Social work is a broad industry that has many different facets. However, just like with other careers, it is essential that social workers tailor their resume to the type of position they are seeking and the experiences that they have acquired. Following a generic template may inadvertently exclude some important information that should be included. There is not a one-size-fits-all format that encompasses every type of career. Knowing what employers are looking for and what details apply to your specific industry is important.

Determine Your Interests

Many social workers find that they prefer working within a particular setting or population. New graduates may not be as particular if they have not spent a lot of time in a specific area, but more experienced professionals often know what they like and dislike. Deciding where your interests lie can help you to more effectively target your resume. You can focus more on the skills and experiences that are directly related to the responsibilities you would hold in a given position.

Know the Buzzwords

Keywords are critical. While you may include an extensive list of keywords on your resume, if they are not aligned with the position, company, or field, they will not provide much support. In social work, some common buzzwords that many employers are looking for include:

            – Case management
            – Program development
            – Outreach
            – Advocacy
            – Counselor
            – Evaluation
            – Crisis intervention
            – Assessment
            – Referral
            – Service plans

These are just a few examples. The professionals at Chic Resumes recommend carefully reading through job descriptions and picking out keywords that are relevant to your competencies and experiences. When doing an initial scan of your resume, an employer will quickly be able to see the strengths that you possess.

Highlight Certifications and Licenses

Licensure and training are very important. Create a section specifically devoted to these elements. Since each state has its own requirements and designation, make sure to include the state in which it was obtained. If you are licensed in more than one state, list each one. You can include these in the same section as your education since they are all related.

Showcase Professional Development

In order to maintain an active license, social workers must complete a certain number of professional development or continuing education credits. Include any courses that are relevant to the position and show the depth and breadth of your capabilities. If you have focused on a specific area such as substance abuse, domestic violence, at-risk youth, or another setting, highlight this specialized training. It could be what sets you apart from another otherwise equally qualified applicant.

Also, don’t forget about any memberships that you may hold with professional organizations. This shows a vested interest in your career and that you keep up with current developments, research, and trends in the industry. If you hold a seat on a board or a leadership position, make sure it is identified.

Consider Volunteer Involvement

Social workers are often involved with their communities. Volunteer experience can provide valuable support to back up your skills and abilities. It does not matter that you were not getting paid – you were still doing the work and gaining the skills. This is especially helpful for new graduates who may not have a lot of paid experience yet. By highlighting what they have accomplished through volunteering, they are still focusing on how they have applied and built on what they have learned.

If you are unsure of how to make your education and experiences stand out, the professionals at Chic Resumes by Grammar Chic are prepared to help. We are well versed in a wide range of industries and can help you craft a professional and engaging resume. Contact us today by visiting, emailing, or calling 803-831-7444.