No matter how capable an individual might be in a social worker job, when it comes to attending a job interview everything depends on their CV. Learning how to write a good CV can make all the difference, turning hard-earned skills and experience into real opportunity.
Writing a great CV for social worker jobs.
A good CV should be between one and three pages in length, printed on one side of the paper only, in a clear font. It must be properly proofread; a surprising number are not and good organisation is important, especially when applying for a social worker role in which maintaining accurate records is an important part of the job.
Sub-headers, in bold type, can be used to divide the CV into neat sections detailing experience, qualifications, training courses undertaken, professional skills and personal qualities.
Adding a recent, professional quality photograph at the top of the document can increase the chances of success by making prospective employers more likely to remember the CV and identify with its author.
It is important to review the CV and if necessary edit it, before making each job application. Often minor adjustments, bringing it more closely in line with the criteria specified in the job advertisement, will make a big difference.
A strong social worker CV.
When social workers are composing CVs they need to illustrate how experience translates into professional skills. Short descriptions of previous positions should reference the type of people they worked with and the contexts in which they worked. Precisely which factors are emphasised can be varied depending on the particular position being applied for.
What to include in a good social worker CV.
There is no need to worry about making a CV overly comprehensive; it is essentially there to whet the appetite and introduce information that can be discussed further, at interview. Just what is included will depend in part on the applicant’s career history, with some CVs needing to be extended, whilst others are trimmed down to the basics. A short CV is better than a padded one, but if necessary it can be legitimately extended by, for instance, listing qualifications in more detail.
Work experience is often the deciding factor when a prospective employer is struggling to choose between candidates. For those who do not have very much to list here, however, there are ways around the problem.
Newly qualified social workers can list work placements, especially if those who supervised them are willing to act as referees.
Voluntary work can be included on a social worker’s CV if there is sufficient space and if it illustrates community commitment or is a source of relevant skills.
A good social worker CV will often end with a table listing specific skills and techniques that the candidate has mastered, alongside the jobs in which they were gained and the period they were used for. This makes it easy for a prospective employer to skim through and decide whether the applicant is likely to be a good fit. Nothing should be included here that cannot be explained and expanded upon at interview.