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If you’ve read your fair share of résumés like I have, then you have probably ran across the description “team player” more often than you care to remember.

While being a team player is certainly an important and desirable characteristic of prospective employees, it is essential to understand what it really means and how to show rather than tell your potential supervisor about your experience working within a group. Certainly we all know the difference, but do we exercise professional discernment and humility? This usually speaks volumes to others. Let’s be more specific:

What is a team player? In a competitive work environment, it can be easy to put yourself #1 and forget about ‘your colleagues in the next office’ But others will almost always notice if you fail to recognize your fellow employees for their contributions to your project. In fact, one of the most beneficial things you can do to catapult your presence is, for example; offer a strategic focus, contribute to a research report, participate in a focus group as a part-time facilitator – all without taking direct credit. The recognition will come during roundtable discussions with brand team directors, dept heads, etc.

Give Credit Where Credit is Due: If you participated in a project that got a thumbs up, or even if you didn’t do anything at all to add to the finished result, give a public congratulations. If you see a project that was well done, well-executed or one that produced great feedback, be sure to publicly acknowledge your opinion and shake the hand of the participants.

It feels good to have your efforts recognized by anyone outside your team, and even within that team. Recognize the leader and the key players in the project. What you do behind the scenes may go unnoticed at first, but your ability to see the bigger picture of helping the company and not just yourself will surely be noticed (and eventually rewarded).

Be Supportive with Your Ideas and Your Feedback. In company and/or department meetings, do you share your ideas to make the project even better, to go smoothly, or avoid costly mistakes? Be sure to share these publicly in the discussion of the meeting but don’t just say something that’s obviously meant to patronize, embarrass others, and/or elevate you personally. Share your creative ideas with sincerity to help, not hinder or stall the process moving forward. Ultimately, everyone wants to avoid mistakes and giving encouragement helps everyone.

If it is too early in the initial meeting to share ideas about specific details of a new business plan or marketing project, be sure to make your own notes about your predictions, additional plan ideas and budget concerns, and keep a record of it. In the initial meeting there may not be a full discussion of all of the parts of a new plan for the department, and you may need to wait until it is clearly defined to share specific ideas until each step is identified. Keeping good notes until the time is right will insure that your ideas will be met with full attention and impact.

Show and Tell, As it Pertains to the Situation. Some may consider it cliché to include the term “team player” on a résumé, but I think it’s a wise move if you are prepared to verbally articulate 2-3 specific examples of how you have specially contributed to a team project.

A better way of saying that you are team player is to highlight your dependability within a group, how well you are able to communicate within a team, and how quickly you are able to collaborate to complete projects. This strategy can’t be written on a resume. One has to articulate by giving the interviewer real world scenarios.

So, be sure to keep a record of successful projects that you have taken part in and keep notes on how you participated. You will need it sooner rather than later. I promise you!

For more information on job search strategies go to: http://pharmaonesearch.com/

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