If you’re reading this after recently passing a social work licensure exam, we’d like to offer you huge congratulations! No matter which test you just passed, you no doubt put an enormous amount of work into studying for success. These skills will be useful in your next career step: finding employment.
Starting work in the social work field is an exciting milestone, and you’re no doubt looking for the perfect opportunity. The following ideas and resources will give you a great start towards finding that ideal position.
Internship and School Contacts
A high number of newly graduated and licensed social workers get their first job from their field work practicum or connections they made during that placement. It’s the best possible situation; you’ve had an opportunity to test out the workplace, and they already know that they like your work. If you loved your internship, inquire with the organization to see if any vacancies are open. At your field work placement, you might also have worked regularly with other local social work organizations that will appreciate getting an application from a familiar face.
Your social work program also likely offers a wealth of resources for alums to job hunt. Find out if your department offers job listings or specific support for recent and newly licensed graduates. Additionally, check out your school’s career center for support creating a snazzy resume and sharpening your interviewing skills. Informally, classmates and fellow alums can also point you to work opportunities.
Local Networking Opportunities
Did you know that over half of all job vacancies never get posted online? The reason is that they get filled by someone the company already knows and loves. If you’re only looking at job vacancy boards for work, you’re missing out on some great potential word of mouth opportunities.
Most cities offer formal and informal networking groups for social workers, which can include happy hours, educational presentations, and support groups. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has active local chapters throughout the country that are useful for job hunting. You can find additional networking opportunities through school classmates, colleagues at your internship, websites like meetup.com, and searching social networking sites such as Facebook.
Despite the caveats mentioned earlier about checking traditional job boards for work, many social workers still find their first role using this tried and true method. Online job ads (or even taking a look at the local print newspaper) are particularly useful if you’re new to an area and haven’t yet established a community network.
To stand out in your application, apply for jobs where you’re well qualified and have previous internship or work experience with the population. A well-formatted, descriptive resume and an enthusiastic cover letter will convey your qualifications and interest in the position. Your applications will be particularly strong if you tailor your application packet for each vacancy of interest.
We wish you the best in your ongoing job search and know that you’ll succeed in finding a great fit. The ideal opportunity is out there for everyone!