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Social Worker CV Example & Writing Guide

Applying to work in the public sector? You’ll need a stellar social worker CV to land the job. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Read our step-by-step writing guide here.
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Social Worker CV Example & Writing Guide
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Looking for a career in which you can change lives? The world of social work may be calling your name. In this role, you’ll be charged with working to support adults, children, and families when they need it most. Of course, it’s a pretty tall order. However, armed with empathy, the right training, and some expertise, you’ll be well-equipped for the job.   

Before you can land your public sector job and get to work, you need to impress the right hiring manager. To do that, your application should be pitch-perfect. While you may need to apply through online portals, it pays to have a well-written social worker CV to boot. 

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Resume.io, we have the most effective resources to help accelerate your job search. You can expect expert writing guides along with more than 65 CV samples and a CV-building tool. In this guide, we will cover 

  • What a social worker does
  • How to create a social worker CV (plus a CV example!)
  • How to write your social worker CV (summary, work history, education, skills)
  • Professional CV layout and design hints

What does a social worker do?

As a broad definition, social workers support families, children, and vulnerable adults when they are at risk. The role can vary from sector to sector. Of course, regardless of which route you choose, you will have the chance to change people’s lives for the better. 

There are different types of social workers and you have the chance to pave your own career pathway. While many professionals work with families and children, you may also support the elderly, young offenders, people with learning or physical problems, drug and alcohol abusers, individuals with mental health issues, and the homeless. When you have qualified as a social worker, you can pursue any of the above sectors.

Statistical insight

Want to know how much you can earn? The average base salary for a social worker in the United Kingdom is £30,476 according to Payscale. Of course, your income will depend on your experience level and the sector in which you choose to work too. 

Should you want to boost your income, you may look at locum social worker contracts. As an agency worker, you can expect to make an average of £58,500 per year. However, you will have to deal with short-term contracts and continually moving teams. 

Your role may vary depending on the sector you choose. However, there are some key tasks that are common within the social work industry. Here’s a quick breakdown: 

  • Offer information and ongoing support to service users
  • Conduct interviews with service users and write up formal reports
  • Make difficult decisions surrounding service users’ needs
  • Appear in court to give evidence, when necessary
  • Make referrals to other agencies on behalf of service users
  • Work across multidisciplinary teams and accurately share information
  • Collaborate with other team members and take part in meetings

Needless to say, your duties will likely vary in each new role. Whenever you decide to apply for a new position, it’s important to fully read the job description and requirements.

How to write a social worker CV

Before you start applying for jobs, you need to make sure that you have crafted the ideal social worker CV. So, what should it include? Here’s a list of the sections that you need: 

  • CV header
  • CV summary (also known as profile or personal statement)
  • The employment history section
  • CV skills section
  • The education section

Writing the ideal social worker CV is the first step of your journey. You already know that you have the right skills and know-how to hit the ground running. However, before you can do that, you must prove it to a hiring manager. With that in mind, you should shine a spotlight on the training, experience, and expert knowledge you have under your belt. 

You should also tailor your CV to ensure that it fits the job criteria. As we have already mentioned, no two social worker openings are created equal. While there will — of course — be a vast amount of overlap, each role comes with a unique set of duties. Ahead of submitting your application, be sure to do your research and apply it directly to your CV. 

Another tip is to pepper your social worker CV with keywords from the original advert. Many employers now use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage incoming CVs. The software ranks applications by how well they match the job criteria. It does this by searching each document for relevant keywords. Often enough, you can find these words sprinkled throughout the job description. Highlight them and use them yourself. 

When it comes to the tone of your CV, you should keep things professional. Social workers are held in high esteem and hiring managers will expect all of the standard airs and graces. You should steer well clear of informal language, slang, and jargon. 

Looking for some inspiration to help you get started? Don’t worry if you’re not a natural wordsmith. You can find out more by reading our comprehensive guide on how to write an interview-winning CV. You may also want to take a look at our social worker CV sample:

Choosing the best CV format for a social worker 

As a general rule, your social worker application should follow a reverse chronological CV format. That means that you start with your most recent work experience and education at the top of the page. As you move down the document, you work your way back in time. This approach makes your latest achievements crystal clear to any hiring manager. 

Of course, if you are switching careers or lack work experience, there are other options available. For example, the functional CV format highlights your technical or hard skills. It has a longer skills section than other CVs and, equally, a shorter employment section. You should think long and hard about which approach suits you and your current career level. 

Don’t panic if you’re new to the application game. If you need some help with the layout, take a quick look at our expertly-crafted CV sample: 

Expert tip

Having trouble deciding which approach to use? Take a look at our care assistant CV sample, support worker CV example, nursing CV sample, or teacher CV example. 

