how you behaved in a specific situation, instead of what you think or what you know about something.
So, instead of asking you “what’s your greatest strength,” they may ask “tell me about a time you used your greatest strength to accomplish something at work?”
Luckily, there’s a tried-and-tested strategy for answering behavioral interview questions: the STAR method.
STAR stands for:
- Situation - Describe the situation.
- Task - Talk about the task or the issue at hand.
- Action - Describe the actions you took.
- Result - Describe the results of your actions.
So, let’s say that the interviewer asks you the following:
Q: Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone completely different from you. How did you adapt to collaborate better?
Here’s how you’d answer following the STAR method:
Situation: Sure, I always enjoy working with new and different people, they always bring something new to the table! At Company X, there was a particularly young developer who was assigned to work with me on a new software development project, and I was to run him through what our typical coding process was like.
Task: It was also my job to get to know him and find common ground so that we could effectively work together. The fact that he was younger wasn’t an issue for me, but because he was completely self-taught, he didn’t know a lot about the methodologies we used.
Action: Teaching him everything from scratch would take too much time. So, instead, I briefly explained the development process we were using for that specific project and taught him how to write tests for our code base.
Results: In the end, he surprised me with how much of a fast learner he was. He just needed a bit of encouragement and guidance. Through this approach, he learned our whole routine in less than a week, while most of our new hires needed at least up to two weeks. Meanwhile, I also learned a lot about multitasking and time management from him.
And that’s about all you need to know on how to improve your teamwork skills!
Before you go, here’s a quick recap of the most important points we covered in this article:
- Teamwork skills are a set of soft skills that allow you to successfully collaborate with others to achieve a professional, academic, or personal goal.
- Benefits that come with teamwork include a better work environment, more efficient problem-solving, improved customer relations, higher employability, and less likelihood of burnout.
- Some skills associated with teamwork are communication, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, compromise, tolerance, and reliability.
- Mention your teamwork skills in your resume summary, list them under your soft skills, and prove that you have them in your work experience section.
- Some ways to improve your teamwork skills include knowing your goals and being clear about each person’s role within the team, keeping a positive mindset, establishing rules and guidelines, hanging out outside of the office, and fostering open communication.