Social workers help individuals and families through difficult times and ensure they are safe from harm. As such, their contribution is invaluable.
So, we can only assume that you want your social worker resume to represent the value you bring into society and land you the best employment opportunities out there!
The best way to do that is by putting the spotlight on your most noteworthy professional achievements and showing that you’ve got all the right skills to excel at the job.
Not sure exactly how to use your social worker resume to your advantage?
Well, you’ve come just to the right place!
- How to Pick the Best Social Worker Resume Format
- How to List Your Work Experience in a Compelling Way
- How to Tailor Your Social Worker Resume to the Job
- Tips & Tricks on How to Excel In Your Career As a Social Worker
And much more!
Let’s dive in!
#2. Pay Attention to Your Contact Information
This one’s relatively straightforward.
In your contact information section, make sure to include:
- Full name
- Title (in this case, “social worker”)
- Phone number
- Email address
- LinkedIn URL (optional)
Simple enough, right?
However, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure to triple-check all the information (especially your phone number) before moving to the next section. You don’t want to lose your shot at the job just because you had a typo in your phone number.
- Use a professional email address (something like, email@example.com), not something that sounds like it belongs in your childhood.
#3. Customize your Resume Summary
Your resume summary needs to be attention-grabbing.
The 2-3 sentence synopsis of your career is the first thing that recruiters lay their eyes on and what makes them decide if they should keep reading.
As such, it’s very important that you get this right.
Not sure how you can do that? Simply follow our tried-and-tested format:
- Your job and years of experience
- 1-2 best achievements/core responsibilities
- Desired goal (or your motivation for working in this industry/specific job)
And this is what it would look like in your social worker resume:
Child, family, and school social worker with 5+ years of experience in treating childhood abuse. I’ve had three scientific articles on childhood abuse published in academic journals and I’m currently researching how abandonment issues manifest in young adults. Passionate about deepening my knowledge through experience.
Haven’t Worked in the Field Before? Internships and Volunteer Experience Counts!
Lacking work experience doesn’t automatically disqualify you from getting your dream job, especially if you have something to substitute it with.
So, if you’ve ever volunteered, or done an internship, make sure to include that in the professional experience of your social worker resume.
And remember - as we mentioned above, list your achievements over your responsibilities whenever you can. Here’s how!
2019 - 2020
- Volunteered at the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) For Children.
- Helped 60 children in the process of finding permanent home environments.
- Did 30 hours of pre-service training before beginning to volunteer.
Are you a student struggling to create your resume? Our guide on how to make a student resume can help!
#5. Include Your Education
Your education comes directly after your work experience. Here’s what you should know about it:
- Only include your high school degree if you don’t have a B.A. or any higher education degree.
- If you haven’t completed your education yet, you should still mention every year of your education to date.
- In terms of layout, your work experience section should precede education. If you’re a recent graduate with no experience (including any volunteering or internships in social work), then you can start with your education instead.
Start filling up your education section by listing the following:
- Degree Type and Major
- Name of University
- Years studied
- GPA, Honors, Courses, and any relevant achievements!
Exceptional education results, honors, and relevant extracurricular activities can also show recruiters that you are driven, motivated, and determined to put in the effort. As such, you should not underestimate this section.
Here’s how two well-built education sections looks like:
MA in Counseling Psychology
2015 - 2019
- Published research on trauma bonding in the Journal of Counseling Psychology
- Founder and Editor in Chief of the Webster Psychology Magazine
BA in Social Work
University of Southern California
2012 - 2016
- Graduated Summa Cum Laude
- Assisted in the University’s Counseling Office since sophomore year
#8. Take Advantage of Additional Resume Sections
So, you got all the essentials out of the way and you’re closer than ever to landing your dream job as a social worker.
But what if you have some extra space on your resume?
Or, maybe, you are fluent in a foreign language or have attended a ton of scientific conferences.
No reason to let those achievements go to waste! Take advantage of additional resume sections such as “Languages,” “Conferences,” “Publications” and “Hobbies & Interests.”
Here are some examples on how this would look like on a social worker resume:
- Spanish (Verbal skills: Advanced; Written skills: Advanced)
- French (Verbal skills: Advanced; Written skills: Intermediate)
- 2018 NASW National Conference: "Shaping Tomorrow Together"
- 2016 NASW National Conference: “Leading Change, Transforming Lives”
Hobbies & Interests
- Member of the National Association of Social Workers
- President of the “Counseling Through Reading” Book Club (25 members)
#1. Remember to take care of yourself!
It often happens that when our work involves taking care of others, we become less concerned with taking care of ourselves.
For example, as a social worker, you might get too involved and personal with a case and, wanting to find a solution, end up neglecting your need for rest. This might lead to burnout.
Well, that should never be the case - especially when you have a job with an intense workload and unstable hours. Social workers are also at risk of developing emotional fatigue - a factor for a deterioration in their mental health.
That’s why self-care goes a long way in your industry; you won’t be able to take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself!
#2. Advance your education to increase your employability!
The level of your education in social work determines how far you can advance your career.
For example, a Bachelor’s degree in social work will qualify you for entry-level positions, such as aging services or residential treatment.
Meanwhile, you need a Master’s degree to become a Licensed Social Worker and practice your profession unsupervised. With a doctorate in social work (DSW) or a Ph.D. in social work, you can get advanced training in research and policy analysis, and even teach at the university level.
This means that the higher the degree you have obtained, the better your employment options.
#4. Listening is half the communication process!
We cannot stress the importance of active listening enough.
Why? To assess each case that you are assigned, you’ll need to listen and understand their experiences before you can work out a solution.
For this solution to be effective, the people you work with need to trust you and open up to you.
Neither is doable if you’re not an expert in effectively listening to those around you.
That’s why career advisors, professors, and trainers alike stress the importance of knowing how to listen, no matter the field of social work you are in.
Well, that was a lot to take in!
By now you should have the right know-how to build the social worker resume that best represents you.
Just to do a small recap, though, let’s go over the main points we covered:
- Choose the reverse-chronological format to make the most out of your social worker resume and put the spotlight on your most recent work experiences.
- Whenever it is possible, mention your professional achievements over your responsibilities to stand out from other applicants.
- You can list volunteer experience and internships in social work under your “work experience” section - especially if you haven’t previously worked in the field.
- Don’t leave any licenses and certifications out of your social worker resume.
- Remember, being a social worker isn’t easy! Make sure to take care of yourself and build a support system of colleagues and mentors to help you through any professional hardships.