Social Worker Resume Example

Showcase your ability to help improve lives with our social worker resume guide with tips and examples!

Flor Ana Mireles
Written by Flor Ana Mireles • Last updated on May 20, 2021
Social Worker Resume Example
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Since 2019, the Occupational Outlook Handle has seen a 13% growth rate of social worker jobs, which is much faster than average. Currently, there are over 713,200 social worker jobs out there, which means, if this is your calling, it's time to answer it.

To become a social worker, you are required to have the following:

  • Licensure in your state
  • A minimum of a bachelor's degree in social work (BSW)

With these requirements met, before you can answer the call, you need to convince recruiters that you're the right person for the job and more than capable of improving lives. How do you do that? Well, with a well-written, detailed, and clean social worker resume, and this article will help you create just that.

In this article, we will cover the following 7 steps to get your resume job-ready to help others:

  1. Format your resume like a professional
  2. Include a resume summary to highlight your abilities to recruiters
  3. Include your licenses on your resume
  4. Describe your work experience
  5. Add your education
  6. Mention your certifications
  7. List your key skills

1. Format your resume like a professional

A recruiter is not going to hire you if your resume is sloppy and poorly formatted. Being a social worker is a serious job. Therefore, it is essential for your resume to be taken seriously, too.

When it comes to formatting your resume, there are three ways you can do so:

  1. Reverse-chronological, which emphasizes your previous work experience
  2. Functional, which highlights your key skills
  3. Hybrid, which combines the previous formats to give recruiters a closer look at what you're bringing to the table

As a social worker, the best format for your resume would be reverse-chronological as it is of great importance for recruiters to know what your past experience is and what you've done as a social worker.

Tip: If you're just beginning social work, consider using the functional format to highlight your key skills since you don't have much work experience.

Take a look at our guide on how to format your resume if you want to learn more.

Tip: Be sure to save your resume as a PDF so recruiters have easier access when viewing.

2. Write a resume summary that highlights your experience and abilities

In an industry like social work that is at a 13% growth rate, your experience and abilities are what just may set you apart from other social workers. Recruiters want to find the perfect candidate, and sometimes they need to do so quickly. Writing a resume summary can help you become that candidate.

A resume summary is a 1-2 sentence blurb that summarizes everything in your resume. It makes recruiters know you mean business and respect their time, which can help you get hired faster.

Now, there are some elements that should be made available in a resume summary:

  • Years of experience
  • Kind of experience
  • Achievements
Tip: If you're still in the beginning steps of your social work career, write a resume objective instead of a resume summary. This will show recruiters your goals in the industry as well as your passion.

Here's what a good resume summary can look like for a social worker:

Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) with 5+ years of experience creating treatment plans with 89% success rates in less than 9 months, crisis emergency intervention, and regular counseling of youths.

This example shows recruiters that you are experienced, have had success in your social work, and are disciplined in specific kinds of social work, which helps them determine if you're the right fit for the job much easier.

Here's a bad example of a resume summary:

Social worker with 5 years of experience completing social work duties. Provided interventions, counseling, and treatment planning.

This is not what recruiters want to see because the information is presented in a redundant way. Not to mention, there are many different kinds of social workers, and this resume summary example does not really specify what kind of work is done.

Tip: Always run your resume, especially your resume summary, through a spell check. You wouldn't want to miss your opportunity of getting hired because you misspelled clinical or experience.

Want to write the perfect resume summary? Our guide on writing resume summaries has tons of examples.

3. Include your licenses on your resume

To be a social worker, you need to have a license in your state. Therefore, it is crucial to include your license or licenses on your resume so that recruiters know you are qualified for the job.

Tip: You worked hard for that license, be proud of it, and put it at the top of your resume, right under your resume summary.

While there are licenses that are based on your state, there are general social worker licenses that you should get to up your experience and qualifications.

Here are some licenses you should add to your resume or consider getting:

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  • Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC)
  • Certified Independent Practice Social Worker (CIPSW)
  • Licensed Advanced Practice Social Worker (LAPSW)
  • Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW)
Tip: Be sure to include the acronyms of your qualifications to let recruiters know you're educated in the field and can speak the language.

4. Include and describe your work experience

Depending on your situation, you may just be overqualified for the social worker position you are applying for, or maybe, you don't have the experience just yet. Regardless, it's important to list something under the work experience section of your resume.

If you've got the experience, be sure to use bullet points and descriptions when listing, and be sure to list them in reverse-chronological format.

