Social workers help people address challenges like drug abuse, mental illness, and divorce. They often connect clients with resources, such as mental health professionals and community health services. Although a rewarding career, some social workers experience burnout. Professionals in this position may benefit from a career change.
Social workers seeking a career change should consider roles like educator, career counselor, or inclusion specialist. These professions require many of the skills that social workers possess. This guide outlines these and other opportunities for professionals with
social work degrees considering a career change.
Social Worker Transferable Skills
Social workers possess many soft and hard skills. This section outlines several transferable skills that social workers can use in their new career.
- Active Listening: Active listening refers to the ability to attentively listen to someone and comprehend the meaning of what’s being said. The skill involves ignoring distractions and displaying physical cues, such as nodding, to show engagement. These skills help job applicants engage during an interview.
- Emotional Intelligence: Social workers use emotional intelligence to understand their clients’ needs and perspectives. Recognizing and understanding someone’s emotions can make professionals strong collaborators and leaders. Individuals with heightened emotional intelligence can understand an interviewer’s emotional state and adjust their answers accordingly.
- Judgment and Decision-making: Social workers use their judgment and decision-making skills when evaluating clients’ needs and developing action plans. Employers typically reserve managerial positions for candidates with a strong decision-making record. Social workers seeking a career change can demonstrate these skills to potential employers on a resume or during an interview.
- Time Management/Organizational Skills: Social workers operate in a dynamic work environment with diverse challenges. They need strong time management and organizational skills. They can demonstrate these skills during a social work career change by arriving at interviews early with a copy of their resume.
- Workload Management: Workload management helps social workers serve clients while avoiding burnout. The skill involves creating a priority system for cases. Employees with this skill can often manage tight deadlines. Applicants can demonstrate their workload management expertise by describing an example in their cover letter.
- Interviewing Skills: Social workers interview clients to understand their needs and recommend resources. The skill involves empathy and trust-building. Social workers can apply these skills when interviewing with a hiring manager.
- Leadership: Most employers value applicants with leadership skills. Social workers develop these skills when helping clients make positive life changes. Experienced social workers may also lead teams and coordinate others’ workloads. Discussing a leadership example with a hiring manager can help candidates secure employment.
- Advocacy: Social workers possess advanced advocacy skills. They advocate for clients when speaking with professionals like medical providers, other social workers, and elected officials. A social work career change involves advocating for oneself in front of hiring and human resources managers.
Tips for Transitioning from Social Work to a New Career
Professionals seeking a career change from social work benefit from networking with potential employers. Websites such as LinkedIn allow users to research employers and create an online profile. Many employers also post job opportunities on LinkedIn. Other networking opportunities include in-person career fairs.
Professionals can attract employers’ attention with a well-written resume. A compelling resume is clean, concise, and error-free. It should list candidates’ accomplishments and include updated information.
A social work career change may involve developing new professional skills. Fortunately, many organizations offer certificate and certification programs that can help job candidates demonstrate specialized skills.
Alternative Careers for Social Work Degree Holders
Many roles require skills that social workers possess, such as career counselor, health educator, and high school teacher. The following list highlights several careers available to professionals planning a career change from social work.
Thomas Broderick is a freelance writer and the owner of Broderick Writer LLC. He creates study guides, informational websites, and blog posts for clients in the education field. Thomas is also a published author of over 20 short stories and a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.
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