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Graduate Series: How to Write a Great Social Worker CV

March 2023 by Tradewind Australia

Graduate Series  How To Write A Great Social Worker Cv Featured Prf2

Congratulations on graduating from university! If you’ve recently completed a degree in social work, your next step will be to apply for graduate Social Worker jobs.

Employers always look for evidence that a candidate loves their work and has an aptitude for learning. Although the demand is high for Social Workers in Australia – and is expected to grow 23% by 2026 – a polished CV will always help you stand out.

As a recent graduate, you may not have a lot of professional experience in social work, but there are still things you can do to create a strong CV. To boost your chances of making a good impression and getting a job interview, read our tips on writing a high-quality Social Worker CV and ensure you make a great impression.

Start with a Strong Summary

Including a well-written summary at the start of your CV is the fastest way to demonstrate your skills and experience to Recruiters and Hiring Managers. A summary highlights your strengths and demonstrates what you can bring to the position.

Begin by explaining who you are and what you can offer before sharing what your goals are. Try to keep this summary to just four or five lines so the employer can quickly get a sense of why you’re a great fit for the role.

Remember to highlight your passion for Social Work and your desire to make a meaningful difference in people's lives.

List Your Qualifications and Work Experience

CVs typically have separate sections for education, work experience and professional certifications, with entries in each section listed from most recent to last.

When listing your education, ensure to include your degree, university, and graduation date. To add your work history, create a new header for each position and include bullet points underneath to outline your experience. Bullet points are the best way to keep your sentences short and straight to the point!

If you don’t have any work experience to list, then highlight university internships, placements and volunteer positions relevant to the field. List each internship and volunteer position as a separate work experience.

Use Action Verbs

The language style you choose for your bullet points is crucial. Using assertive language demonstrates to employers what you have accomplished in your work and training. The easiest way to do this is by using action verbs in your bullet points.

Examples of action verbs include:

  • assessed

  • coached

  • contacted

  • communicated

  • consulted

  • counselled

  • delivered

  • demonstrated

  • developed

  • facilitated

  • encouraged

  • empowered

  • measured

  • helped

  • improved

  • familiarised

  • learned

  • motivated

  • served

  • supported

  • recorded

  • volunteered

  • researched

  • utilised

Highlight Your Transferable Skills

When you’re applying for Social Worker jobs as a graduate, employers understand you'll have limited work experience. The key is to highlight any of your transferrable skills from other types of work and your studies.

Think about the abilities, knowledge, and experiences you’ve gained from your previous roles that can be applied directly to the Social Worker jobs you’re applying for. This could include communication skills, empathy, adaptability and the ability to work with diverse populations.

You might have gained relevant experience from volunteering, involvement in community programs, interning for social service agencies, working with non-profit organisations, or participating in advocacy groups. Whatever experience you have, reflect on what made you effective in each role and emphasise this on your Social Worker CV. If you’ve received an award or recognition, don’t forget to include it!

Include Relevant Keywords

A professional Social Worker's CV should include keywords relevant to the industry and position. As a Social Work graduate, you’ll be familiar with the specific terms used in your specialisation. Make sure you use these naturally in your summary, work experience and qualification sections, as this can help your CV get shortlisted.

Examples of keywords for Social Work CVs include advocacy, clinical, case management, multi-disciplinary, welfare, disability, community, crisis intervention, housing, mental health, not-for-profit organisation (NFPO), assessment, family violence, drugs and alcohol.

Proofread Your CV

You’re almost ready to go. Now give your CV a thorough proofread using this checklist:

  • Have you included your full name, phone number and email address at the top of your CV?

  • Have you run a full spelling and grammar check on the document?

  • Have you confirmed the dates of any previous jobs and periods of study are listed correctly?

  • Have you included the full name and contact number for two professional references?

It never hurts to have a friend read over your CV and look for any errors, so always ask someone to check it before you hit send!

Final Words of Advice

Before you use your freshly polished CV to apply for graduate Social Worker jobs, keep these conventions in mind:

  • Keep it to two pages maximum: If you can include all the relevant information on one page, even better. But you should never exceed two pages.

  • Tailor your CV for each position you apply for. If you’re applying for a clinical role, for example, it’s wise to leave out details like high school sports achievements.

  • Use text only and keep the layout simple: Avoid including images, uncommon or ‘artistic’ fonts, clip art, tables or borders.

  • Don’t overshare: There's no need to include your date of birth, gender, race, marital status, or disability in your CV. In Australia, workers are entitled by law to withhold this information.

  • Employers will check your social media: Don’t post anything on social media that you wouldn’t want an employer to see!

Summary

As a new graduate, your focus should be on highlighting your education, skills, and passion for Social Work. Employers are looking for evidence of your commitment to supporting vulnerable or marginalised people. Top it all off with a thorough proofread to ensure it looks professional.

Do you need help finding a graduate position to kickstart your career? Here at Tradewind Australia, our team of Recruitment Specialists can connect you with highly rewarding Social Worker jobs and guide your job search process for maximum success. Contact us today to get started.