Working in diverse teams
Working in diverse teams

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Working in diverse teams

7 Ways to increase your team experience

You have already started to think about some of the teams you have been part of and considered what kind of team each is. At this point you may be getting concerned that you don’t really have any experience that fits into the definition of a team and that actually the experience you thought you had that was relevant is in reality better described as a common interest group than a team. You could be thinking that the best experience of working in teams was actually from some time ago. Perhaps you are concerned that an employer would not see this as especially relevant. Or, you may be feeling that the relevant team experience you can legitimately draw on is limited in terms of being of only one type of team and are aware that it would be great if you could get some different experience of working in teams to strengthen this skill.

If this sounds like you, then don’t worry as this is what you are going to be looking at in this section. Start by looking at the experience of Jane then complete Activity 8.

Case study 2: Jane

Jane is 32 and a single mother of two children of primary school age. She is currently working as a childminder four days a week as this fits in well with the care of her own children. She has been doing this for the last seven years and while she enjoys working with children, she misses working with other adults.

Jane started a degree in criminology and psychology when she was 18. After completing her degree she worked as an usher in the local magistrates’ court. In this job she worked on the reception desk, meeting and greeting court users and visitors, and keeping parties informed of changes to hearing times. She only worked in this role for a year before becoming pregnant with her first child.

In the future, Jane would like to get a job outside the home in an office environment. She has always dreamed of working as a probation officer but lacks confidence in what she has to offer an employer.

She has been looking at entry level jobs with the probation service but when she looks at job adverts she becomes disheartened. Last week she saw a part-time job as a probation service assistant advertised at her local probation office.

Probation Service Assistant (part-time) – Guildford office

Essential skills and experience:

  • Knowledge and experience of the work of the Criminal Justice System.
  • Ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.
  • Ability to input and retrieve electronic data and maintain computer based information systems in an accurate and timely manner.
  • Ability to participate and contribute effectively as a team member.
  • Good organisational and administration skills and the ability to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to motivate others and facilitate learning in order to change attitudes and behaviour.
  • Ability to contribute towards team and organisational targets.
  • Willingness to work towards NVQ Level 3 in Criminal Justice.

This is exactly the kind of job that Jane would like next as it would give her the confidence and experience she needs to get into this field. However, when she looks at the essential skills they are asking for, she decides not to apply for it as they are looking for people with good experience of working in teams.

While she feels she could do the job, she is not sure how she would manage working in such a professional team. Jane feels that she is never going to get the kind of job she wants and feels like giving up on her dream.

Activity 8  Can Jane save her dream?

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Jane is going to give up on her dream job as she feels like she just doesn’t have the experience they are looking for of working in a professional team.

What advice would you give Jane to help her overcome this? Do you think she could apply for the job now and if so what would she say? Can you think of what she could do in order to gain more experience of working in teams and increase her confidence in this area?

Make some notes to record your thoughts.

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Discussion

Jane feels like she does not have the kind of team work experience that they are looking for in this job because she has been working on her own as a childminder for the last seven years. However Jane did work at the magistrates court for a year when she had first finished her degree. This type of experience is really relevant and Jane should not discount it. It is really easy to think that just because something was a long time ago it is not going to be relevant in a job application.

While Jane would certainly benefit from updating her skills in this area it is important to mention skills gained some time ago, especially if you meet all the other criteria they are looking for.

Look back at the ideas you came up with for Jane. Did you think of similar things or were your ideas quite different? There is no right or wrong answer here and one important point to take on board is that you are unlikely to get this wrong – what is important is doing something!

Jane decided to build on the contacts she knew at her children’s primary school and the children’s centre she attends when childminding. There are many other options she could have considered including examining the experience she already has, which she may not have valued sufficiently.

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