CV header

The CV header is likely the first thing a hiring manager will see when they look at your application. It includes your name and contact details so that they can quickly get in touch with you. Don’t go for anything too complicated here. You need to ensure that the header is clear and ready-friendly. Use a clean font and appropriate spacing for this section. 

CV profile example

Next up, it’s time to work on your CV profile. Also known as a summary, this part of your social worker CV is a short bio about you. Rather than merely telling your story, it should highlight your Unique Selling Point (USP) and showcase your value to employers. 

Be sparing with your words. You only have two to three lines to play with and you need to make them count. Ditch any openers, such as ‘I,’ ‘I am,’ or ‘I have’, and get right to the point. If you’re unsure where to start, take a peek at our social worker CV example below: 

Adaptable CV profile example

Dedicated and compassionate Social Worker specialising in working with victims of domestic violence. Adept in providing appropriate assessments, crisis intervention, support, and counselling services to those in need. Committed to helping individuals access helpful resources and establish and meet life goals. 

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Employment history sample

Having a proven track record of social work experience will set you apart from the crowd. The employment section of your CV is where you showcase this. As we have covered, you will most likely need to use the reverse chronological approach. Start with your role, the organisation, and your dates of employment. Below these lines, you can include some finer details such as additional training, awards, or certificates you may have gained.  

Adaptable CV employment history sample

Social Worker, Myriad Social Care, London
November 2017 - Present

  • Effectively handle high volume case loads, consisting of at least 20+ cases at any given time.
  • Draw upon extensive experience working with domestic violence perpetrators to reduce risk and increase the well-being of victims seeking services.
  • Consistently demonstrate effective judgement and decision-making skills to achieve positive change for all service users.
  • Research and identify local services and resources appropriate for individuals on a case-by-case basis.
  • Work closely with the family members and contacts of clients to ensure a team approach is being applied, offering exceptional support to service users.
  • Lead with a multi-disciplinary approach to offer people the most effective interventions to address their challenges.
  • Work to develop and implement community and group interventions that enhance the lives and well-being of service users.

 

Social Worker, Change and Restoration, London
October 2014 - September 2017

  • Worked as a caring member of a multi-disciplinary team to develop and implement effective cohesive car programs for adults in need.
  • Managed upwards of 50 cases per month, seeing a 95% lifestyle improvement rate among service users.
  • Effectively managed the day-to-day duties of my assigned cases, intervening with legal and procedural authority to protect those at risk.
  • Worked to de-escalate complex situations and prevent or resolve conflicts that pose risks to those involved.
  • Successfully participated in Family Member Relocation Clearance (FMRC) processes, seeing positive outcomes for those involved.
  • Remained highly knowledgeable and informed about available resources and community outreach programs.
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CV skills example

Make no mistakes, social worker jobs are challenging. To excel in this hard-hitting career, you need the right mix of CV skills. Employers are looking for well-rounded social work candidates. For that reason, you should include a combination of both hard and soft skills on your CV. Hard skills include critical thinking and active listening while soft skills include empathy and communication. If you need some inspiration, check out our CV sample. 

Adaptable CV skills example
  • Strong Organisational Skills
  • Social Work of England Standards
  • Knowledge of Social Welfare Policy
  • Mental Health Assessments
  • Group Counseling
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Regulatory Compliance
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Social worker CV education example

To become a social worker, you will need a degree. Your qualification should be approved by one of the following: the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), Social Care Wales, Social Work England, or Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC).

When crafting your education section, you will need to use the reverse chronological approach. List your most recent achievements at the top of the page and work your way backwards. You should also include any job-specific training you have undertaken here. 

Adaptable CV education example

Master of Science in Social Work, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
Sep 2011 - May 2014

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CV layout and design

Recruiters spend a matter of seconds looking at each CV that lands in their inbox. That means that you don’t have long to make the right first impression. When designing your professional application, there are some all-important guidelines to keep firmly in mind: 

Do
  • Stick to only one or two fonts throughout your social worker CV.
  • Use white space! Giving your text room makes it easy to read.
  • Be sparing when it comes to colour. Your CV should look professional.
Don't
  • Try to cram too much on the page. Keep things short and sweet!
  • Use flashy or gimmicky designs. These can take away from your CV.
  • Include pictures or diagrams on your CV as they can look messy.

Designing your own CV can be a chore. Why not make the whole thing easier in just a few quick clicks? Using a field-tested CV template takes all of the hassle out of this job. That way, you can focus on getting the core content of your social worker CV just right. 

Key takeaways

  1. The world of social work is varied! You should tailor your CV to meet the criteria of the specific job role for which you are applying.
  2. Be sure to include keywords in your CV to give you a good chance of passing the ATS.
  3. You should always use a formal tone when writing your professional social worker CV.
  4. Using a dedicated CV template makes designing your document as easy as pie!
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