People working at their computerIdentifying and strengthening your soft skills can help you on the path to employment. One of these soft skills is teamwork. Find out why employers are looking for job seekers with the ability to work well with a team and discover tips on how you can talk about your teamwork skills.

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Soft Skills: Teaming Up for Success

Sep 10, 2019

People working at their computerWhen you were in school or at a job, did you ever have to work on a "team" project? What was that like? Did one person dominate the discussions and hand out assignments? Did one person consistently fail to meet deadlines? Or, was your group a cohesive team that built consensus to accomplish the project? A project can be successful even when some team members don't pull their weight. However, it is much more likely to succeed (and much more enjoyable) when the group collaborates, communicates and cooperates. That's teamwork. Today, we're discussing why this soft skill is so highly valued by employers and how to assess your own teamwork skills.

The value of teamwork

Employers prize employees who can work productively in a team setting because it demonstrates that you:

  • Are reliable: You understand that others are depending on you, and you make sure your work is done well and on time. Being dependable makes you effective on both collaborative and independent projects because your employer trusts you to get your work done.
  • Have leadership skills: Even if you're not managing a team, leadership skills show that you can keep a project on course, understand how to coordinate multiple parts of a task and motivate others.
  • Can manage conflict: You and your team probably won't agree all the time. Managers and bosses want to know that the people on their team can handle disagreements and find solutions that work without conflict getting in the way of productivity. Managing conflict involves respecting your coworkers, listening to their concerns and points-of-view, and creatively solving problems.
  • Communicate effectively: We've talked about communication before, so you already know that communication involves how you express your thoughts and ideas as well as your ability to understand the people you work with. Communication is a critical part of teamwork because bosses want to know that everyone on their team is on the same page.

Gold STAR Interviews

Not sure how to talk about your soft skills in an interview? We explain the STAR method in "Be a STAR in Your Next Interview."

Identifying your teamwork skills

As you write your resume and prepare for a job interview, think about your own experiences working as part of a team.

Volunteer work is a great place to start. If you've participated in community service or other volunteer activities, think about the goals of the projects you were working on and what you did to contribute to the success of those projects. Were there issues that came up that needed to be solved – maybe a decision needed to be made that no one could agree on? If you were able to help find an answer, you used leadership and conflict management to help your team.

Or, if you've worked before, remember specific projects you contributed to. Did you create a schedule to keep everyone on task? Did you help your team members complete their tasks on time? Did you present a new idea that improved the quality of the work? Using examples like these in your resume or noted during an interview show that you're reliable and organized as well as innovative.

Ticket to Work

Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) program is free and voluntary. The program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work. Ticket program service providers, like Employment Networks and State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, can offer you the supports and services you need to succeed on the path to financial independence through work.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, visit choosework.ssa.gov. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, visit choosework.ssa.gov. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

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