Best Social Worker Resume Examples For 2024 (Template & Guide)

Social workers play a crucial role in helping individuals and communities overcome challenges in their daily lives. If you’re ready to make a difference in the field of social work, you’ll need a resume to showcase your skills and qualifications. Our social worker resume examples are designed to help you craft a compelling resume that attracts potential employers!

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Social Worker Resume: Overview

As a social worker, you are responsible for providing support to individuals and families, helping them overcome challenges, and improving their well-being.

Your role involves identifying people and communities in need, offering counseling, and connecting clients with resources. Social workers are found in a wide variety of settings:

          • Hospitals and healthcare facilities
          • Schools and educational institutions
          • Government and social service agencies
          • Non-profit organizations
          • Private practice

In addition to a degree, social workers need a mix of skills, including strong communication, emotional intelligence, and organizational abilities.

Creating an impressive resume is a crucial step in landing your next social work job! Our helpful examples and professionally designed resume templates will help you get started!

Social Worker Resume: Choose a Format

The first thing you need to do when writing a resume for a social work job is to choose a template and a format.

Choosing the right resume format is crucial for presenting your qualifications as a social worker effectively. The format you choose should highlight your experience and skills in the best possible way.

There are three main format options for a social worker’s resume: chronological, functional, and combination.

Chronological Resumes for Social Workers

A chronological resume format lists your work history in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job. This format is ideal if you have a solid work history in social work. It highlights your career progression and stability.

Chronological resumes are the most popular choice for most social workers, and they are very compatible with most applicant tracking systems (ATS). However, there may be better choices if you have gaps in your employment history.

Functional Resumes for Social Workers

A functional resume format focuses on your skills and qualifications rather than your work history. This format is useful if you are a recent graduate, are changing careers, or have gaps in your employment. It allows you to showcase your relevant skills, education and achievements.

However, some employers may prefer to see a clear work history, and functional resumes are not very ATS-friendly. That doesn’t mean it can’t work well for you, but a functional format has limitations, especially when applying online.

Combination Resumes for Social Workers

A combination resume format merges elements of both chronological and functional formats. It highlights your skills and qualifications while also providing a detailed work history. This format is beneficial if you have solid skills and experience. It offers the flexibility to emphasize both your expertise and work experience.

However, a combination format can be challenging to organize and may make your resume longer. A social worker’s resume should only be one or two pages at most, so when using this format, stay focused on the most relevant information.

Choosing a Resume Format

When it comes to picking a resume format, the chronological format is often your best bet, no matter how much experience you have. This format is straightforward and easy for hiring managers to read, making it a favorite among employers.

Plus, it’s ATS-friendly, which means it’s more likely to get past the initial resume screening software.

Now, if you’re transitioning into social work and don’t have much direct experience, don’t worry! You can still make a chronological resume work for you by highlighting your transferable skills. Think about the knowledge and experiences from your previous jobs that align with social work.

For example, if you’ve worked in customer service, you’ve likely developed strong communication and problem-solving skills—both of which are crucial in social work.

Customize your resume by emphasizing these relevant skills and achievements. In each job entry, focus on responsibilities and accomplishments related to the key skills needed for a social worker.

For instance, if you managed a team in your previous job, highlight your leadership and organizational skills. If you worked in a role that required a lot of empathy and listening, be sure to mention those experiences.

By focusing on these transferable skills and tailoring your resume to the social work field, you can create a compelling chronological resume that stands out, even without direct experience in social work.

How to Write a Social Worker Resume

Writing a resume for a social worker position is all about showcasing your unique skills, experience, and qualifications in a way that stands out to potential employers.

There are five essential sections that outline a social worker’s resume:

          • Contact Information
          • Summary or Objective
          • Work History
          • Skills
          • Education

You can also provide additional sections of relevant information, such as certifications and professional associations, as long as they do not take up unnecessary space on your social worker resume.

This guide will walk you through each step to help you create a professional and effective resume!

Contact Information

Let’s start with the basics: your contact information. This section is crucial because it’s how employers will reach out to you.

Include your name, city and state, phone number, and email address. Optionally, you can also include a LinkedIn profile. Double-check that everything is up-to-date and looks professional.

