Job seeking in social work; there are many benefits to social media. I am very active on LinkedIn and many of the groups I participate in are social work related groups. Some of the discussion posts are BSW’s and MSW’s looking for employment, looking to relocate and/or seeking guidance. I also see quite a few posts that are companies and recruiters looking to hire a BSW or MSW, but some require state licensing.
If I do a search on social work employment/careers-I see many, many ads.
So, on one hand there are both BSW’s and MSW’s looking for employment and on the other, employers looking for BSW and MSW candidates. Typically, they are seeking one with experience. If you are right out of university, the only experience you most likely have is your internship(s) which many employers do not count as experience. How does one gain experience if no one will hire them?
If a candidate has the necessary skills, is highly recommended by their internship supervisors, professors and others-why not take a chance? A positive to this is the employer fully trains the employee-the employee has little expectations except that they want to work in their chosen field. Typically they will work harder, for less pay and may be more committed being fresh out of university.
Then you have the social workers with many years of experience. They are highly qualified, have the necessary skills and beyond, additional professional training from updating their skills, they may be licensed or certified and are able to step right into a job with little training or direction.
To find a job, networking is very important, whether it be through friends, family, colleagues, social media, online job search, agency job search, professionals you know who work in the field, head hunters, recruiters, and social work national, state or provincial associations (NASW, CASW, UK) are also a good resource. Volunteering is another way to gain some experience and be with a segment of the population you have not worked with before. Serving on a board gives you experience and you make connections.
Introduce yourself, befriend and connect with fellow Social Workers across the globe, share what kind of social work you do/did or want to do. Where do you work currently or where have you worked? Why did you become a social worker? What niche of social work are you seeking?
*Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW
SJS Staff Writer in Canada*
SJS Staff Writer in Canada*
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Thanks for your thoughts. I heartily agree that participation in social networking groups, such as linkedin, can help land someone a job. I would add, however, that participation in professional discussions, rather that just browsing the job ads, can say a lot about your level of involvement and dedication to the field. Employers, more often than not, are “google-ing” prospective applicants. Creating an online professional web presence can give you leg up over other applicants. I’ve written an article about it here: http://www.schoolsocialwork.net/2012/09/09/increase-your-professional-web-presence/
Thank you for your comment Scott. In part two of the series I will focus on social work as a career and will cover the social media aspect a bit more. I do agree that employers are researching prospective applicants by using google, checking Face Book profiles along with LinkedIn profiles and Twitter. One should not make comments on social media, post discussion questions or post photos that are very unprofessional or could be taken out of context.