“I’m a team player who works well with others.”
If you’ve been keeping this line on your resume for years to show teamwork, it’s time to take it off! Teamwork is a soft skill, which means recruiters aren’t just going to take your word for it — they want to see it in action. Describing yourself as a ‘team player’ is about as effective as labeling yourself as a ‘genius’ or ‘visionary,’ which is to say, not at all.
So how do you show you’re a team player on your resume if you can’t just come out and say it?
- Review the job description to identify what specific teamwork skills the hiring manager is looking for.
- Highlight job titles related to teamwork.
- Demonstrate specific team-based accomplishments in your bullet points.
- Start each bullet point with a strong action verb.
- Avoid meaningless buzzwords and use synonyms to emphasize teamwork.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to show teamwork skills on your resume without relying on buzzwords, common mistakes to avoid when showcasing soft skills, how to showcase teamwork when you have limited experience, and how to balance teamwork accomplishments with independent experience.
So, let’s get to it!
What recruiters are looking for when they ask for teamwork skills
Being able to work in a team is an essential part of most, if not all, jobs, but it’s a hard skill for recruiters to assess. When a role specifically asks for evidence of previous teamwork experience, recruiters want to see that you have the required soft skills to perform well in a team environment. These soft skills include:
- Persuasion, motivation, and other leadership skills
- Collaboration and idea-sharing
- Conflict resolution
- Time management and multitasking
- Positive attitude
- Interpersonal skills
Why do teamwork skills matter?
For fear of stating the obvious, teamwork skills show recruiters that you can work well with others. If you’re applying for team-based roles, this is obviously essential, but many roles involve an element of teamwork, even if it’s not immediately apparent.
Even in a largely solo position, you’ll still need to interact with others, whether that’s coworkers in similar roles, liaising with other departments, or even just meeting with your manager. Never underestimate the importance of being able to get along with others in a professional setting — nobody wants to hire a lone wolf.
Teamwork skills and ATS
In today’s competitive job market, many employers use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter resumes based on specific keyword inclusion, and if these keywords are not found, it can lead to an automatic rejection. This is especially true for job descriptions that specifically list teamwork as a required skill. To optimize your resume for ATS, include relevant teamwork-related keywords within the context of your experiences, such as ‘collaborated’, ‘team coordination’, and ‘group projects.’
How to show teamwork skills on your resume
Teamwork, like any soft skill, is best demonstrated in your work experience bullet points by highlighting specific accomplishments from previous roles and explaining how those accomplishments are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Review the job description
Your resume should always be tailored to the exact job you’re applying for, which means including keywords and skills the job description specifically asked for. To start, scan the job description for the specific types of teamwork skills the role requires. Will you be:
- Working closely with others on a day-to-day basis?
- Leading a team?
- Collaborating with external stakeholders?
Then, choose accomplishments that match the duties you’ll be expecting to perform. For example:
- Job description: Work with internal and external customers to analyze the needs and align product roadmap to strategic goals.
- Your resume: Acted as the liaison between product, IT, and sales teams to understand customer demand for new features and prioritize the product roadmap leading to a 35% increase in yearly revenue.
Another good way to tailor your resume to the job is to use the skills and keyword tool below to search for the job you’re applying for and it’ll provide you with a list of hard skills relevant to that job. For example, type Program Manager and it’ll give you a list of skills that hiring managers look for in Program Manager resumes.
Highlight job titles
Sometimes, the need for teamwork is evident from the job title itself. If you’ve previously held a job title that contained keywords like Team Leader, Manager, or Coordinator, showcase these prominently in your work experience section.
Suppose your job title doesn’t immediately showcase your teamworking skills. In that case, you can change your job titleto a more descriptive title or include a short blurb underneath the title that explains how teamwork played a part in your role, like in the example below.
Choose strong action verbs
Start your bullet points off with a bang by leading with action verbs that emphasize teamwork skills. Try verbs like:
More Tips: Resume action verbs for 2024
Quantify your experience with metrics
Hiring managers want to see evidence of your skills, not just a list of roles and responsibilities. Instead of saying you’re a team player, choose examples of times you’ve worked with others to finish a project, host an event, or resolve an issue, and quantify these examples with metrics and data to show the impact and range of your skills.
Include metrics such as the size of the team, the length of the project, and the positive results of your work, as shown in the resume example below.
Use teamwork synonyms in your summary and cover letter
It is still possible to directly address teamwork in your cover letter and summary without resorting to buzzwords and cliches. The trick is to be clever about it — instead of coming right out and saying you’re a good team player, use synonyms and other words for 'team player' to get the idea across without being too obvious about it.
