Looking for a start in the Social Work field has become an easier task in the last 10 or so years. People who are eager about doing this kind of work are currently in high demand.One glance in the job section of your local newspaper will give you an idea of how many jobs are available in your area. But if you’re just starting out, even knowing where to look in the paper can be a difficult task. Here are some helpful hints to guide towards the Social Work job that is right for you.
* What do I need to get started?
The majority of people who are starting out in Social Work probably have a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) or psychology. But what some people don’t know is that you can have a bachelor’s degree in something other than these fields and still be a competitive force in the social work job market. Also, some places will only require that you have a high school diploma or GED to be considered. These places are good for people who are working on a degree or just need some experience. Moreover, what you really need to get started is a passion for the job and a willingness to be consistent and keep trying. Eventually you will find a job that suits your needs.
* Do I need experience to get a job?
Recruiters look very closely at experience. The more you have, the better your chances of getting the job. But recuiters also note that everyone has to start out somewhere – so don’t lose hope if you aren’t flanked with years of expertise. Just keep trying. Consistency is key. If you don’t have much experience or if you’ve just started out, try applying for the jobs that require the HS diploma and GED first. Those jobs usually are targeted for the entry level positions and are a great way to learn about the system. Building on your experience will be your key to moving up the “ladder”.
* Where do I look for jobs?
Social Work jobs can be found under a number of different categories in hundreds of publications. Many people make the mistake of only looking in one section and get frustrated.There is usually NOT a section labeled ” social work.” Look in the medical section – hospitals often advertise their social work jobs there. The non-profit organizations section always has social work employment. Your local government’s website should have a social services department and employment opportunites. You can also look through the phonebook and find different agencies and contact them yourself. Some of the agencies may be hiring but not be positing in the paper for one reason or another. If you have any friends or family that you know in the field, this is an excellent way to get your foot in the door. Word of mouth is huge in the social work sector. Contact your local college’s social work department to see if they can give you any links to agencies. The resources today for finding jobs are wonderful and should be taken advantage of!
* There are so many different kinds of social work jobs. What kind should I choose?
The many facets of social work can be overwhelming. You can work with children, adults, the elderly, the homeless…. You can work in a hospital, a shelter, a residental treatment facility… the possibilites are endless. Think about what population you would like to work with most: adults or children. Then think about what you would like your hours to be. Are you a morning person? Are you able to work 10 hour shifts? Hours and days vary in each position. When applying for the job, be sure to ask about the hours. In social work there is a need for you to be flexible with your time, so keep that in mind.
* What should I ask the Human Resources representative?
A couple of good primary questions to ask:
What is the rate of pay?
What benefits will I be getting?
How much vacation/sick time am I able to use?
Do you have Worker’s Compensation?
With any job, there are numerous things to think about when getting started. The most important idea to take away from this is the idea that being a social worker requires more than a general need of a paycheck. It requires that you have an immense amount of patience and a true love of helping others.