How to Write a Social Work Resume

You can write a great social work resume by focusing on how you help people address and overcome life challenges. The tips and examples below will help you capture this skill on your resume so it gets you interviews for your next social work job.

  • Entry-level
  • Mid-career
  • Senior-level
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1. Write a brief summary of your social work qualifications

Your resume Profile should catch hiring managers’ attention by giving the top reasons you excel at social work.

What is your approach to helping clients navigate life transitions or obstacles, and why is that approach successful? For instance, maybe you’re highly adaptable and can speak to the concerns of people from diverse backgrounds. Or perhaps you’ve been commended for building partnerships with new volunteers and community resources. Also, feel free to mention specific skills, such as efficiency or active listening, that you use to make the best use of your time with clients of your practice. By putting these strengths at the top of your resume, you can compel hiring managers to read further.

Mid-Career Profile Example


Social Worker with 10+ years of experience supporting clients and patients in hospital and home-care settings. Demonstrated success advocating for people from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Draw on strong listening skills to determine each client’s needs and recommend helpful resources. Master’s Degree in Social Work. Bilingual: Fluent in English and Spanish.

Senior-Level Profile Example


Clinical Social Worker with 13+ years of experience focused on substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence issues. Efficient and organized managing multiple priorities in a high-pressure environment. Doctorate in Clinical Social Work from University of Pennsylvania.

2. Outline your social work experience in a compelling list

With the Experience section, you can show you’re qualified for social work by giving examples of your success in helping people address life challenges. Under each relevant job in your recent work history, brainstorm and write down the strategies and resources you used to support clients. Also, describe the other parties you worked with to provide that support, such as family members, rehabilitation centers, or government agencies. Finally, note the types of life challenges or transitions you helped address and emphasize any you’re interested in focusing on in your next position.

Mid-Career Experience Example


Medical Social Worker, Northern Medical Center, Cleveland, OH | April 2016 to Present

  • Work closely with patients, family members, healthcare team, and community organizations to set a realistic discharge plan
  • Coordinate smooth transfers to rehabilitation centers and skilled nursing facilities
  • Build and maintain positive relationships with healthcare providers and government regulators
  • Ensure utmost client health data accuracy and confidentiality

Senior-Level Experience Example


Clinical Social Worker, Omega Guidance Services, Philadelphia, PA | July 2009 to January 2012

  • Helped families set adolescent care plans integrating resources for education, mental health, and substance abuse treatment
  • Facilitated group therapy sessions for teens struggling with substance abuse
  • Built positive relationships with educators, family members, social services, and community partners to coordinate care across all sectors of the adolescent’s life
  • Evaluated clients for signs or risk of abuse, neglect, or self-harm
  • Compiled documentation for court hearings and presented findings in court

3. Outline your education and social work-related certifications

Use the Education and Licenses sections to show hiring managers your engagement in social work has a strong knowledge base. Give details on your bachelor’s degree, along with any CSWE-accredited master’s degrees you’ve earned or are working toward. If your state requires a license, you’ll want to specify that as well so hiring managers know you’re fully credentialed to work with their organization’s clients.

Below are templates and examples to help you format your education and license details. Note that optional template areas appear in [brackets].

Education

Template

  • Degree Name — [Major],School Name, City, ST | [Year]

Example

  • Bachelor of Psychology, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN

License

Template

  • License Name or Title, Awarding State or Organization | [Year]

Example

  • Licensed Social Worker, State of Ohio | 2018

4. Make a list of your social work-related skills and proficiencies

Add a “Key Skills” section to show the various methods or tools you use to engage with client groups or individuals. These might range from general soft skills like conflict resolution to hard technical skills like Microsoft Excel. Make sure each one you include overlaps with the skillset of your target social work job. Below are some common social work skills and keywords to consider for your resume:

Key Skills and Proficiencies
Active Listening Methods Case Management
Client Confidentiality Client Needs Assessment
Client Relations & Communications Community Outreach Development
Complex Problem-Solving Conflict Management & Resolution
Crisis Intervention Cross-Functional Collaboration
Diplomacy Individual & Group Therapy
Microsoft Office Suite Reporting & Documentation
Resource Coordination Task Prioritization
Team Collaboration Time Management

How To Pick the Best Social Work Resume Template

As with most vocations, social workers should use a resume template that’s clear and straightforward. Opt for a visual design that lets the hiring manager quickly review your best career details. Select a clear resume font, and avoid any template with an overly colorful or elaborate design.