Don’t fall back on overused buzzwords like “work well as part of a team.” Instead, describe why you thrive in a team environment, like “collaboration,” “supporting others,” and “sharing ideas.”
More Tips: Synonyms for common resume power verbs
Get feedback on your resume
Once you’re happy with your resume, it’s time to put on the finishing touches. Uploading your resume to an ATS resume scanner is fast and free. It can also give you specific, detailed feedback on how you score on core competencies like teamwork.
How to identify key teamwork skills
After understanding what specific teamwork skills a job requires and how to showcase those skills on your resume, the next step is to reflect on your experiences and determine what roles in your previous work history best showcase these skills. If you’re struggling to find good examples of teamwork skills, follow these steps:
- Identify your role: Consider a time in your previous work experience when you interacted as part of a team. What role did you fulfill? Were you the organizer, the creative thinker, or the one who brought the team back on track?
- Identify the team dynamic: What type of team were you involved in, and how did you contribute to the team’s overall success? Did you mediate conflicts, contribute to a positive environment, or motivate your teammates?
- Consider challenges: Identify challenges you faced in the team setting and how you overcame them. What have these experiences taught you about teamwork, and how have they shaped your approach to collaborative work?
- Quantify your impact: Detail the specifics of your team experience. How large was your team? What was the scope of your project? Did your involvement lead to an increase in productivity, a successful project completion, or a notable achievement?
Examples of how to describe teamwork on a resume
Ready to showcase teamwork skills on your resume? Here are some sample bullet points you can use to demonstrate teamwork in any situation.
Collaborating with a team
If you have experience working as part of a team, mention it! Describe the size of the team, what your specific role was, and what you accomplished.
- Collaborated with 10+ developers and product management team to assess project outcomes and prioritize future app features.
If you’re applying for senior or management roles, recruiters want to see examples of how you’ve led teams in the past. You can do this even if you’ve never held an official leadership position by choosing examples of specific projects, training, or initiatives you’d led.
- Trained and led team building workshops monthly for 3 departments.
Colaborating on projects
Colaborating with others demonstrates that you’re flexible and willing to adapt to different situations — and different teams. Mention specific times you’ve worked with people outside your usual department, like ad-hoc teams or cross-departmental initiatives.
- Proposed solution and built team to solve number one cause of customer complaints and completed project six months ahead of schedule.
Sometimes teamwork means taking a backseat and lending support to others. If you played a part in accomplishments you don’t want to claim solely as your own, emphasize your supporting role instead.
- Supported the HR team on 15+ projects including best practice research, recruitment support and other ad hoc HR tasks.
Whether the role you’re applying for is remote, hybrid, or fully in-person, all companies are seeing the benefits and challenges of remote work. Show that you can navigate this new dimension by mentioning times you’ve led or collaborated with others remotely.
- Managed a cross-functional team of 10 in 3 locations (London, Mumbai and New York), ranging from entry-level to Ph.D. analysts, and closely collaborated with business development, data analysis, operations and marketing teams.
Training and mentoring
Training or teaching others is a specific and valuable type of teamwork skill. Be specific about how many people you trained, who they were, and what you taught them.
- Trained and mentored 20+ new and existing account executives and interns on solutions selling strategies, customer relationship management, and advanced product knowledge.
Working with external stakeholders
Teamwork doesn’t just mean working with people inside your company. Choose examples of times you’ve worked with clients, customers, and external stakeholders, especially if you’ll be doing any of those things in your new role.
- Participated in local client meetings with the Account Executives to develop a rapport with clients, understand sales and talking points of the network, and comprehend the marketing needs of the agencies.
Teamwork skills for students
If you’re applying for entry-level roles, it’s fine to choose accomplishments from extracurricular activities, university projects, and internships and volunteer work to demonstrate basic teamwork skills.
- Conducted and led weekly intern meetings.
Mid-level teamwork skills
In a mid-level role, you should be emphasizing qualities like leadership, initiative, and overall career growth. The best way to do this is by including concrete numbers and metrics that clearly show what you achieved.
- Managed mixed teams of independent contractors and full-time employees dedicated to SEO marketing, data management and content strategy; improved employee retention by 87%.
Senior executive teamwork skills
If you’re applying for high-level roles, like senior management or C-level executive positions, choose examples that show how you’ve worked with top executives and made significant contributions to the company’s bottom line.
- Worked with CEO and 5 development team members to plan strategic goals to grow as a global company in the next 3 years.
Common mistakes to avoid when discussing teamwork on your resume
While demonstrating teamwork skills is essential, it's equally important to avoid common mistakes that can undermine your efforts:
- Vague descriptions: Avoid general statements like "worked in a team" without specifying your role and the outcome. Be as specific as possible about what you did and the impact it had.
