Social workers protect vulnerable populations, support families, and help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives, all within different settings.
With the numerous communities that social workers can support, combined with various environments, and the social worker's scope based on their licensure, it can be a challenge creating your social worker resume to target the right job for your career goals.
We analyzed hundreds of social worker resume samples from all populations, environments, settings, and licenses to attract the attention of a hiring manager or recruiter so you can get more interviews in 2022. We created five resume samples to help social workers build an eye-catching resume.
Social Worker Resume
Why this resume works
- You want to discuss your caseload, including patient/client ages and the facility's setting, whether it's a hospital, school, rehabilitation center, group home, or community facility.
- It's important to showcase this information so hiring managers can see all your experience as a social worker.
- Social workers typically have high volumes of cases to manage, and you should highlight the number of cases you managed per day/week/month.
- If your case management included court documentation and appearance, be sure to discuss this in your social worker resume. Court experience will set your resume apart, catching the eye of a recruiter.
- You can use your social worker resume objective to make your skills shine or use the skills section of your resume to ensure the hiring manager takes notice of any specialty or niche areas where you are accomplished.
School Social Worker Resume
Why this resume works
- School social workers should discuss the students' ages and their areas of expertise ( for example, ADHD, grief counseling, teenage pregnancy) to create a targeted school social worker resume that will gain a recruiter's interest.
- Use your resume objective to provide an engaging overview of your expertise within school systems as a school social worker. The resume objective is a great place to grab a recruiter's attention so they will want to learn more about your experience.
- Within the experience of your school social worker resume, be sure to focus on the programs you implemented or supported. This will support the statements made in your resume objective.
Entry-Level Social Worker Resume
Why this resume works
- Entry-level social workers have the terrific opportunity to showcase transferable skills from previous roles into a targeted resume with valid experience for their dream job.
- If you are an intern ready to make your next career move, highlight the projects you supported while in your internship. Do not discount administrative or supportive tasks from your entry-level social worker resume. Be proud of your experience; hiring managers understand (and want to see) that we all started somewhere.
- If you have any hobbies that pertain to social work (for example, volunteer at a homeless shelter, Big Brother mentor, nursing home sitter), be sure to include these important details in your hobbies/interests resume section.
Clinical Social Worker Resume
Why this resume works
- Your clinical social worker resume should focus on your ability to diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues through your license. Your clinical license sets you apart, and you need to highlight this specialized skill set on your resume.
- Recruiters can quickly determine a fit for their clinical social worker role based on the license designation after your name.
- Your resume objective should list the settings you have experience in or the clinical settings you want to target for your next clinical social worker role.
- Be sure to discuss your responsibilities and leadership accomplishments in your clinical social worker resume to further build the hiring manager's confidence in your expertise.
Nursing Home Social Worker Resume
Why this resume works
- Nursing home social workers are specialized professionals. Including your niche expertise on your nursing home social worker resume will appeal to hiring managers seeking that specially-qualified candidate.
- Include the patient types you worked with, such as end-of-life/hospice or memory care patients. Collaboration and communication are vital to being a successful nursing home social worker, so focus on how you demonstrated these skills in your past work experience.
- Be sure to check your resume to ensure you present yourself to hiring managers effectively.
- Highlight your experience educating patients and their families, as well as any community initiatives or sponsorships you implemented to improve the nursing programs you supported.
How to Format Your Social Worker Resume
A well-formatted resume is your first impression and key to securing an interview. Hiring managers sift through countless applications daily. Readable and comprehensive resumes have the best chance of moving forward.
Present your achievements, competencies, and education in a logical way that responds to your prospective employer's criteria. When crafting your social worker resume, you must consider:
- Reverse-chronological, functional, or combination/hybrid formatting
- Contact information and header presentation
- ATS and readability
Reverse-chronological format, functional format, and combination/hybrid format
There are several acceptable ways to present the narrative information about your professional experience. Hiring managers accept the following formats:
- Reverse-chronological format lists your employment experience, achievements, and education, beginning with the most recent.
- The functional format emphasizes your skills. You place the most relevant achievements or employment skills near the top to highlight their applicability to the position you're pursuing.
- A hybrid format blends a reverse-chronological and functional approach. If you have changed fields or have ample parallel experience, you should present the most recent relative aspect toward the top of your resume.
