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 Worker Cover Letter Sample
Do you need to write a cover letter for a social worker position? Review information on what to include in your letter, along with an example of a cover letter you can edit to fit your own employment history and skills.
What to Include
Expanding on previous work experiences in your cover letter is a great way to provide a narrative on how you would be an asset to the job and organization. Make sure to also include certifications you've received or related workshops you've attended.
Be sure to highlight your most relevant experience and skills. That way the employer can see at a glance why you are a good match for the position.
The following is a sample cover letter to use when applying for a job as a social worker. Remember to adjust the details to fit your situation and the position you are applying for.
Social Worker Cover Letter Example
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,
Please accept my enthusiastic application for the school social worker position at XYZ High School, listed on Mondyrt. I have extensive experience working with diverse populations of adolescents, both inside and outside of the classroom, and I believe I would be an ideal fit for your innovative school.
My two social work internships have given me extensive and varied experiences as a social worker in an educational setting. At XYZ Charter High School, I provided both individual and group psychotherapy to a socioeconomically diverse population of teenagers. At my internship at XYZ Elementary School, I led group play therapy activities for students with a variety of behavioral disorders. My experience in individual and group therapy will allow me to successfully act as both an individual and group counselor at XYZ High School.
You state that you want a social worker who will be able to serve as a leader for your summer outdoor program. As a former camp counselor with extensive experience leading hiking, biking, and camping trips, I know I would be an ideal leader in your program. Having served as a leader for a counselor-in-training program, I know what kinds of outdoor activities help build both self-confidence and teamwork in students.
I am confident that my experience and skills will make me a valuable member of the XYZ High School social work team.
I have enclosed my resume and will call within the week to see if we might arrange a time to speak together. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Emailing Your Cover Letter and Resume
When applying for jobs using email, include your name and the job title in the subject line. Here's an example of a subject line to use when sending your cover letter by email:
Subject: School Social Worker Position - Your Name
Please Note: This sample is provided for guidance only. The provided information, including samples and examples, is not guaranteed for accuracy or legality. Letters and other correspondence should be edited to fit your personal situation.