Your contact information section will look something like this:

Matthew Matteson
Tulsa, OK
(555) 123-4567
Mmatteson@fake-example.com
linkedin.com/in/matthewmatteson

It’s simple, but it’s the first impression an employer will have of you, so make sure it’s easy to find, easy to read and error-free.

Summary or Objective

Next up is the summary or objective section, which sets the tone for your resume. This is where you give a snapshot of who you are and what you bring to the table. But which one should you use?

Let’s break it down.

A resume summary is perfect if you have significant experience in the field. It’s a brief overview of your top skills and achievements, showcasing your expertise and what makes you a standout candidate.

Here’s an example of a resume summary for an experienced social worker:

“Dedicated social worker with 5+ years of experience providing compassionate care and support to diverse populations. Proven ability to develop and implement effective intervention plans, enhancing client well-being.”

On the other hand, an objective statement is ideal if you’re new to the field or making a career change. It focuses on your career goals and what you aim to achieve in the role. This helps potential employers understand your aspirations and how they align with the job.

Here’s an example of an objective statement for a social worker’s resume:

“Motivated Social Work graduate seeking an entry-level position to utilize my skills in counseling and case management to support individuals and families in need.”

Remember, whether you choose a summary or an objective, tailor it to the job you’re applying for.

Use keywords from the job description to make sure your resume stands out to both hiring managers and applicant tracking systems (ATS). This little bit of customization can make a big difference in catching the eye of potential employers.

Work History

Your work history section is where you really get to shine, showing potential employers exactly what you’ve done and what you can bring to their team.

First, list your work history in reverse chronological order. This means starting with your most recent job and working your way back.

Each entry should include your job title, the name of the employer, the location (city and state), and the dates of employment. But don’t stop there—this is your chance to highlight your key responsibilities and achievements.

To make your work history section stand out, start each bullet point with a strong action verb like “developed,” “implemented,” “coordinated,” or “provided.”

This makes your responsibilities sound dynamic and impactful. Whenever possible, use numbers to highlight your accomplishments.

For example, “Provided crisis intervention and counseling services to over 50 clients per month” is more impressive than only saying “Provided crisis intervention and counseling services.”

Remember to highlight the outcomes of your actions. Did your intervention plans improve the client well-being? Did your coordination with community resources lead to better client support? Employers want to see the tangible impact of your work.

Customize your job descriptions to match the job you’re applying for. Look at the job description and mirror the language and keywords used. This not only shows employers that you’re a good fit but also helps your resume get past ATS filters.

For example, a job entry on a social worker resume might look like this:

Social Worker
ABC Social Services, Oklahoma City, OK
June 2019 – Present

          • Developed and implemented individualized care plans for over 100 clients, improving client well-being by 30%
          • Provided crisis intervention and counseling services, successfully reducing client crises by 25%
          • Coordinated with community resources, securing housing and employment for 50+ clients

By following these tips, you’ll create a work history section that not only tells employers what you’ve done but also highlights your achievements and the value you can bring to their organization.

Remember, this section allows you to tell your professional story and make a lasting impression.

Skills

Next, it’s time to spotlight your skill set! A dedicated skills section is crucial for showcasing your key abilities as a social worker. Social workers need a blend of hard and soft skills to support their clients and navigate complex situations effectively.

Hard skills are your technical abilities and expertise, like client assessment, case management, or documentation.

Soft skills are your interpersonal traits and how you interact with others, like communication, active listening, or patience. Both are equally important in this field.

For inspiration, here are the top skills for a social worker:

Top 5 Hard Skills for Social Worker Resumes

          • Case Management: Social workers often oversee multiple clients, each with unique needs. Effective case management ensures that clients receive the appropriate services and support, leading to better outcomes.
          • Crisis Intervention: Social workers must be able to respond swiftly to crises, providing immediate support and resources to stabilize situations and prevent further escalation.
          • Client Assessment: Accurate client assessments are essential for creating effective care plans. This skill involves understanding the client’s background, current situation, and specific needs.
          • Counseling: Counseling is a core component of social work. It helps clients navigate their challenges and develop coping strategies. This skill requires a deep understanding of therapeutic techniques and empathy.
          • Documentation: Keeping detailed and precise records is vital for tracking client progress, ensuring continuity of care, and meeting legal and professional standards.

