Friday, May 21, 2010

Be A Team Contributor (Not A Team Player)

You can sit on the bench all year long while your college sports team goes all the way to the finals and wins. You'll get a trophy and a lot of attention, but you'll never be recruited by the professionals because you can't actually play. Any one who matters doesn't care if you're on the team; they want to know what you can contribute to the team.

I used to say "we do this" and "we do that" when talking about work that I do. My professional identity was so wrapped up into what my company did, I lost track of what I could do. After figuring out that pattern, I overreacted and made it all about me. When I look back at my resumes from 2-3 years ago, I find them very self centered. I talk about positions I've filled, companies I've worked for, cool stuff that I've done; what I should have written about is how I helped other people solve their problems. Today I'm still struggling with writing a good resume, even though I know I work well with others.

By learning how to contribute to a team, you learn pretty quickly what your contributions are. It takes guts to put yourself under a microscope and reflect on what value you bring to the a potential employer, client, or even your own business. It comes down to two questions:
    What did you do for the team?

    How did you do it?

When you can say how YOU helped the TEAM, you're ahead most job seekers.

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