The competition for positions makes it even more important for your social worker resume to stand out. Recruiters respond to the dates because they highlight the evolution through your profession. Social workers should use the reverse-chronological format.
A reverse-chronological format shows your progressive acquisition of skills, growth into more challenging roles, and professional development over the years.
Contact info and header
Your social worker resume is a selling tool. It explains your skills and fit for the job you're seeking. As a result, you must display your name and contact information prominently. Reserve the largest font size for your name. An understated splash of color also helps pull attention to your information. This section should include:
- Title of the position you're applying for; be sure to take the name directly from the job posting
- Your city and state
Notice the customized header that lists the job posting title below the name.
ATS and readability
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are computer programs that filter out low-quality, irrelevant, and unreadable resumes. You must pass the ATS to reach the recruiter. Adhering to a few simple conventions, which our resume builder helps with, will ensure you pass the inevitable ATS filter.
Beat the ATS with a few simple tips.
- Fonts and font sizes: ATS systems rank you based on the data you present, not aesthetics, so keep fonts simple and sizes consistent
- Header: Breaking your resume up with various headers tells the ATS your social worker resume is organized and digestible
- Margins: Keep margins 1/2"; some ATS will view your resume as a PDF instead of full text.
- Save your resume in multiple formats and confirm it appears consistently in each version.
- Names: Your name must appear prominently with the associated contact info to make it beyond the ATS.
- Skills: Carefully reading the job posting and describing your skills consistently with your prospective employer's criteria is key.
- Utilize clinical terminology and social work jargon to capture the ATS' attention.
- Logical Order: A reverse-chronological order tells the ATS your resume is readable and competently constructed.
- Length: ATS assesses a single page.
- Your resume must be comprehensive yet succinct to convey all of your achievements while remaining concise enough to warrant a recruiter's time.
How to Write Your Social Worker Resume
Social workers require licensure, soft skills, and clinical abilities to perform their jobs effectively. Presenting that breadth of experience in an easy-to-read and tight format seems challenging.
Approach the task as a social worker. Assess your experience and determine your desired job competencies. Then use our step-by-step resume guide to communicate that information in the optimal format.
Consider the following aspects of your social worker resume:
- A resume objective or summary
- Work experience
- Crafting your bullet points
- Quantifying your impact with numbers and statistics
- Top social worker skills to mention
- Education, licenses, and specialized training
- Adding projects, interests, or hobbies
- Customizing your resume to each job
- Eliminating errors
When to include a resume objective or summary in your social worker resume
Resume objectives and summaries are optional. They are an eye-catching aspect of your social worker resume that entices the hiring manager to read further. They can be a deal-breaker that sends your resume off the recruiter's desk.
They should be two to three sentences long and written to sell your value to the company. This is the first section of the resume. It must be compelling and informative to justify its inclusion.
- Objective: If you're transitioning, say from a career in nursing home social work to school social work, or applying for your first position, an objective may be appropriate.
- It should convey how your skills and abilities align with your prospective employer's mission.
- Summary: A summary is preferable for an applicant applying for a job progressing in their career.
- It should provide a snapshot of your resume, highlighting how your 10+ years of experience and specializations suit you to take the next step in your career.
- LCSW-R with 10+ years of experience working with homeless populations, seeking opportunity with Seek and Save. I designed a job skills program to help clients develop interview skills. It helped 1,200 individuals obtain entry-level employment.
- This summary highlights the applicant's licensure and depth of experience while noting a quantifiable achievement and mentioning the targeted employer by name.
- I hope to obtain a position to grow and utilize my education. I want to leverage my skills to help clients.
- This objective is generalized and can apply to any job in any field.
- My current and former positions have enabled me to grow as a clinician and widen my knowledge base. I have progressive experience that qualifies me to supervise.
- This summary is bland and provides no insight into the applicant's experience or details about their qualifications.
Employers will notice you've taken the time to mention their company by name, as seen here.
Each professional experience has shaped you, so it's challenging omitting positions, especially if you have an extended job history. Generally speaking, focus on recent jobs relative to the work you're seeking.
You should be comprehensive but use space wisely. This provides enough space to give substantive details about your accomplishments. Limit your positions to the last two to four as a rule of thumb.
Crafting your bullet points
Each bullet point in your social worker resume tells the story of your experience and qualifications. Choose active verbs that are specific to social work. Use a consistent tense. Sentence fragments that omit punctuation are acceptable.
