Overview of a Social Work Resume

In the career life of a social worker, resume writing usually comes in handy when seeking for different positions or opportunities.

This makes understanding the skills for social work resume very important for both practicing social workers and social work students.

Just like is the case with the knowledge on social work groups or social work code of ethics, a social worker should as well possess the requisite resume writing skills and knowledge.

Accordingly, whether it is a MSW candidate resume or a social worker resume without experience, you will be required to be outstanding.

To make the resume exceptional, you should consider a number of factors as illustrated below.


Tips for a Social Work Resume

There are numerous tips that are relevant in building an effective social worker resume summary. Some of these tips include:

1. The resume should be tailored to a specific job

For a social worker, it is important to avoid a general resume at all costs. Instead, your resume should be drafted to suit the requirements of a specific job.

There are hundreds of potential applicants and for your resume to stand out, you have to understand the keywords that more emphasis should be put on.

Particularly when seeking a job from an organization, it is necessary to understand the terms suitable for the specific organization.

For instance, if the resume is meant for a hospital, university, or organization, you should identify the appropriate terms to use to refer to clients, survivors, victims, residents, etc.


2. Precisely highlight what you do

Note that one of the mistakes you can do when developing a social worker resume summary is forget to precisely and accurately stipulate what you do.

Before going ahead to provide the respective skills for social work resume, you have to ensure that the reader is aware of what you are or what you have done.

This requires you to be descriptive on what aspects or attributes make you the astute professional you are.

Do not assume that your title, for example, “Medical Social Worker”, gives the reader a picture of who you are.


3. Itemize your accomplishments   

This is another important tip when developing your social work skills list. It requires you to effectively highlight what you have achieved in the past.

Doing so demands that you ask some several questions around skills for social work resume. Relevant questions could include:

1. Did your skills in therapy help curb relapse rates?

2. Did you come with a novel program to address client needs?

3. In what ways did you help the clients?

4. Did you get involved in special projects, task forces, or committees?

5. Did you help in making your organization more cost effective?


4. Provide numbers for your accomplishments

To give your skills for social work resume real command, you should provide numbers for the accomplishments to include in the resume.

It is important to understand that real accomplishments should be measurable in some way. As such, you should strive as much as possible to provide numbers.

In this, provide the numbers of patients served, the amount of money saved, the percentage (%) in the decline of relapse incidences, etc.


5. Provide only relevant information

Your social worker resume summary should contain relatively few sections, usually the ones that are most important.

It is recommended to personalize your resume and therefore exclude sections that may provide the reader with an opportunity to scrutinize you more and in the process maybe disqualify you.

Note that typical resumes may include the below sections:

1. Summary

2. Educational Background

3. Relevant Experience

4. Work Experience

5. Volunteering Experience

6. Summary of Skills

7. Professional Skills

8. Publications

9. Activities

10. Accomplishments


With the exemption of Professional Experience and Educational Background, all the other above sections could be added or excluded based on their relevancy to the application.

In some cases, you may even have to write a social worker resume without experience.

It is as such important to ensure that you provide information only relevant to your particular skills for social work resume.


6. Use bullet points

Bullet points are the basis of social work skills list format. They are meant to help make the resume more concise and well formatted.

Based on this understanding, you should seek to avoid paragraphs at all costs.

Experiences and skills for social work resume should be provided in short and succinct bullets points that make easy and convenient to scan the resume.

The bullet points should contain your keywords, where you ensure that all the keywords are clearly and instantly visible to the reader.

The number of bullet points describing your accomplishments and experiences should be between 3 and 8 in number.


7. Exclude irrelevant continuing education

The social worker resume summary should not include all continuing education endeavors in the Educational Background section or as part of your skills.

This is for MSW candidate resume or any level of certified social work practice. Rightly, you should understand that continuous educational pursuit is part and a requirement of the profession.

As such, if you include the Professional Development or Continuing Education sections, you could put in the continuing education aspects relevant to what you are applying for.

For instance, for a certain course, you could list only the course units that suit your particular application at the time.


8. Use Professional Summary instead of Objective

This is one of the most important sections of a social work resume. It appears at the beginning and sets the tone of the resume.

Accordingly, note that Objective is preferably for a social worker resume without experience. It is only suitable for fresh graduates without or with limited experience.

Otherwise, always use a Professional Summary to explain the value your social work skills list will bring to the institution.

The summary should be tailored to the particular institution to help indicate that you are a good fit. It should be short, about three sentences in length.


Skills for Social Work Resume

When writing a job seeking or a MSW candidate resume, you need to understand the various skills to include in respect to a particular position or opportunity.

Per se, a social work skills list should be as expounded below.


1. Communication Skills

Communication skills feature majorly in the social work skills list. Per se, social workers have to communicate with coworkers, clients and their families, health care providers, insurance companies, etc.

In your resume you should demonstrate how effective communication is key when having difficult conversations in therapy, coordination of programs, and finding solutions for individuals or teams.


2. Organizational Skills

Organization should also be one of the key skills for social work resume.  This follows the understanding that a social worker is usually bound to deal with numerous programs or clients simultaneously.

In your resume, you should exhibit the ability deal with the multifaceted nature of casework by ensuring effective coordination of all the entailed activities.


3. Time Management

This is another very important set of skills for a social worker. It is closely related to organization and entails the ability to allocate adequate time to all clients, activities, and programs.

As such, you should illustrate that you are capable of prioritizing while at the same time creating a balance between different activities and responsibilities without experiencing burnout.


4. Empathy

In your resume, you should be able to effectively show that you are capable of understanding different situations and people culturally, intellectually, and emotionally.

You should illustrate how this understanding is critical in enhancing effectiveness and efficiency when helping the clients.

Accordingly, you should illustrate that you can be able to walk in the shoes of others when helping them.


5. Tolerance

This is among the important set of skills for a social work resume. It is closely related to empathy and entails the ability to deal with people with different backgrounds and view of life.

In your resume, you should strive to illustrate your capacity to be tolerant within the often strenuous social work practice environment.

This should be centered on ideas such as cultural competency.


6. Setting Boundaries 

The ability to set professional boundaries is an important skill to include in your social work resume. This entails demonstrating the ability to effectively separate professional life from personal life.

Note that social workers are prone to taking the emotional stress derived from work to their homes.

Accordingly, setting proper boundaries should help ensure that you protect yourself from such incidences and as a result create a healthy work-life balance.


7. Active Listening

Listening is also an important skill to include in your social work resume. This is in recognition of the essential role communication plays in social work practice.

In this, you should demonstrate your ability to genuinely listen to other people, their problems, challenges, and concerns.

You should also aim to show how you can use listening skills to establish respect and trust with your clients.


8. Persuasion

Persuasion is another of the critical skills for a social work resume. A social worker will require these skills in convincing the client to participate in the process and adopt the proposed changes as well.

In your resume, you should therefore strive to elucidate how you can use persuasion to inspire or encourage others to act or join courses.

This is intertwined with the ability to motivate others through different ways.


9. Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking skills are very important for a social worker. Therefore, it is imperative that you find a way to illustrate that you possess them and understand their application.

This is in recognition of the fact that individuals, groups, and institutions are facing different problems that require different solutions and approaches.

As a social worker, you therefore need to prove that you can effectively dissect a problem and find a creative way of solving it.


10.   Advocacy Skills  

As well, advocacy features significantly as one of the important skills for social work resume. This entails the social worker’s ability to advocate for their clients, families, and different groups.

You should therefore seek to clearly highlight your thoughts about advocacy issues like creation of new programs, review of existing policies, and expansion of current programs.

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