Top 5 Soft Skills for Social Worker Resumes

          • Empathy: Empathy allows social workers to build trust and rapport with clients, making them feel understood and supported. This skill is fundamental in creating a therapeutic relationship.
          • Communication: Strong communication skills are essential for explaining complex concepts to clients, coordinating with other professionals, and advocating for clients’ needs.
          • Problem-Solving: Social workers often face complex situations that require innovative solutions. Being able to think critically and creatively to resolve issues is crucial for client success.
          • Time Management: Managing a heavy caseload requires excellent time management skills. Social workers must prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and ensure that each client receives adequate attention.
          • Teamwork: Social work often involves working with a multidisciplinary team. Collaborating effectively with others ensures comprehensive care for clients.

For example, a skills section on a social worker’s resume might look something like this:

Skills

          • Case Management
          • Crisis Intervention
          • Client Assessment
          • Counseling
          • Documentation
          • Empathy
          • Communication
          • Problem-Solving
          • Time Management
          • Teamwork

By highlighting both hard and soft skills in your resume, you can demonstrate to potential employers that you have the technical expertise and interpersonal qualities needed to excel as a social worker.

Tailor your skills section to emphasize the abilities that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for, and be sure to provide examples of how you’ve used these skills in your previous roles.

Education

This part is pretty straightforward but vital to letting employers know you are qualified. It’s where you show your academic background and how it has prepared you for a career in social work.

Start by listing your highest degree first. Include the name of the degree, the institution where you earned it, and the location (city and state). If you have any honors or relevant coursework, you can mention those too.

Here’s an example of an education section for a social worker resume:

Master of Social Work (MSW)
University of Social Work, Chicago, IL

Additional Sections

If you have page space, additional sections can enhance your resume by showcasing your unique qualifications and experiences, helping you shine even brighter to potential employers.

Here are some ideas:

          • Certifications: If you’ve earned any relevant certifications, this is the place to highlight them. Certifications can demonstrate specialized knowledge and commitment to your field. For example, certifications like Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM) can add significant value to your resume.
          • Volunteer Experience: Volunteer work is a great way to show your dedication to social work, even if it wasn’t part of your formal employment. List any volunteer roles that are relevant to social work, such as volunteering at shelters, community centers, or crisis hotlines. This not only shows your commitment to helping others but also provides additional experience.
          • Professional Memberships: Being a member of professional organizations can demonstrate your engagement with the social work community. Include memberships in organizations like the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) or other relevant groups. This shows that you’re connected to the field and committed to staying current with industry standards and practices.
          • Awards and Honors: Don’t be shy about listing any awards or honors you’ve received. These accolades can set you apart from other candidates and highlight your achievements. Whether it’s an academic award, a professional accolade, or recognition for your volunteer work, make sure to include it.

Adding these sections can provide a more complete picture of who you are and what you bring to the table.

They highlight your dedication, experience, and engagement with the social work field, making your resume more compelling to potential employers.

Top Certifications For Social Workers

Certifications are among the most popular additional sections for a social worker’s resume. Certifications can enhance your resume by showcasing your commitment to the field and continued learning. Some of the most popular certifications for a social worker’s resume are:

          • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW): The LCSW designation signifies that a social worker has obtained a master’s or doctoral degree in social work and has completed additional supervised clinical experience.

This certification validates advanced practice skills in providing individuals, families, and groups with therapeutic interventions, psychotherapy, and mental health services. LCSWs are qualified to diagnose and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders across diverse populations and settings.

          • Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM): The C-SWCM credential recognizes social workers who specialize in case management within various healthcare, social service, or community-based organizations.

This certification demonstrates expertise in assessing clients’ needs, developing individualized care plans, coordinating services, and advocating for clients’ rights and well-being.

          • School Social Work Specialist (SSWS): The SSWS designation indicates proficiency in addressing the social, emotional, and academic needs of students within educational settings.

School social workers with this certification possess specialized knowledge and skills in providing counseling, crisis intervention, and support services to students, families, and school staff. They collaborate with educators, administrators, and community partners to create a positive and inclusive school environment conducive to students’ academic success and social-emotional development.

          • Certified Hospice and Palliative Social Worker (CHP-SW): The CHP-SW certification is designed for social workers who specialize in providing compassionate care and support to individuals and families facing life-limiting illnesses or end-of-life issues.

