When writing your social work cover letter, focus on how you can help the hiring organization’s clients address and overcome life challenges. Also, emphasize your related skills like crisis intervention, program development, or problem-solving. This guide will help you write a cover letter that gets you interviews for your next job as a social worker.

Social Work Cover Letter Templates and Examples

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How To Write a Social Work Cover Letter

Your social work cover letter should usually have five sections, in this order:

1. Heading

At the top of the page, include:

  • Your name and contact information
  • The date
  • The recipient’s name, title, organization, and contact information (when available)

(Note: Feel free to omit this section if you send your letter by email and your contact details are part of your signature.)

Example


Malachi Barrett
Social Worker | [email protected] | (123) 456-7890 | 555 Home Avenue, San Francisco, CA 90123

February 8, 2024

Katherine Skinner
Senior Hiring Manager
United Health Systems
(654) 321-0987
[email protected]

2. Salutation

If you can’t find the recipient’s name, use a variation of “Dear Hiring Manager.”

Examples


Dear Ms. Huang,

Dear RE Family Services Manager:

3. “Hook” or introduction

Catch the reader’s attention by citing an achievement from your resume or a key credential the employer seeks in applicants.

Example


As a lead case manager with increasing levels of responsibility, I continually maintain an agency record of youth turnaround rates through consistent client motivation. My commitment to building up youth from difficult circumstances drives my success in social work, and I would love to bring that same passion to Crossway Center as a licensed senior social worker.

4. Body paragraph(s)

Explain why the job or employer interests you. Then, cite a few more of your key achievements or qualifications, possibly using bullet points.

Example


United Health’s reputation for outstanding patient care and effective protection of vulnerable clients appeals to me as a professional and dedicated social worker. I believe my extensive knowledge and warm communication style make me the ideal candidate. Examples of my recent achievements include:

  • Efficiently planning for high-risk patient discharges to reduce hospital readmittance by 24% in 2023
  • Acting promptly on feedback received during patient conferences to improve satisfaction ratings by 40% in three months
  • Receiving praise from senior colleagues four times in 2023 for correctly identifying and intervening in neglect cases

5. Closing

Finally, request an interview for the position.

Example


I would like to explain further how my leadership experience can help the RE Family Services advocate team improve outcomes for even more vulnerable children and their families. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to arrange an interview.

Sincerely,

Brent Larson

Social Work Cover Letter Tips

1. Show your success in helping people navigate life changes and problems

Start your letter with a clear example of the impact you’ve made as a social worker.

Example


Increasing health care plan adherence for clients on my caseload by 56% in 2023 was my proudest career accomplishment so far. My commitment to providing personalized health education and a sensitive approach to client care made this achievement possible. I am excited to offer the same excellent service to patients at United Health Systems.

2. Explain why you’re drawn to the opportunity

On a separate document or sheet of paper, take 10 minutes to brainstorm why this job or employer interests you. For example, maybe the role involves connecting parents to child care options and resources, a key focus of your past work. Or maybe the organization’s stated mission and values resonate with you.

When you’re done brainstorming, review your notes: Do any stand out as important or persuasive? Take another 10 minutes to brainstorm and elaborate on them. Repeat this process until you have two or three concise sentences that speak to the job opening. By adding these to your cover letter, you can show hiring managers you read their job posting and are responding to it directly.

Example 


I understand that RE Family Services is seeking an individual with extensive experience in parental education and the ability to lead teams of advocates to improve vulnerable children’s lives. My nine years of experience and commitment to child welfare are perfectly aligned with your organization’s core values.

3. Highlight your other strengths as a social worker

Add a short list of bullet points to show your success in other key work areas for your field, such as teamwork or program development.

Example


In my 15-year career, I have demonstrated the qualities you are looking for in a senior social worker, including:

  • Leadership: Supervised 10 case managers for four years, earning Employee of the Month multiple times for exemplary service and work ethic
  • Effectiveness: Motivated 80% of potential high school dropouts to complete their diplomas during my current position
  • Collaboration: Over the past eight years, developed innovative youth programs with fellow case managers resulting in 50 successful substance abuse treatment referrals

Social Work Text-Only Cover Letter Templates and Examples

  • Entry-Level
  • Mid-Career
  • Senior-Level

Brent Larson
Lead Family Services Advocate | [email protected] | (123) 345-6789 | 789 Address Road, Billings, MT 78901

February 10, 2024

Chelsea Huang
Senior Hiring Manager
RE Family Services
(678) 901-2345
[email protected]

Dear Ms. Huang,

In 2020, I developed a risk assessment model that improved child neglect detection by 60% and was replicated across multiple counties. This work earned me a shortlisting for an NASW Social Worker of the Year award. I hope to use my excellent assessment skills to create supportive and effective family treatment plans to benefit RE Family Services’ clients.

I understand that RE Family Services is seeking an individual with extensive experience in parental education and the ability to lead teams of advocates to improve vulnerable children’s lives. My 9+ years’ experience and commitment to child welfare are perfectly aligned with your organization’s core values. My recent accomplishments include:

  • Successfully supporting numerous families to access benefits and housing assistance.
  • Designing and delivering a child safety education program for parents that reduced accidental injuries of vulnerable children by 65%.
  • Training three new advocates to support at-risk families with household budgeting and healthy meal planning.

I would like to explain further how my leadership experience can help the RE Family Services advocate team improve outcomes for even more vulnerable children and their families in 2021. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to arrange an interview.

Sincerely,

Brent Larson

P.S. I would love to tell you how I achieved a 95% family satisfaction rating last year.

Social Work Cover Letter Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need a cover letter for my job search?-

Yes, in most cases. Job postings today usually require or allow you to send a cover letter along with your resume. While not every hiring manager reads or prioritizes them, a well-crafted letter can only help you stand out from other applicants. It will also help you clarify what points to emphasize during the interview.

What traits are useful to highlight on my cover letter?-

Desired qualities in social workers include compassion, patience, adaptability, organization, and resourcefulness. Consider which of these traits best describe you, then give an example or two of how you’ve shown them in a work setting.

What’s the most important part of a cover letter?-

Any explanation you give for why the specific job opening or employer interests you. These details distinguish the cover letter from your resume and other application materials and can help you get past applicant tracking systems. They also set the stage for a good interview discussion about how you fit the role and the office’s work culture.

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Jacob Meade

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW, ACRW)

Jacob Meade is a resume writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience. His writing method centers on understanding and then expressing each person’s unique work history and strengths toward their career goal. Jacob has enjoyed working with jobseekers of all ages and career levels, finding that a clear and focused resume can help people from any walk of life. He is an Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW) with the Resume Writing Academy, and a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches.

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