Social Work Text-Only Resume Templates and Examples

  • Entry-level
  • Mid-career
  • Senior-level

Anika Patel
(123) 456-7890 | [email protected] | Cleveland, OH 12345 | www.linkedin.com/example

Profile

Social Worker with 10+ years of experience supporting clients and patients in hospital and home-care settings. Demonstrated success advocating for people from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Draw on strong listening skills to determine each client’s needs and recommend helpful resources. Master’s Degree in Social Work. Bilingual: Fluent in English and Spanish.

Key Skills

  • Active Listening Methods
  • Case Management
  • Client Confidentiality
  • Complex Problem-Solving
  • Patient & Client Relations

Professional Experience

Medical Social Worker, Northern Medical Center, Cleveland, OH | April 2016 to Present

  • Work closely with patients, family members, healthcare team, and community organizations to set a realistic discharge plan
  • Coordinate smooth transfers to rehabilitation centers and skilled nursing facilities
  • Build and maintain positive relationships with healthcare providers and government regulators
  • Ensure utmost client health data accuracy and confidentiality

Social Worker, Alpha Assisted Living, Dayton, OH | June 2012 to March 2016

  • Performed psychosocial assessment of new residents to determine level of services needed and collaborated with other staff to set a personalized care plan
  • Provided one-on-one counseling to help residents adjust to their new living situation
  • Educated residents and family members about their rights and advocated to ensure their needs were met
  • Advised administrators and other staff on the impact of social issues on resident care

Education

Master of Social Work, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH

Bachelor of Sociology, University of Michigan, Detroit

Credential

Licensed Social Worker, State of Ohio | 2018

Language

Fluency in Spanish

Frequently Asked Questions: Social Work Resume Examples and Advice

What are common action verbs for social work resumes?+

For social workers, the best resume verbs will relate to the hands-on support of groups and individuals – for example, “advised,” “educated,” “listened,” or “motivated.” But there are various others you might use to describe your duties and contributions in this field. The following list can help you find the right mix of action verbs for your social work resume:

Action Verbs
Adapted Advised
Advocated Analyzed
Assisted Built
Clarified Communicated
Coordinated Counseled
Created Customized
Determined Documented
Educated Engaged
Enhanced Ensured
Evaluated Fostered
Generated Guided
Improved Interacted
Leveraged Listened
Maintained Monitored
Motivated Organized
Persuaded Prioritized
Responded Set
Solved Supported
Strengthened  

How do you align your social work resume with a job posting?+

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that jobs for social workers will increase by about nine percent between 2021 and 2031. This growth rate is faster than the average for all US vocations.
 
You can get more interviews in this growing field if you tailor your resume for each application. For example, if the agency seeks someone with a strong collaborative streak, you may want to call out that aspect of your experience in your Profile and Key Skills sections. Or say the organization has many non-English speaking patients or clients. You may want to highlight your foreign language skills both in your Profile and as a separate section farther down the document. With adjustments like these, you can make your resume more relevant to each opportunity in your job search.

What is the best social work resume format?+

In nearly all cases, you should use a Combination (or Hybrid) resume because it’s easiest for hiring managers to learn about your pertinent skills and experience. It’s also easiest for you to modify based on your job goals.

With the Combination format, you highlight your most relevant skills and experience in your Experience or Work History section and an intro section. (This combination of work history and intro content is where the format gets its name.) Your resume intro should include a Profile summary and Key Skills section, but you may also include an Awards or Career Highlights section.

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Expert Advice
Include a cover letter with your resume

To increase your chances of an interview, write and submit a strong cover letter. The key to an effective letter is customizing it based on each job opening. Read our social work cover letter guide to learn how. For other related examples, see our case manager cover letter guide.

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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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