These social workers have expertise in addressing physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical concerns associated with terminal illness, death, and bereavement. CHP-SWs offer holistic assessments, advanced care planning, grief counseling, and advocacy services to enhance the quality of life and promote dignity in the dying process.

10 Tips For Writing A Social Worker Resume

Show Off Your Skills: Let your potential employer know what you bring to the table! Whether it’s your knack for conflict resolution or your empathy for those in need, make sure your skills shine through.

Action Speaks Louder Than Words: Start each bullet point with a powerful action verb to really show how you’ve made a difference. Instead of just saying you “helped clients,” say you “empowered clients to achieve their goals.”

Numbers Tell the Story: Don’t just tell them about your achievements, show them! Whether it’s the number of families you’ve assisted or the percentage of improvement in a client’s situation, quantifying your accomplishments adds weight to your resume.

Customize, Customize, Customize: One size does not fit all when it comes to resumes! Tailor your resume to each job application by highlighting the skills and experiences most relevant to the position.

Short and Sweet: Keep it concise! Aim for a one-page resume if you can. Highlight the most important information and leave out any fluff.

Looks Matter: Choose a professional format that’s easy to read. You want your potential employer to focus on your qualifications, not get distracted by a cluttered layout.

Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s: Proofread, proofread, proofread! Nothing screams unprofessional, like a resume full of typos and grammatical errors.

Speak Their Language: Use keywords from the job description to ensure your resume gets past any Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and into the hands of a real person.

Education Matters: Highlight your degrees and certifications. Your education is a big part of what qualifies you for the job, so don’t leave it out!

Give Back: Show your commitment to making the world a better place by including any volunteer experience you have. It demonstrates your dedication to serving the community, which is a big plus in the field of social work.

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Key Takeaways

          • Choose a resume format that effectively showcases your experience and skills, aligning with industry standards.
          • Highlight both hard and soft skills pertinent to social work, emphasizing qualities like empathy, communication, and crisis intervention.
          • Utilize action verbs and quantify achievements in your work history to demonstrate your impact and effectiveness in previous roles.
          • Prominently feature relevant certifications, such as LCSW or CSWCM, to underscore your specialized expertise.
          • Tailor each resume to the specific job opportunity, incorporating keywords and directly addressing the employer’s needs to maximize your chances of securing an interview.

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FAQ

Updated: June 10, 2024

Focus on showcasing your core competencies and strengths as a social worker. Highlight your abilities in areas such as empathy, active listening, crisis intervention, advocacy, and case management. These qualities are essential in the field and will grab the attention of potential employers.

Use action-oriented language to describe your accomplishments. Instead of simply listing duties, emphasize the impact you've had. For instance, if you conducted group therapy sessions, specify the outcomes or improvements observed in participants' well-being or behavior. This approach demonstrates your effectiveness and paints a vivid picture of your contributions.

Strive to keep your resume concise and impactful, ideally fitting onto a single page. Two pages are acceptable if you have many years of experience. Focus on presenting the most relevant and compelling information that showcases your suitability for the social work role. Prioritize recent and significant experiences, skills, and achievements while omitting extraneous details or unrelated work experiences.

Yes, a well-organized and visually appealing layout enhances the readability and professionalism of your resume. Choose a clean and structured format that allows the content to flow logically. Use clear headings, bullet points, and adequate white space to make the document easy to navigate. A visually appealing resume ensures that your qualifications and experiences are presented effectively to potential employers.

To optimize your resume for ATS, incorporate relevant keywords and phrases from the job description. ATS software scans resumes for specific terms and qualifications related to the social work position. Research industry-specific keywords and integrate them strategically throughout your resume, particularly in the skills, experience, and summary sections. By aligning your resume with the job requirements, you increase your chances of getting your resume noticed successfully.

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Conor McMahon, CPRW
Conor McMahon, CPRW
Content Writer

Conor is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) for Hloom.com. He has over three years of professional writing experience as well as experience in professional development training. As a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARWCC) Conor has written on career development topics ranging from resume and cover letter best practices, employer/employee communication, job seeking help, and more. He received his degree in Music Industry at Northeastern University and plays guitar in his free time.

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