6 top tips for people starting a career in social work

Whether you are considering becoming a counselor or carer, are currently studying for your social worker certification, or have recently qualified and are looking for jobs in social work, this guide can help you! By following our top tips on how to secure jobs in social work, you can begin to launch your successful long-term career within your chosen profession.

1. Choose a course to suit you

Currently, there are a wide range of social work degrees and academic accreditation that you can pursue within the UK and abroad. Therefore, if you are interested in pursuing a career in social work, you should investigate all of your options, from your local college to stay-at-home courses, such as those offered by the Open University. This will ensure that you are embarking upon a course that will equip you with all of the necessary academic accreditation that you need to pursue a career in social care.

2. Volunteer in your local community

In a recent Guardian article that interviewed individuals actively employed in jobs in social work, planning facilitator Ben Rosamond conveyed how he “would advise looking into what options there are in your local community – community centres, carers centres, organisations such as Age Concern, churches or local providers can provide opportunities to gain experience working with people in a variety of ways”. This type of local volunteering work can provide you with vital on-the-job experience that will bolster your CV and help you to ascertain any areas in which you may wish to specialise as your career progresses.

3. Carry out targeted research

Employers are looking for conscientious and ambitious employees who are enthusiastic about the organisation with which they intend to work. Consequently, when you apply for jobs in social work, you should thoroughly research the agency with which you are applying. As Community Care states: “Read up about the council or organisation you are applying for. Find their latest Ofsted report. Employers like to know you have researched about where you hope to work – it shows you’re enthusiastic and eager”.

4. Familiarize yourself with other social care personnel

It is important that you remain fully aware of the other members of staff within the field of social care, such as nurses, GPs and any other individuals with important jobs in social work. As reported by Community Care: “Get your head around referral pathways – e.g. if a client is suicidal then it is for the GP to refer to the crisis mental health team (but of course the GP needs to be informed of this need by someone first)”. By familiarising yourself with these personnel and their roles within important social care processes you can ensure that the people placed in your care receive the help they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.

5. Research support organisations

When embarking upon a career in social work, it is advisable that you utilise all the offline and online resources that are made available to you. Fortunately, there are numerous national organisations which offer targeted information and support for those employed in jobs in social work across the UK. For example, the British Association of Social Workers offers careers advice, online resources and discussion forums so that you can excel within your chosen profession.

6. Apply for jobs ASAP!

Ideally, you should begin searching for jobs in social work and affiliating yourself with job seeking agencies two to three months before the end of your course. This is due to the fact that it will take time to complete all of your CRB/DBS checks and references, so by applying early, you improve your employability prospects and equip yourself with a greater chance of securing work as soon as possible.

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