5 key social work skills to include in your CV
When looking to make your next career move, it’s important to spend time refreshing your CV so that it showcases your social work skills and abilities in the best possible way.
At Liquid Personnel, we understand that trying to determine exactly what potential employers want to see can be a challenge, so we’re here to help. Using our unparalleled knowledge of the sector, we have produced this article to highlight the key social worker skills and qualities to include in your CV so that it stands out from other applications.
Key social work skills
Five of the most important social work skills to include in your CV include:
- Critical thinking
Read more about these below and find out why you should be bringing them to the attention of employers, as you pursue exciting job opportunities.
The importance of advocacy skills for social workers can’t be understated. A good advocate will be able to successfully represent the individuals that they work with, finding out what they need and ensuring that their voices are heard so that they can access the right resources and opportunities.
Advocacy involves problem solving and being able to diplomatically put forward an argument for a fair outcome in order to improve someone’s situation. It also involves strong collaboration and communication, which we’ll look at in closer detail next.
To highlight these skills within your CV, include examples from previous roles that showcase you as a strong advocate, highlighting the outcomes achieved as evidence.
Why do social workers need good communication skills?
The interactions you have while working as a social worker will impact people’s lives, which is why having strong communication and engagement skills are so important to employers.
As a social worker, you regularly need to share information with different people, who will have different motivations, backgrounds and understandings of the subject matter. This includes not only service users, but other professionals involved in the outcome of their care. The ability to successfully speak to someone on both a professional and personal level will enable you to excel in a role. Clear communication also allows you to forge good relationships with people, building trust through your words and actions.
Employers are always scanning CVs to find potential social workers with strong written and verbal communication skills, so provide examples of how you have developed these in previous roles. Also, ensure that your CV is concise, grammatically correct and is structured well.
* Bonus: Be sure to include any experience or qualification you have with another language! *
Resilience is another key skill, as social work can regularly involve dealing with loss, grief and upset, sometimes on a daily basis. These issues can take their toll and make the role demanding and emotionally draining at times, contrasting with the role’s more rewarding aspects.
Employers typically look for people capable of bouncing back, so resilience will often feature highly on the list of qualities and skills they want from a social worker, as it shows you won’t be deterred by setbacks. When writing your CV, consider mentioning an experience that you found particularly challenging, demonstrating how this has helped to develop your personal and emotional resilience.
Important and life-changing decisions must be made in this line of work, which is why critical thinking is another valuable social work skill.
Think back to a time when you used critical thinking in order to make an educated decision and be sure to include it. By demonstrating when you have had to think critically about situations using your emotional and interpersonal intelligence within your CV, you will immediately stand out to employers
Adaptability is another sought-after skill of a great social worker. The job requires you to be able to adapt to different situations in an ever-changing, emotionally intense work environment. For example, children’s social workers will handle an average of 25 cases – with some figures reaching 50. Being able to work with a wide variety of people, from various backgrounds, is part and parcel of the role.
To highlight your adaptability, include a range of examples on your CV that showcase how you have worked with many different people with different circumstances. This will demonstrate that you are able to use your initiative and act under pressure in changing situations.
Other skills for social workers
While the above qualities are important to include in your CV, there are a range of other social worker skills and qualities that employers will also typically look for when recruiting for roles. Read more about these below:
Social workers require good assessment skills. This includes strong research capabilities, not only to understand each person’s background but to gain knowledge of policies and services appropriate to those you are responsible for.
Highlighting these skills within your CV will help to show employers that you have a passion for driving the most fair and suitable outcomes for people; and are well-versed in staying ahead of current developments in social and political environments.
In addition to this, assessment skills require you to keep an open mind around how best to support people, in line with current practices, rules and regulations. The ability to remain unbiased is highly important to employers.
Why do social workers need good observation skills? As you support people from all walks of life, paying attention to detail is one of the social worker skills needed to help people improve their lives and overcome challenges.
Within your CV, outline times when you have effectively analysed people’s behaviour, paid attention to their surroundings and the information they impart to you, and as a result, been able to identify areas of improvement quickly and sensitively. This will show your ability to spot non-verbal cues, elements of their environment and subtle changes in circumstances in order to gather important information and drive forward positive change.
Time management. The skill we all say we have, but how do we demonstrate this on paper? Social work is built on juggling responsibilities, performance targets and service users’ needs, so being able to show employers that you can effectively manage your time and prioritise important tasks will set you apart from others.
Think of a time where you had to juggle several tasks at once, recalling the strategy you used to achieve a balance and the outcome. Make it clear to employers how this experience developed your time management skills, to evidence your capability for the role’s demands.
FAQs about social worker skills
What is the most frequently used skill in social work?
Good communication is highly valued and among the most frequently used skills of a social worker. In addition to the elements discussed above, this is supported by good listening skills.
Within your CV, it’s important to highlight your ability to communicate effectively within different settings. You want to be able to demonstrate to employers that you are a social worker who can understand different people and situations, gain and convey accurate information, interpret situations correctly and make important, suitable decisions.
How can I improve my skills and attributes?
When it comes to improving your social worker skills, list your current skillset and make a note of the ones you would like to build on.
You can improve many skills with practice. Also, look at what training options are available to you. Are there opportunities with your current employer or are there courses you can take online?
At Liquid Personnel, our agency social work practitioners have exclusive access to our free training and CPD portal. With new content added regularly, we support our agency social workers with their Continuous Professional Development and help them to meet the requirements for continued registration with Social Work England.
How should I highlight my skills and abilities on my CV?
When writing your CV, feature your most relevant social worker skills in the top section using bullet points.
By prioritising these at the earliest opportunity, employers can quickly identify your suitability for the roles that they have available. You can expand on these further down your CV, with relevant examples of how you have applied these skills to past work situations.
For more tips and suggestions, read our blog on how to write a great social work CV.
Discover your next social work role with Liquid Personnel
Liquid Personnel is dedicated to helping you grow your career in social work. From the minute you join us, we will support you every step of the way, so that you are able to find your new, dream role.
If you’d ready to take the next step on your career journey with us, take a look at the social work vacancies we currently have available. You can also register your interest with Liquid Personnel and a dedicated, personal consultant will be in touch to help you find the perfect opportunity.