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There are not many careers more challenging than social work.
Finding and caring for the forgotten of our society is an underappreciated choice of occupation.
For most people who choose to go into this field, it’s not something they fell into accidentally.
This isn’t a choice you make because you don’t know what to study at university.
There is a reason.
You have a reason.
Every day that passes that you cannot put your skills and drive to trying to improve someone’s life is a day lost.
So let’s write a social work cover letter that will have you working cases in no time.
In this guide:
- Two social work cover letter examples: a mid-level one, and one social work cover letter sample with no experience.
- The definite guidelines on the social worker cover letter format.
- A quick template with blanks that you can have ready in 15 minutes.
See these two social work cover letter examples.
1. Social Work Cover Letter Examples
The first one comes from Heather. She is writing a social work cover letter for a position which requires a range of casework activities that include assessing social service needs, transporting clients, supervising visits, making referrals and maintaining case files and records.
Heather has plenty of previous experience to describe in her social work cover letter.
Example #1: Experienced Social Work Cover Letter
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Heather K. Murphy
3015 Duck Creek Road
San Francisco, CA 94104
San Francisco, Jan 25, 2020
Social Work Manager
City and County of San Francisco
1 Main Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94104
Once I discovered there was an opportunity to give back to the community as a Social Worker with the City of San Francisco, I didn’t think twice about writing to you. Having 4+ years of experience as a case worker at Mindful, a mental health charity, I have acquired the skill set necessary to help the vulnerable people of the city I grew up in.
You describe searching for a Social Worker experienced in assessing social service needs and working cases independently, which I excel in. As a case worker at Mindful, I have comprehensively worked over 100 cases a year, from intake interviews all the way to monitoring treatment outcomes. From my first year as a social worker to the fifth, I was able to increase the treatment completion rate from 72% to 88%, and the patient satisfaction from 65% to 85%. I specialised in addiction and abuse cases, often investigating with family members and other parties to build the complete picture and an effective treatment plan. This taught me invaluable discretion and adaptation skills necessary to pry sensitive information out and use it to benefit the person being treated. I am a Licenced Clinical Social Worker with the Board of Behavioural Sciences, having graduated with a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Missouri with a 3.9 GPA. I have the transferable skills that make an effective social worker, in abundance.
I would be not only excited, but honoured, and obliged, to work as a social worker for the City of Francisco, and help people the same way a San Francisco social worker helped me and my mother escape an abusive household over two decades ago. I have never forgotten the kindness and security that I received from that woman, and once old enough to make my own decisions, I have decided to follow in her footsteps.
When could we meet to discuss how I can improve client outcomes and satisfaction for the City of San Francisco?
Heather K. Murphy
Heather is obviously experienced in the field, and has the stats to back her up.
And well, in terms of the “reason” to be a social worker, she hits the home run.
Everyone has to start somewhere, however, so here’s a social work cover letter sample with no experience.
Ronald is fresh out of university with a degree in Social Work.
The position is similar to the one Heather was applying for, but in a smaller town. It calls for an associate's degree which included at least 20 units of social science, behavioural science, or a related field. The job mainly involves on cases of neglected, abused, or abandoned children.
Here’s his social work cover letter.
Example #2: Sample Social Work Cover Letter With No Experience
Ronald S. Moore
4526 Thomas Street
Chicago, IL 60016
Des Plaines, Jan 25, 2020
Social Work Manager
Des Plaines Department of Community Services
1 Main Avenue
Des Plaines, IL 60016
I was excited to discover the opportunity to become a social worker in Des Plaines. As a 4.0 GPA graduate of the Social Work Master’s program at the University of Chicago, with over 200 hours in an in-field practical placement at the Chicago Department of Health, I have the necessary foundation to learn from you and your colleagues on how to best impact the Des Plaines community for the better.
During my studies at the University of Chicago, I have chosen the university modules that focus on working with vulnerable children, such as Child Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Crisis Management, as it was always my intention to help those who are in crisis during the most important, formative period of their life. During my faculty-guided placement at the Department of Health, I have been able to contribute to over 15 cases, from completing assessments, investigations, and even provided testimony during one judicial hearing. I am well versed in every stage of the casework, and eager to learn more by working real cases in your community.
Paradoxically, we often confide the most in complete strangers — this is a well-known psychological fact. Working as a social worker in Des Plaines would not only be an opportunity for me to learn and grow, but also a benefit to the people of Des Plaines — I come from close enough to understand how these people think and live, but also from far enough to be a complete stranger that people are willing to confide in.
Can we schedule a call to discuss how my skills would best be applied to help the young and vulnerable of Des Plaines?
Ronald S. Moore
If you send something similar to our social work cover letter examples, you’re going to be working cases in no time.
Have you written your CV yet? Here’s our guide:Social Work CV—Examples and 25+ Writing Tips
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Let’s write your own social work cover letter.
2. How to Write a Cogent Social Work Cover Letter
Here’s how to write a successful social work cover letter:
1. Nail The Social Work Cover Letter Format
Surely nothing could be easier than writing a letter? Wrong. There are many little mistakes that you can make along the way that may not send your letter to the bin, but will make the person reading slightly annoyed. The formatting is the number one culprit of employer annoyance.
Here is the foolproof cover letter format:
- Use a font consistent with your CV font.
- Always ‘Align Left’.
- Use 1.15 line spacing, and leave an empty line between every section and paragraph.
- Use at least a 1-inch margin on every side.
