How To Demonstrate Collaboration in the Workplace
Updated February 28, 2023
No matter where you work, you’ll almost certainly encounter instances in which you’ll need to collaborate to get the job done. Collaboration is a key aspect of success in the workplace. It’s also an essential job skill. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of collaboration as well as how to demonstrate your collaborative skills.
What is collaboration in the workplace?
Collaboration can be defined as a group of two or more people working together to achieving a common goal by pooling their strengths and insights. Collaboration is increasingly happening within virtual teams, as cloud-based conference rooms become more progressively accessible.
Benefits of effective collaboration
Effective collaboration drives a company’s success. When teams work collaboratively, their members are encouraged to be creative and bring their best ideas to the table. Other benefits of collaboration include:
Learning from others
Different people have different areas of expertise. By working collaboratively, you can learn from the other team members’ experiences and backgrounds. This gives you an understanding of various issues should they arise in the future, and it increases productivity.
As most companies consist of multiple departments, cross-departmental collaboration is inevitable. When departments work together, a direct line of communication between them allows employees to gain an understanding of what different roles are responsible for.
Increased problem-solving ability
Collaboration allows people with different backgrounds to bring their expertise to the workplace, creating a larger talent pool and increasing the possibility that problems will be solved by drawing from these diverse backgrounds.
Working together allows important projects to be finished more quickly and with better production value. Each individual working on a project can be in charge of completing the specific tasks that align with their strengths and expertise, significantly reducing completion time.
How to demonstrate your collaboration skills
Collaboration skills are essential to succeed in the workplace. Employees are generally expected to work together effectively, which is why employers are increasingly requiring candidates to prove their skills, rather than rely on a few buzzwords that the ATS algorithm picked up. This is done through group interviews, sample projects and detailed explanations of your demonstrated collaboration in a previous workplace. Follow these tips to effectively convey your collaboration skills:
1. On your resume
Your resume should mention some sort of recognition or accolades relating to your exceptional collaboration in a previous workplace. This could be in the form of acting as a team leader, project coordinator or another liaising role. You may even have some sort of award or recognition you can include in your accomplishments section.
Furthermore, you should mention your collaboration skills in the skills section of your resume, and put your biggest collaborative project into your work experience section. Provide examples of successful outcomes in these projects. Remember to tailor your resume for each job you apply to, but keep in mind that no matter what job you get, you’ll most likely collaborate with others at some time.
2. In your cover letter
Read through the job expectations/requirements carefully. Find the skills that you possess that align with the job requirements and write them into your cover letter in a way that provides an explanation of what you bring to the role with this skill. For example: “I am prepared to bring collaboration skills to this role to contribute as much as possible to the success of the company.” You can also list your various skills and give a brief example of when you put those skills to use to attain a successful outcome.
3. At your job interview
Whether or not the role you are interviewing for is team-oriented, displaying your ability to effectively collaborate with others will have the interviewer paying close attention to you as a strong candidate. Provide solid evidence that you enjoy and are good at working as part of a team. Describe situations in which you may have had to resolve disagreements to keep the team focused and on-task (just make sure to refrain from talking negatively about former coworkers or bosses).
Examples of collaboration
Mentioning your collaboration skills on your resume doesn’t have to be tricky. Using an action verb, succinctly state your example and if possible, use hard numbers to substantiate your story. Refer to the examples below to see how to describe your collaboration skills.
Worked on a 12-person team to implement a system that increased sales by 10%
Worked cross-departmentally with a total of four departments to complete major projects ahead of deadline
Led a team of seven people in raising funds for charity
Contributed to my team exceeding year-end goals for three consecutive years
Following the above structure, you can expand on these examples in your cover letter while continuing to highlight your collaborative skills.
In my last position, I was part of a large marketing team that worked closely with the sales team. I helped to create and implement a new sales method that increased sales by 10% over the previous quarter.
I led a small group of individuals, each from a different department, to carry out special projects that required the best available skills from each respective department. We consistently finished these projects early and with excellent production value.
Two years ago, I compiled a hand-picked team of seven individuals to collectively plan and host a fundraising event to raise funds for the local humane society. We raised over $800.
For the past three years, my team has worked together as a single unit to continually exceed our year-end sales goals.
You can keep these examples in mind, along with some others that you haven’t mentioned, for when the interviewer asks you a question that appropriately calls for your collaboration skills to be mentioned.
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