Nice Always Wins

When it comes to your career, plays well with others is about as important of a competency as you can possess. It's not just because I'm a Midwesterner. I've worked with people from all across the country and in various contexts, and the ability to work well with others and just generally be pleasant is vastly underrated. 

If you do so happen to be a nice person, that can be a tricky thing to articulate to a hiring manager in the context of a resume or a job interview or in the context of learning to tell your own story. There is one key way to demonstrate that you can be trusted to play nicely in the sandbox.

Collaboration

This is perhaps the number one way to show you can get along well with others. If you're continually tapped to collaborate with peers, you surely possess a personality that can benefit an organization. Hiring manager care a great deal about the culture of their team, department, and company, so hiring people who are positive and collaborative is crucial. 

Horizontal Collaboration

A good way to specifically highlight collaboration is to detail when and where you've been selected to work in cross-departmental/business channel groups, which shows you can quickly adapt to others who may or may not share commonly held views, processes, or goals. Working effectively (and esp. leading!) project teams is great, and if it involves people from different parts of the company, even better. Being able to work with peers in your same role, developers, business analysts, and peers in similar roles in other parts of the company, all require the ability to clearly articulate ideas, strong communication, and a focus on details. Since we show and don't tell, talking about ideas you've had to introduce, pitches you successfully made, Q&A sessions you've hosted/supported, support documentation you created to aid in execution, is all better than saying, "strong communicator" and "detail focused." 

Vertical Collaboration

Lastly, the ability to collaborate not only across departments but up and down the organizational structure is something to certainly showcase. Some can get along with peers well, but not everyone can work with subordinates, and/or superiors effectively. This is something that shows you have the ability to have what are typically high-level conversations with leadership roles and also get into the details to manage execution. This is not common, and shouldn't be taken lightly. Think about it this way...in a resume, this isn't one bullet, this is a couple/few detailed bullet on what you were able to accomplish (using numbers!). In a job interview, this is a major theme, not a passing statement. 

Maybe the saying is true: I learned everything I needed to know life in Kindergarten. 

Be nice. 

Get along with others. 

Work together. 

And it'll pay off in your career, I can promise you that. 

Nice always wins.