If you’re applying for a role in social work, you need to make a good first impression. Being a social worker is hard work, but also extremely worthwhile. So, what can you do to make sure your application is a certainty for the short list?
If you need some inspiration on what to include in your CV and cover letter, check out our handy examples. (Just remember not to copy them as exact templates.)
Cover letter example:
Dear Ms Name,
As a fully qualified [child/adult] social worker with [number] years experience, I feel I would be well-suited for the role of [job title] at [name of council or organisation]. Please find my CV attached.
The nature of my experience includes successfully managing a demanding caseload, which includes [elderly people/young children/people who have learning disabilities /mental health issues]. I have a [person-centred] approach to my work, which involves calmly and practically responding to service users to achieve the best outcomes. I am also experienced in coordinating care with other agencies, such as primary care practices and psychological services.
In addition, I have a particular interest in [...]. This stimulated me to lead a community project on [...]. As part of this, I had to liaise with [...] meaning that I have developed skills in [...]. I faced some challenges along the way, such as [...] and overcame them by [...]. The impact of the project overall was measured by/ has been evidenced in [...].
As shown by my experience in [social work/social work placements], I am enthusiastic about establishing what is best for the individual and always strive to do the best for service users. I am able to successfully manage a demanding caseload. I also have the enthusiasm and determination to ensure that I make a success of this role.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in future.
CV and cover letter tips:
“The most important thing about your CV and cover letter is that everything you include is relevant,” says Craig Davis, head of social work for Sanctuary. “Don’t start going off on a tangent, or waffling – every part has to be tailored to the role you’re applying for.”
Tom Hawkins, director of Hays Social Care, adds that you should keep your cover letter short. “Don’t over-elaborate, and don’t repeat what’s on your CV. The key things you need to include are: the reason you’re applying, the reason you want to move on from your current employment, and the things that you have in your armoury that make you suitable for the job.”
As social work is a vocational profession, it’s also important that you evidence enthusiasm for the job. “Don’t be scared to sound passionate about what you do – why you do it and why you enjoy it,” he adds.
In your CV it’s also worth including any information that the hiring manager might need as a “tick box” exercise in the application process: such as whether you have an up-to-date DBS check, or registration with relevant social work bodies.
“Be as clear as you can in your writing,” says Hawkins. “So use bullet points to describe roles, rather than long and prosaic sentences. Try and start each bullet point with a verb, such as ‘created, managed, improved’ – this is a good way to focus info on what you did and the difference it made.”
As much as experience is important, it’s not the only thing hiring managers are looking for. “Some managers will look at someone who has less experience but is more enthusiastic – so be sure to get your passion for the work across in your writing,” adds Davis.
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Social work cover letter
View this sample cover letter for a social worker, or download the social work cover letter template in Word.
As a social worker, you know the value of the ability to multitask—so should your cover letter. To be considered for top social work jobs, your cover letter must demonstrate your skills and experience, as well as your passion for your clients. For writing tips, view this sample cover letter for social work, or download the social work cover letter template in Word.
Additionally, you can learn about health care careers and look for social worker jobs on Monster.
Social work letter template
Heather Jones, Lcsw
Sometown, CA 55555 | (555) 555-5555 | email@example.com
August 10, 2017
Dr. Regina Hall
Director of Social Work Services
55 West St.
Sometown, CA 55555
Re: Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Ref. #12345, Advertised on Monster
Dear Dr. Hall:
ABC Organization has earned a reputation for delivering on its mission to provide innovative clinical programming and unsurpassed patient care. I share this mission, and would welcome the chance to discuss ways I can contribute to the continued success of your social work program.
As a dedicated LCSW, my background includes 15 years as a residential counselor, homeless shelter social worker, clubhouse assistant director and crisis and family services specialist. Repeatedly recognized for excellence in leading program development, service implementation and supportive counseling, I have served populations presenting a range of neurological and psychological disorders as well as emotional, behavioral, substance abuse and developmental challenges.
In all experiences, I used a strengths-based approach in treatment planning and focused on providing optimal psychosocial care. Career highlights include:
- Working with DEF Hospital’s social services director to implement Together for Success program serving psychiatrically diagnosed adults who are experiencing a crisis. The program has helped 100+ patients, diverting them from hospitalization and reintegrating them into the community.
- Contributing vision and direction to GHI House’s clubhouse model that helped a newly opened program in Sometown County attain and maintain Clubhouse International accreditation.
- Increasing residential placements 64% by developing partnerships with area landlords to gain their support and agree to provide rental housing for homeless tenants.
After earning an MSW from Sometown University, I recently returned to pursue a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degree with a concentration in mental health. I am an LCSW in the State of California.
My experience providing guidance, assessment and treatment for diverse patient populations combined with an ability to manage programs and build alliances would be valuable to your social work program. Please call me at (555) 555-5555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting. Thank you.
Heather Jones, LCSW
See all sample cover letters on Monster.