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Allied News December 3, 2018

By Sarah Stasik

Tips for a Successful Social Worker Job Search in 2019

Whether you've just started your social worker job search or you've been at it for weeks or month, landing a great position can seem daunting. Put some of these tips into action to get a social work job that you love.

And if you'd like to help people while seeing the country, visit Club Staffing to apply for travel social work jobs.



From tapping your existing networks to creating resumes that work for you, check out these tips for landing a great new job.

1. Take advantage of prior internships
Victor Furtick, LMSW, works in the Big Apple with a self-help brand and says that a social worker's former experience — even during college — can help them during their social worker job search.

"Look no further than your last internship," says Furtick. "Often times, utilizing preexisting connections can be key in finding a social work job. Perhaps you've done an internship in the past, and reaching out to previous organizations that you have volunteered/interned for can be a great tip."

The benefit of these connections is that they're familiar with your work, so they can offer custom tips on open positions. In some cases, the organization might even offer you a position if it finds out you're looking.

2. Let personal networks know about your social worker job search
In fact, says Furtick, it pays to reach out to a variety of people within your network during your social worker job search, including personal acquaintances and friends.

"Perhaps you know someone working in an industry that may have openings for social workers and you can request a recommendation," says Furtick. "Sometimes, it helps if you can indicate a connection to a current employee."

It is important to separate professional and personal lives, but that doesn't mean you can't mention your job need in circles that aren't related to your social work career. You never know when a friend might know someone hiring.

3. Join professional networks online
Furtick encourages social workers to expand their job search to digital environments. "Having a professional profile such as a LinkedIn can set you apart from other candidates," he says.

"This allows an employer to get a better sense of your work experience aside from just a traditional resume. You can also look for Facebook social work groups based on your location for updates."

Remember to keep professionalism in mind and ensure any of your public profiles only shares things about you that you don't mind a prospective employer seeing.

4. Volunteer or get involved in your desired niche
Tara McShane Pandarinath, LCSW, currently works at Decatur Counseling Center, but she has been employed as an LCSW in three states. She points out that social workers do have to pay attention to the expectations of the region they're in, as employer requirements and culture can vary.

Getting involved in the area and your desired niche is a good way to ferret out some of those differences.

"If you know the population you want to work with, the best way to find a job is to meet people who are already doing the job you want," says Pandarinath.

"Volunteer or find ways to get involved so they see your face regularly. You may want to do informational interviews to meet people who are doing the job you want — or even a few steps ahead of that job."

5. Check for a culture fit during your social worker job search
Ilene Marcus, MSW, MPA, is the CEO of Aligned Workplace. She notes that social workers shouldn't accept the first job offer they receive during their job hunt. In fact, you might not even want to go for the highest salary.

Marcus points out that it sounds simple, but many people don't check sites like Glassdoor during their social worker job hunt to find out what type of employer they're planning to work for.

If the company has a high turnover rate, it's worth asking some questions to ensure the culture is a fit. While you do want a job, you might be better off waiting a little longer to work in a position where you'll feel comfortable.

Elise Mitchell, MS, CCC-SLP and Executive Director of DotCom Therapy, points out that culture fits aren't all about how the employer treats you, either. There's a growing trend in teletherapy, but she points out that remote work isn't right for everyone.

"Working remotely can feel isolating if you are not with the right company," says Mitchell. "Reach out to company employees, set up a demo or request any and all insight you can as to what the company feels like and how the company treats its employees.

Social work is a demanding career. You need to make sure you work for a company that takes care of you as you take care of others."

6. Include keywords in your resume and online profiles
Finally, Richard Blazevich, author of Interview Prep Playbook, weighs in with a modern tip for your social worker job search.

"One of my favorite tips for job hunters is to study job descriptions for the jobs you want. Then include keywords from those job descriptions on your resume and in your interview answers,” he says.

Now that you have some professional tips for success in your social worker job search, break out your resume and begin the process of finding your next career opportunity today.


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