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Usually in CV one would write how collaborative he is and how he appreciates a team work. At least, this is what most companies want to find in a candidate.

In my own CV I would like to point out politely, that while I'm willing to work in a team, I would prefer to receive tasks to be completed on my own. I already know this is possible at the workplace I'm going to send this version of my CV to.

My primary language is Italian but the CV is requested to be in English, hence I kindly ask you if there is a standard form to express my intentions. Here a draft of what I'm writing:

Social skills: Several team working experiences. Collaborative, but I would express the best of my ability when working on activities for which I'm the only one involved.

Is this acceptable? - both for grammar and politeness? I'm not sure if I need to say some other details, and which ones.

EDIT

Just to clarify a bit the scenario, after your comments. Perhaps I didn't use the correct word, but please don't confuse a team with colleagues.

In my thoughts a team is a group of few people that work together on the very same project for a long time. For example, a group of developers that write a software, or several workers that wire an electrical panel, etc...

Instead of course I will meet and will work with colleagues, but in my experience is a very different thing. Anyway, I removed that sentence from my CV.

About the "Social skill" section, I found it in several examples of "Europass CV".

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S May 31 '18 at 20:53
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    Is there a reason you want to write this in your CV instead of your letter of motivation? – Mast Jun 1 '18 at 16:13
  • There's always, "please recycle after reading". – persona-non-grata May 1 at 14:02

12 Answers 12

258

Generally you want to avoid expressing out and out preferences for this sort of thing in a CV but instead make obvious that the company will get the best results by giving you what you want, you're on this lines already but due to the language barrier it doesn't flow quite right. I'd put it something like this:

Social skills: Experienced working in teams and collaborative environment, but also self-sufficient, self-motivated and excels in solo work.

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    Got the point. Like @Daniel answer, the key is to highlight my best "features" and let the company to choose an appropriate collocation. – Mark May 30 '18 at 9:49
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    The phrase "I work well on my own as well as in a team" is one of the most overused and at the same time meaningless phrases I read on job application forms. What other forms of working are there? You might as well just say "I work well"! As an employer, it makes me cringe. Having said that, I am looking for people who can work self-sufficiently and I think this is probably the most sincere, well-phrased way of expressing this I have ever read. Upvoted! – Astralbee May 30 '18 at 13:46
  • @Astralbee Perhaps the best way to avoid that meaningless phrase is to avoid the hypothetical and frame it as work experience: "I have prior experience performing as part of a team, and also working self-sufficiently alone." – Haydentech Jun 1 '18 at 16:47
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... I would express the best of my ability when working on activities for which I'm the only one involved.

I would not recommend you to write this way. As far as business goes, you are never the only one involved. You´ll at least have a boss and a customer/user.

Don´t mention anything of that sort under social skills, instead concentrate on the positive aspects of you working on a task alone such as:

  • You are good at doing highly concentrated and complex tasks.
  • You have excellent ability to work independently.
  • This: "excellent ability to work independently." You need to word it as an asset, not make it look like it's a flaw. Use terms like "highly autonomous" or something similar. – Ouroboros Jun 3 '18 at 10:41
11

I am currently working in this style. I happened to have made that switch in my current organization. I agree with everyone that it's very difficult to say what you want to say and actually get that. But if I were you, I could think of writing it this way (I am using motosubatsu's answer as a template):

Social skills: Comfortable in working in teams collaboratively. Excellent demonstrated experience in handling complete responsibility of projects.

I think the amount of rigidness in your statement should be directly proportional to your desire to get the work you want in the style you want (solo) vs. need for job.

7

If I would have to rewrite it, it would probably look something like this:

Work Practices: Able to work collaboratively while also excelling during solo work.

A lot of employers value teamwork, even if you are able to work independently on some tasks. This puts the emphasis that you are able to work in a group if required.

You could always bring something up in the interview if they don't ask you about your preferred way to work.

7

Capable of working autonomously or as part of a team

Basically what you're saying there is you can work by yourself if needed, which would make you a candidate for smaller solo projects, but at the same time you don't shoot yourself in the foot by seeming unwilling to work with others, because you're willing to be part of a team although that may not be your preference.

If you truly do wish to work alone, independent consulting might be a better fit than the job market.

6

Your CV serves the specific purpose of advertising you to the company. Stating a strong preference for solo work might be counter-productive, since most companies are looking for employees who communicate and work well with others -- even if you end up working mostly on your own on relatively self-contained units.

A different facet of the hiring process is you evaluating the company and whether their work culture and the projects they offer would make a good fit for you. You can ask questions about it during the interview, and especially after a company makes an offer to you. At this stage, asking pointed questions about the culture and projects on offer is a positive sign, and encouraged by most good companies, since the company is more or less trying to sell you the position.

It's much better to express your concerns about your working style at this later stage, rather than put it in the CV. Better to have extra offers that you refuse because the job doesn't seem like a good fit, then to have the company toss out your CV based on the perception that you aren't a good team player.

6

Your resume is a teaser that's meant to get you an interview. It's not meant to be a tool of negotiation.

By putting that condition in the resume itself, you're giving the power to the HR person to make that decision for the hiring manager, when it's a decision that the HR person has no business making.

