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Career Advice

Want a New Job? Be a Team Player

Posted by Heather Huhman

November 30, 2015

Think about it: when was the last time you saw a job description that didn’t call for a team player? It’s probably been awhile. After all, hiring managers are looking for someone to join a team, not just a company.

Teamwork capabilities don’t just attract hiring managers, they boost your hireability -- and in more ways than one. When it comes to landing your dream job, there’s only so much you can do on your own. You need to take advantage of the career advancement opportunities your peers and coworkers can provide.

Here are four ways aiding your peers can aid you in your job search:

1. Sharpen your teamwork capabilities.


Being able to work with others toward a common goal may seem like an innate ability, but it takes some effort to be able to work successfully within a team environment. Not everyone is equally capable of communicating ideas, trusting others, or giving credit where credit is due -- which is why so many people cringed at the mention of “group project” in school.

It takes practice to work and succeed as a team. The best way to develop teamwork skills is simply to work with others. Not only does helping your peers improve your collaboration skills, but also it gives you tangible teamwork experience that you can mention during your next job interview.

2. Learn something new.

For many of us, our various jobs and roles tend to fall into a routine. You may work on the same type of tasks or toward the same set of goals day in and day out, which gives you only so many opportunities to learn something new. One such opportunity is working with others. Volunteering to help your colleagues is a great way to gain new perspectives, knowledge, and skills.

And you don’t have to work with someone in another department or line of work to learn something new. Working alongside someone who does exactly what you do can give you an entirely new perspective on something with which you’re already familiar.

3. Gain potential references.

The more people you work and interact with, the more people you have who can accurately vouch for your skills and capabilities. And, considering the vast majority of employers (80 percent) actually contact references and take their words into consideration when evaluating potential employees, according to a survey by CareerBuilder, you’ll need all the positive references you can get.

In fact, the same survey found that 70 percent of job seekers provide three or more references when they apply to a job. So, keep in mind when opportunities arise to lend a helping hand to your peers or coworkers that doing so can help boost their opinion (and reference) of you.

4. Secure new opportunities.

Taking time out of your day to help your peers with their tasks isn’t just appreciated, it’s remembered. And, when the time comes to search for a new job, your peers may feel more inclined to share new opportunities with you. They’ll remember how willing you were to help them and will jump at the chance not just to return the favor, but to work with you again.

As the saying goes, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” While securing new job opportunities shouldn’t be your main motivation in helping your peers and co-workers, it definitely makes assisting others that much sweeter.

What are some other ways helping others can help you during your job search?