Your work experience should include the following:

  • Company name
  • Job title
  • Years worked
  • Location
  • Job description

Don't necessarily know what kind of experience to list? Here are some descriptions you can include in your resume:

  • Worked alongside the Primary Care Providers to treat and manage mental health and psychosocial issues.
  • Provided focused intervention for patients who are in need of mental health services.
  • Talked, listened, observed, and analyzed patients and suggested a suitable mode of treatment.
  • Provided complete documentation of visits and the patients' progress in the medical record.
  • Assisted patients in need of developing daily and community living skills.
  • Provided patients with self-management skills and education information needed so they can participate in their treatment.
  • Worked directly with students in response to problematic situations, identifying causal issues, behavioral responses and their impact, and future choices.
  • Consulted with relevant members of faculty and administration in developing behavioral plans.
  • Served on individual students’ learning support teams.
  • Served as a member of crisis intervention and emergency planning/response teams.
  • Facilitated occasional faculty-staff discussions on social and emotional well-being concerns and promotion.
  • Delivered classroom instruction focused on developing positive relationships and other areas based on students' needs.
  • Held regularly scheduled student counseling sessions as needed.
  • Engaged, collaborated, and communicated with parents and other care providers.
  • Worked with students and families to uncover attendance barriers, and develop positive incentives to increase attendance.
Tip: There are different kinds of social workers that focus on specific things. From clinical social workers to substance abuse and child, family and school, be sure to list your experience for your specific role.

If you don't have work experience, don't worry. There are still experiences you can list on your resume:

  • Volunteer work
  • Internships
  • Fill-in fee-for-service work at clinics
  • Social worker assistance

Want more tips and tricks on how to write your work experience description? Check out our guide on describing your work experience.

5. Add your education

To become a social worker, you need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in social work. Even then, a master's degree in social work can be preferred.

Education matters on a social worker's resume, so be sure to include it.

Be sure to mention the following:

  • School name and location
  • Years in school
  • Degree

Here's what listing your education section can look like:

University of New England

Portland, ME • 2014 — 2016

Master of Arts in Social Work
GPA: 3.6/4.0

University of Southern Maine

Portland, ME • 2010 — 2014

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work
GPA: 3.7/4.0

Don't know if to put your GPA on your resume? Take a look at our guide on adding your GPA to your resume, which includes tips and examples.

6. Mention your certifications

If you've got certifications that are relevant to social work, add a certifications section to your resume. This will show recruiters that you are qualified and certified to do certain aspects of social work.

Adding certifications can also take your resume to the next level.

Here are some certificates relevant to social work that you can add to your resume:

  • Qualified Clinical Social Worker (QCSW)
  • Certified Advanced Children, Youth, and Family Social Worker (C-ACYFSW)
  • Mandt Certification, RCT Level
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM)
  • Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager (C-ASWCM)
  • Certified Hospice and Palliative Social Worker (ACHP-SW)
  • Military Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families - Social Worker (MVF-SW)
Tip: Some social worker certifications require only a bachelor's degree while others require a master's degree. Be sure to do your research to get the most out of your degree.

If you're looking for more certifications to include in your resume or want to know how to correctly list them, check out our guide.

7. Include your key skills in your resume

Just because we are including your key skills at the end of our guide doesn't mean they are unimportant to mention. In fact, including your key skills in your resume can separate you from other applicants and heighten your chances of getting hired.

When listing your key skills, make sure that they are relevant to social work. You can even categorize your skills into hard skills and soft skills and show off both your social worker skills as well as your interpersonal skills.

Here are some hard skills or social work-relevant skills you can list in your resume:

  • Treatment Plan Development
  • Emergency Intervention
  • Counseling
  • Assessment
  • Evaluation
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Human Behavior Analysis
  • Psychopathology
  • Policy Awareness

Here are some soft skills or interpersonal skills you can list in your resume:

  • Communication
  • Active Listening
  • Empathy
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Collaboration
  • Problem-solving
  • Research
  • Perspective
  • Perception

Adding key skills is sure to make your resume shine and stand out to recruiters.

If you're having trouble identifying key skills, we have a guide with 100+ key skills that can help you out, too.

Key Takeaways

Following this guide, you're one step closer to your goal of helping improve the lives of others. That's our goal, too, with helping you create the perfect resume for your job as a social worker.

Here's a recap of everything we've covered:

  1. Format your resume like a professional
  2. Include a resume summary that highlights your abilities
  3. Include your licenses on your resume
  4. Describe and list your work experience
  5. Add your education
  6. Mention your certifications
  7. List your key skills

Be sure to include all your contact information, and there you have it. Good luck!

Flor Ana Mireles
Flor Ana Mireles is a writer and editor with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Journalism) and a background in English literature, music, marketing, and business. She is also the self-published author of two poetry collections and the lead singer of South Florida rock band Leather and Lace. Flor has experience in social media and getting crafty and artsy. When she is not writing, she's spending time in nature, reading, or listening to music.
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