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Many people write about being a team player in resumes and cover letters, but another way of saying that is to say you're team-oriented. With so many businesses requiring productive collaboration in order to get things done, it's no wonder that team orientation is such a buzzword in job application materials. Include a line about team orientation in your job description on a traditional resume, or highlight that skill even further with a skills-based resume.
Describing Team Orientation
To describe team orientation, Indiana University's Human Resources department recommends using phrases such as contributes actively to organizational goals, works effectively with others or takes ownership of projects. Other phrases to describe team orientation can include open communication and collaborates with others. Whatever format you're going to use, insert some of these key phrases when writing about the work you've done.
Perhaps the clearest way to highlight the team orientation skill is with a skills-based resume. Skills-based resumes place more focus on specific job strengths. They're helpful for people with gaps in employment or who have relevant skills from other career fields -- but they're also good for any job in which a specific skill set is a requirement. Directly under your contact information, create a section titled "Relevant Skills" or "Summary of Skills." Create a subheading such as "Team Orientation," and then create bullet points under that, with a descriptive phrase about team orientation after each bullet. For example, one bullet might be "collaborated with others to create a new employee handbook." After this section, create a shorter "Work History" section that includes only employer names, the job titles you've held and the years in reverse chronological order.
Traditional Resume Format
You can also highlight team orientation skills in a traditional resume format. In the "Work History" section, name the employer, your job titles and dates of employment, and then write a one- or two-sentence description of the job. In that job description, use one of the phrases that describe team orientation, while also describing your overall job. For example, you might write something like, "Collaborated with a team of five people to design and code attractive websites for local businesses" or "Worked in a team environment to sell X product." Traditional resume formats can also include a brief "Skills" section below "Work History," with bullet points that list your most relevant skills, including "team orientation."
Adding More Emphasis
Whatever format you choose, you can highlight that skill even more by adding bold type to the resume. In a traditional resume format, put the description of the job -- and especially the part about teamwork -- in bold type. In a skills-based resume, use bold type in the bullet points about teamwork. Use the bold type sparingly for only the most important information, however.
Also use your cover letter to further highlight your experience working in teams. Give a specific example of a project that showed you the importance of teamwork, for example, or talk about how your commitment to open communication among your team members helped you all achieve even better results. If the job also requires some independent work, also give an example of how you've successfully worked independently.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.