16 Ways to Revolutionize Your Social Work Job Search
Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Social work is not just a career; it is a choice to dedicate your life to the well-being and advancement of others in your community. This can mean providing services directly to those who need help, or it can mean working for change to improve social conditions. And according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for social workers in the United States is on the rise. Take charge of your job search with these 16 tips.
Tip #1: Get the relevant education.
Social work is defined by a body of knowledge, practice standards, credentials, and licensing, and there are accredited education programs all over the country. A Bachelor’s degree is required for most direct-service social work positions, but some tracts like clinical social work require a Master’s degree or even a Doctorate or Ph.D. Any degree in social work must come from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
Carefully consider how you’d like to specialize by comparing the job duties, education, and pay of social workers with similar occupations, and enroll in a program that matches your interests. Licensing requirements vary by state; for more information, visit the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
Tip #2: Prepare for the job search while you’re still in school.
If you graduate in June, begin searching as early as February or March. School social workers will find the most job postings in March and April, when current employees are making decisions about whether to stay or leave for the next school year. You can start the licensing process early too; contact the ASWB a few months before graduation to request your application as a Licensed Social Worker (LSW).
Tip #3: Assess and gain new perspective on your skill set.
Expand your search beyond a preconceived notion of the profession. Social workers are found in schools, police departments, hospitals, clinics, private practices, public agencies, and many other types of workplaces. Clarify the nature and boundaries of your role in the helping process, and brainstorm new and different directions for your job search. Be honest about your skills, your experience, and what you need to do in order to achieve your goals.
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