And generally speaking, HR people don't have the same incentives as hiring managers. Hiring managers look for the most productive employees. HR people, on the other hand, see themselves as filters and protectors of the company. And while Hiring Managers look for productivity, HR people look for problem employees and any excuse to weed out potential problem prospects. They have a completely different process and mindset.

No, no. Make this request to the hiring manager, the one you will be working for and the only one that has the actual power to grant it to you. Ideally, wait until near the end of the interview when the hiring manager asks if you have questions.

5

Any job you apply for is going to require a unique set of skills determined by the employer, therefor adding this to your CV I think is rather useless, as it implies that you require some sort of special accommodation to do the given job.

In other words, the burden is on you to find and apply for a job that matches your set of skills. If a job requires something that you know you're not good at, you're simply wasting everyone's time by sending your CV in the first place. If you're unsure about such things, find out at the earliest possible stage of the interview process.

Given the above, you can safely list a few positive traits associated with being able to work independently/autonomously/etc (ie you don't require much supervision/hand holding) knowing it will be relevant to the job. Just be sure to focus on positive traits rather than your personal preference.

5

Your preferences are not skills, they are "objectives", "desired employment", and such. I would not even hint at a preference unless it is in that type of section. In the skills section, you are not "experienced at team work but great at working alone", but rather "experienced at team work and great at working alone."

Working alone is not a social skill. It's not even really a skill, but you probably have skills, possibly even social skills, that make you well-suited to working alone. Whether or not you work alone is, in the best case, going to be decided by the task, your competencies, and business needs; you want to represent your skills in a way that explains why you could be trusted to work alone.

Social skills:

  • Able to work closely in collaborative environments.
  • Able to effectively collaborate when communication opportunities are limited.

Workplace skills

  • Self-sufficient, proactive, and independently motivated.
  • Can carefully understand, interpret and evaluate requirements from documentation.
  • Problem owner: Can accept and execute full-lifecycle task responsibility.
  • Can clearly communicate work product and process to others at all lifecycle stages.

and so on.

Edit: I didn't explicitly answer the question! In the objectives section state your ambition to be given work that people will trust you to do alone:

Objective: challenging blah blah blah employment requiring initiative and task-responsibility.

2

I'd phrase it as an ability (i.e. a technical ability or experience, not a social preference), for example, "experience with the whole lifecycle -- able to start and complete a project, from initial planning through to delivery, with minimal supervision."

IMO this implies you may be aspiring to be (or at least expecting to be) a bit of loner:

  • You don't need a more-senior team-mate to help you
  • You're not offering to help manage any more-junior team-mates
0

Let's suppose the following (which is why I prefer to work alone): the reason why you are putting emphasis on working alone is that you have made the experience that you are very talented in separating extensive tasks into smaller tasks the execution of which requires a minimum of information interchange between the sub-tasks.

This would qualify you for a technical project management position because, contrary to what people think, the whole is not more than the sum of its parts. Having to distribute complicated work among several employees is always a challenging task in its own right. If you require people to communicate, they usually will - on average - communicate much less than you have expected them to, and even less than the task requires. But even if they communicate sufficiently, communication means doing more work than if only one person could do the whole job. So building a team is hard work and yet almost always impacts performance of the team compared to the sum of the performances of the individual employees.

So if this is the reason why you prefer to work alone and if you probably would like to be assigned technical project management responsibility, then you could write something like

"I am very capable of organizing work and improving communication efficiency for the sake of team performance."

If however you just want to be left alone, don't write anything about it in your CV. You wouldn't write about your sexual preferences in a CV either, although you have every right to stay yourself, right? Nobody wants to hear that because the necessity to build teams for working on complex tasks is ubiquitous and what would stay in the memory of the responsible HR person is: "Oh, it's difficult to integrate him into a team, so we would have to find him a task where he can work alone, but we don't have any, so..."

On the other hand if you just want to find a job where you are most welcome for being able to work alone (like a one-man outpost on Mars for example), then frankly tell everybody about it. But then you have to be prepared for getting a high rate of refusals. Psychologically this is a serious thing, not many people can suffer.

0

The problem here is that when you apply for almost any job it is pretty much implicit, virtually by definition, that you will need the ability to work with other people at least on some level. Whether or not this is a formal team is largely irrelevant.

Nobody wants to employ someone who is going to clash with their coworkers or who is unable or unwilling to follow instructions.

Equally your preferences and unsupported statements about yourself tend to sound like padding. What employers want to see is evidence that you are capable of doing the job you are applying for.

So what would be better is to say things like :

I have worked on several projects (with examples) where my ability to work to a plan without supervision, self motivate and use my own initiative to solve problems was an asset.

If you don't have any examples of where your ability to work alone was useful then just don't mention it.

In the end when you apply for a job you are trying to demonstrate that you can do what the company needs you to do not to persuade them to let you do what you like doing.

Also you want to be as specific as possible on a CV, vague and generic qualities tend to make your CV look like its been cut and pasted from a template. Make what you write specific, relevant to the job and industry you are applying for and equally importantly evidence should be the backbone of any CV any statements which aren't providing evidence of skills, qualifications and experience should be kept to a minimum and only really used to clarify, summarise or highlight key bits of information.

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