Examples of bullet points include:
- Facilitated weekly caregiver support sessions under the Hospital Support Network for a 12-member group to provide emotional support and coping strategies.
- This includes specific information on what the applicant did and the community they served.
- Performed intake and psycho-social assessments for an average of 40 clients per week entering the outpatient program.
- This highlights specific skills applicable to social work and quantifies volume.
- Collaborated with nurses, discharge planners, and social workers to coordinate approximately 15 inpatient transitions to rehabilitation facilities.
- This highlights a soft skill with an active verb and specifies the nature of the work.
- Taught kids drug abuse prevention techniques
- This uses a generic verb and provides no detailed insight into the client population.
- Worked on a project to streamline client records
- There is no information to describe the scope or extent of this achievement.
- Treated 30 patients per week
- This fails to highlight particular clinical skills or describe the client population.
Quantify your impact with numbers and statistics
Recruiters value statistics because they're tangible proof of your performance and accomplishments. Quantifying results in social work is difficult and doesn't always reflect the humanistic nature of the practice. However, statistics and data help you stand out among fellow job applicants.
- Quantify your caseload to show the volume you're accustomed to handling.
- Saw 25 clients weekly for CBT and check-ins
- Program Development within a specific budget or timeframe.
- Designed and implemented a revised onboarding system for new client intake with file integration in 6 weeks
- Documentation rate to show compliance and reimbursement standards.
- Completed and submitted necessary documentation tracking for patient reimbursement at a 100% conversion rate
Top social worker skills to mention
Social work positions require very specific skill sets. Review the job posting and include particular diagnoses, treatment methods, and clinical theories if your skills align. Deploy these terms throughout your social worker resume in the objective, experience, and skills sections
Top social work skills in 2022 include:
- Soft skills: Empathy, active listening, collaboration, critical thinking
- Clinical positions: CBT, evidence-based practice, intake, assessment, treatment planning, discharge
- Management/Oversight positions: Program development, community organizing, budgeting, compliance, supervision
Here's a solid list of additional soft skills you might include.
Education, licenses, and specialized training
List your education reverse-chronologically. Depending on your highest level of education, the section will descend from Ph.D. to MSW to BSW.
Be sure to list any licensures, continuing education certifications, or specialized training. To earn a license in social work, each applicant should earn a bachelor of social work (BSW) degree, though a master of social work (MSW) is typically required.
There's an array of licenses available to those entering the social work field. While license requirements vary by state, candidates can earn certifications as a licensed social worker(LSW), a licensed independent social worker (LISW), a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), or a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) in most states.
Each level requires more education and training, with the LSW being the least demanding and LICSWs being the most stringent and intensive.
Notice the easy-to-read reverse-chronological style highlighting an evolving education.
Should you add projects, interests, or hobbies?
Projects, interests, and hobbies should be omitted unless you are a recent graduate or applying for an entry-level position. These items provide color to your resume, but they are generally considered excessive for higher-level positions. Highlighting and quantifying your professional accomplishments is far more important to recruiters.
When interests and hobbies are included, they should exhibit your suitability for the position. Social workers should also consider including relevant volunteer experience. If you're applying for a school social work position, describing volunteer experience with a children's literacy program would be more suitable than listing your participation in a food pantry.
Customize your resume to each job
A single social worker resume sent out for multiple jobs is no longer acceptable. Job postings are highly detailed and reflect the values and mission of their respective companies. As a result, your resume must speak directly to the open position.
Read postings carefully. Parse out the active verbs and terminology the recruiter uses to advertise the position. You should update your social worker resume to mirror their language and speak directly to the company you wish to join.
Typos and grammatical errors can grab attention as much as an excellent objective statement or well-crafted bullet points. Review and revise your social worker resume before submission.
Ask relatives, friends, or classmates to review your social worker resume for misspellings, awkward phrasing, and punctuation errors. Our resume checker can also spot mistakes that can hinder your chances.
Go Land Your Next Job!
A well-formatted resume that addresses your potential employer's desired skills is your best chance to land an interview for your new social work position. While crafting your social worker resume, be sure to:
- Strive for a logical and readable format that appeals to both recruiters and ATS
- Communicate your skills and achievements by highlighting how they directly relate to your desired position
- Quantify your performance whenever possible to show measurable achievement
- Compose your resume uniquely and compellingly within the conventions of 2022 recruiting standards