With so many conflicting pieces of advice on resume writing, we decided to use a data-driven approach to find definitive answers to job seekers’ most pressing questions.
Let’s not beat around the bush.
You put others first, while your needs get the back seat.
You work harder than people who earn 10x your salary, with little thanks.
But if you help one life, it’s worth it.
Even with all that empathy, it’s still hard to get a job.
What’s blocking you is an unimpressive social work resume.
But together we can fix that fast.
In this guide:
- A social work resume sample better than most.
- How to write a social worker resume that shows you care.
- How to target a social work job description for resumes.
- Why you can’t just list social work skills (and what to do instead).
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Social Work Resume Sample You Can Copy and Use
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Passionate LCSW with 4+ years of experience. Seeking to help clients meet goals at Sugden Well Being. At Strother Regional Life Strategies, provided therapy and counseling to a caseload of 40+ 12–18 year-olds. 70% of clients met goals within 3 months. Mandt-certified NASW member. Skilled in assessment and treatment plans.
LCSW — Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Strother Regional Life Strategies
- Provided counseling and therapy to adolescents aged 12–18 years.
- Worked with clients to develop goals. 70% met goals in 3 months.
- Collaborated with psychologist to complete evaluation reports. Commended 3x by psychologist for efficiency and documentation.
- Managed caseload of 40–120 patients.
- Worked with IT department to improve record-keeping system. Reduced time spent on documentation by 5 hours per week.
Volunteer Child Social Worker
Blakely Ridge Ranch
- Provided on-call assistance to 25+ children in rural children's home.
- Used Mandt training to intervene in conflicts involving violent children.
- Evaluated and performed treatment planning for 4 mentally ill children.
- Facilitated and led 5 weekly group therapy sessions.
Master of Social Work, Alabama State University
- GPA 3.9
- Project on treatment plans cited by professor in JAMA Psychiatry.
BS Social Work, Auburn University
- Pursued a passion for child development coursework.
- Mandt Certification, R-Level
- Member, NASW.
- Weekly Vinyasa yoga as self-care.
- At NASW Conference 2018, spoke on panel about burnout.
Hard Skills: Counseling, creating treatment plans, assessment, Mandt system
Soft Skills: Interpersonal skills, communication, active listening, empathy
Here’s how to write a high-functioning social work resume:
1. Use the Correct Social Work Resume Format
So make sure your social work resume follows the right model.
The reverse-chronological resume format is your friend. It lines up all your best features in the right order.
Social Work Resume Format
- Put your latest or current position up top. Follow it up with the previous ones.
- Add 1-inch margins to a 1-page resume.
- Include white space to save hiring managers from squinting.
- Use a trusted resume font like 10–12pt Helvetica or Calibri.
- Make resume sections like Heading, Summary, Work Experience, Education, and Skills.
- Always send PDF resumes, since they look the same on every screen.
Expert Hint: There are 707,400 social workers in the US. Their ranks are swelling much faster than average. Your social work resume must be its best self to compete.
2. Write a Social Work Resume Objective or Summary
Here’s your biggest challenge:
Your social work resume is drowning in a sea of other applications.
You need it to stand out like Jane Waldfogel at a monster truck rally to get the job.
It’s your sales pitch in a nutshell.
- An adjective (passionate, hard-working)
- “social worker” or “LCSW”
- Years of experience (2+, 5+)
- Where & what you want to do (help clients meet goals at Sugden Well Being)
- Best social work moments (70% of clients met goals...)
- Key job skills (assessment, treatment plans...)
Your summary goes up top, but—
Write it when the rest of is done to make it easy.
See these social work resume examples:
Social Work Resume Summary—Example
See the problem?
The second of those social worker resume samples is just a list of skills.
The first shows your caseload and what you did.
That won’t work in an entry-level resume for social workers. Will it?
Yes. But do it with volunteering or skills from other jobs.
See this entry-level social work resume sample:
Entry-Level Social Work Resume Objective
The first of those social work resume examples has more detail. They know you used your skills with 25+ children. (Numbers make it sing!)
Expert Hint: The Northeast has a high number of social workers. Southern states have less. A Southern social worker resume needs an extra-strong objective or summary.
3. Craft Your Social Work Job Description and Skills Section
What social work resume skills do you need?
Here are some of the most common:
List of Skills to Put on a Social Work Resume
Creating Treatment Plans
A word of warning:
Don’t shoe-horn them all into your resume.
To get jobs, write a targeted resume instead.
To write a social work job description for resumes:
- Cherry-pick resume skills from the online ad.
- Save them in a list of resume keywords.
- Build your bullets from times you used them to help clients.
See these social work resume samples:
Imagine the job ad wants these social work skills: counseling, client goal-setting, collaboration, documentation.
Social Work Job Description for a Resume [Sample]
Did you catch that?
The first of those social work resume examples shows counseling, goal-setting, collaboration, and documentation. That’s just what the doctor ordered.
The numbers make it solid.
Next, here comes a resume for entry-level jobs.
Imagine a job that wants these social work skills: on-call assistance, Mandt techniques, treatment planning, group therapy, interpersonal skills.
See these social worker resume examples with no experience:
Entry-Level Social Work Resume Job Description [Sample]
The first assistant social worker resume example adds volunteering to show on-call assistance and other asked-for skills.
It also fits in interpersonal skills from a server job.
Expert Hint: Burnout rates are high in social workers. How do you manage stress? Show your stress management or self-care methods in a social work resume.
4. Create a Winning Education Section
Social work is one of the top 100 jobs in the US.
But not all social work positions are created equal.
To get your dream job, add data to the education section of your social worker resume.
This social work resume sample shows how:
Social Work Resume Example—Education
A glance at that social worker resume education section might generate a phone call.
Achievements are powerful job-getters.
5. Put “Added” Sections in Your Social Work Resume
“Oh, I like this one.”
Wouldn’t it be great if the hiring manager said that?
It’s not a dream.
“Added” sections in a social worker resume can show you’re special.
Here’s a sampling:
- Associations (NASW, Association for Play Therapy)
- Conferences (NASW, etc.)
- Media mentions
- Certifications (Mandt, etc.)
- Volunteer work
- Freelance work
- Foreign languages
- Additional activities
See these sample social worker resume examples:
Social Work Resume—Extra Sections
Did you catch that?
The first of those social worker resume examples has details. That applicant could be Ruth McRoy in disguise.
Expert Hint: Write a cover letter for your social work resume. Do some research to find out why you love this job and why you’d rock it. Then say that in your resume.
Here’s how to write a social work resume:
- Use the social work resume template up top. It gives opportunities to show off your beneficence.
- List social worker resume skills, but add bullet points that show you’ve used them to help clients.
- Write a social worker resume summary at the top. Equip it with your best few moments in the field, but write it last.
- Include “added” resume sections like conferences, certifications, and additional activities.
- Add a social worker cover letter explaining why you love this job.
Got questions on how to write great resumes for social work jobs? Not sure how to put social work on a resume? Leave a comment. We’ll be happy to reply!