- Perfect cover letter length? 1 page.
Then it’s time to start considering what to include in your cover letter.
2. Make a Social Work Cover Letter Header With Your Contact Information
Every social worker knows that sometimes big, important decisions get made, and then abandoned at the first difficulty. Once somebody decides to give you a shot, don’t make them work for it. Make sure the header of your cover letter matches your CV header.
Once your details are up-to-date, drop a space, put down the city and date, and below, the details of the person you are writing to. Often, you will be applying through local authority websites, and it will not be obvious who will be reading your application. In that case, call them up—if it seems appropriate.
Check that you have these:
Cover Letter For Social Work: Header
[ Your Full Name]
[ Your Job Title ] (Optional)
[ Address ]
[ Phone Number ]
[ Email Address ]
[ LinkedIn Profile ] (Optional)
[ City and Date ]
[ Hiring Manager’s Full Name ]
[ Hiring Manager’s Position ]
[ Company Name ]
[ Company Street Address ]
[ City and Zip Code ]
Expert Hint: If you’re applying online, there are some specific issues to keep in mind when sending your social work cover letter electronically, which our email cover letter guide will clue you up on. At ResumeLab, there is also always more cover letter tips, dos and don’ts to know.
3. Introduce Yourself and Identify The Position You’re Applying For
First impressions matter. This is not the time to talk about your calling or your passion—save it for the interview. Right away, show you can do your own research and address your cover letter by first name. At the start of your cover letter, right away state the position you’re applying for.
Wrap up the first paragraph with a good reason—a good reason to keep on reading, not necessarily the best reason to hire you. You will get into that in a second. First of all, let them know these 10 seconds of their life have not been wasted, and convince them to invest another 60 or so.
Use this to get you started:
Social Work Cover Letter: Introduction
Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name]:
I was overjoyed to see that you require a [Target Position Name] at [Target Organisation Name]. During my [number of years]+ years as a [Previous Position Title], I have developed the [very strong relevant skills you have] skills that will allow me to tackle [Key requirement from the job posting] at [Target Organisation Name].
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4. Give Them Reasons To Hire You
This is where it happens. You’ve had their curiosity. Now, it’s time to grab their attention. The responsibilities of a social worker are pretty similar across the board. By listing them as ‘skills you have acquired’, you portray yourself as an empty shell of a social worker. List achievements instead.
Quantify. Allow your potential employer to see and estimate the impact you will bring to their organisation. They cannot imagine you having good casework skills, that’s an empty statement. They can however, slot the X amount of cases, the X% of successful outcomes into their planning.
Check this one out:
Social Work Cover Letter Example: Second Paragraph
You are looking for a [target position name] skilled in [refer to the requirements of the job]. At [name of your previous employer], I have focused on [refer to the requirements of the job], which resulted in [a metric, achievement, or statistic that proves your excellence in this area]. I have also devoted a lot of time to developing my organisational skills through [relevant responsibilities, duties, or projects you’ve successfully completed, supported by metrics, if possible]. My proven expertise in [case management/policy research/securing funding/other important requirement] combined with [target position name]’s know-how and resources will allow us to achieve [important metric/outcome for your new employer].
Expert Hint: For certain positions, you may be required to get certified as a Licenced Clinical Social Worker. Check the pathways to becoming a LCSW in your state.
5. Show You Care
This is not the most glorious career. There’s a reason for why you chose it. It’s fine to talk about it, but remember you’re applying to a specific place. Take the time to research the organisation you’re sending your social work cover letter to—and find something that aligns with your personal values.
By combining your own personal calling and what they do, you are immediately showing them how the pieces fit together. Show that you have passion—but be careful about not making it the whole narrative. Remember, the social work cover letter is about what you can do for them.
Fill in the [blanks]:
Social Work Cover Letter Sample: Third Paragraph
I am applying to join [target organisation name] as [the source of your calling] is extremely important to me as [reason/personal angle]. For this reason, I want to combine my passion and skills with the structure and resources of [target organisation name] in order to give back to the community of [town], and help you [the employer’s most key goal/requirement].
Expert Hint: A lot of people entering social work have a volunteering background. How to describe it to stand out from everyone else’s volunteering gap year? Check out the guide to putting your volunteering experience on your CV and social work cover letter in the best way.
6. Request An Interview and Close
Straight-talking and directness are traits that experienced social workers appreciate. Do not leave things to chance. When signing off your cover letter, make sure to explicitly ask for a call or a meeting. Sign off formally, and look forward to working your first case a Social Worker.
Social Work Cover Letter Sample: Sign Off & Call to Action
When could we chat about how my [your best, most relevant skill/experience/their most important requirement] experience can help [target organisation name] achieve [something important to this employer]?
[Digital Copy of Your Handwritten Signature]
[Your Full Name]
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As you write a cover letter for social work positions, remember to:
- Match the header of your social work cover letter to your CV header, and check the info of the hiring manager.
- State what position you’re applying to, and introduce yourself with a relevant achievement from your CV in the first paragraph.
- Describe yourself as familiar with the requirements of the job, and back them up with your best metrics and achievements in the second paragraph of your social work cover letter.
- Talk about how your passion fits exactly into the mission of the organisation in your last paragraph.
- Request an interview and sign formally.
Do you have any more questions about writing a cover letter for social work jobs? Did you find our social work cover letter examples helpful? Leave us a comment, I’ll be more than happy to hear from you!