- Overusing buzzwords: Terms like "team player" are overused and don’t convey meaningful information. Instead, use specific examples that show how you have effectively worked in a team.
- Ignoring the context: Don't just list teamwork experiences. Explain how these experiences are relevant to the job you're applying for and align your examples with the job requirements.
- Not highlighting remote teamwork: In today’s remote work environment, the ability to collaborate remotely is crucial. If you have experience in this area, make sure to highlight it.
- Neglecting non-work examples: If you lack formal work experience, don’t forget to include teamwork skills demonstrated in volunteer work, sports teams, or university projects.
How to showcase teamwork skills with limited experience
If you have limited direct teamwork experience in your professional career, you can still highlight relevant teamwork skills on your resume by focusing on non-work examples and soft skills related to teamwork. Also, remember that almost every job has some form of teamwork, even if it's small.
- Extracurricular activities and volunteering: If you've been involved in clubs, sports teams, volunteer organizations, or community projects, these can be excellent examples of teamwork. Describe any collaborative projects or group efforts you were a part of.
- Personal or class projects: If you're a student or recent graduate, include any class projects where you worked as part of a team, highlighting your role and contributions to these projects. You can also discuss personal projects where you interacted with others to complete your goals.
- Indirect teamwork experiences: Think about times you've had to coordinate or collaborate with others indirectly, such as working with different departments or contributing to a larger project. Explain how your work supported the team's goals.
- Soft skills related to teamwork: Focus on soft skills that are related to teamwork, such as communication, adaptability, and problem-solving. Provide examples of how you've demonstrated these skills in various settings.
- Learning and adaptability: Show your willingness to learn and adapt to team environments. Mention any relevant courses, workshops, or self-study that have prepared you to work effectively in a team.
Balancing teamwork with individual accomplishments
While teamwork is a competitive soft skill to showcase on any resume, it's important to balance your teamwork experience with individual accomplishments to show a recruiter that you also have the ability and skills to work independently.
Here is how to strike that balance between positive teamwork skills and independent experience:
- Highlight your unique contributions: In your teamwork examples, specify your individual role and contributions. This approach demonstrates your ability to work in a team while also highlighting your unique value. For example, "Contributed to a 20% increase in sales as part of a 5-member team by individually securing a key account that accounted for 5% of the total increase."
- Use the 'I' and 'We' approach: When describing teamwork, use 'we' to discuss the team's achievements and 'I' to emphasize your specific contributions. For instance, "In our project to enhance the company's web platform, weincreased overall efficiency by 25% after I developed a key algorithm that reduced processing by 30%."
- Balance your examples: Ensure your resume has a mix of both teamwork and individual accomplishments. This balance shows that you are versatile and capable of thriving in collaborative and independent roles.
- Showcase leadership: If you've held leadership roles, mention how you led the team towards a goal. This demonstrates your ability to manage both the team's success and your responsibilities.
FAQs for how to put teamwork on resume
What if my teamwork experience doesn't align perfectly with the job description?
Even if your past teamwork experiences don't align perfectly, focus on the underlying transferable skills. Emphasize aspects such as communication, conflict resolution, and adaptability, which are valuable in any teamwork setting. Tailor these experiences to demonstrate how they've equipped you for the specific teamwork aspects of the new role.
How do I show teamwork if I've only ever worked independently?
If your work experience is primarily independent, focus on instances where you've had to interact, coordinate, or consult with others. You can also mention informal team roles, such as organizing group activities or being part of a committee, to demonstrate your teamwork capabilities.
How do I demonstrate teamwork skills for remote or virtual teams?
To emphasize your communication and collaboration skills in a virtual environment, mention specific tools or platforms you're familiar with, like Zoom, Slack, or Trello. Highlight experiences where you successfully completed projects or maintained productivity in a remote setting.
Can I showcase teamwork skills with non-professional experience?
Absolutely. Teamwork skills gained from volunteering, sports teams, community projects, or group activities in school or university can be highly relevant. Describe the role you played in these teams and the skills you developed, ensuring they align with what the employer is seeking.
How can I update my resume to reflect teamwork skills after a career break?
Focus on any volunteer work, part-time projects, or informal teamwork experiences you might have had during your break. Highlight any skills or experiences from these activities relevant to teamwork, such as coordination, communication, or collaborative problem-solving.
How can I find out if my resume shows enough teamwork skills?
Just like other soft skills, teamwork is a skill that recruiters do not want to see listed in your skills section, instead they want to see how you’ve used teamwork in your previous roles.
A good way to check if you’ve shown teamwork in your resume accomplishments and bullet points is to upload your resume to the tool below — it’ll scan it and tell you if you’ve shown enough team-based accomplishments and other soft skills such as problem-solving, communication, organization.