Due to the budget cuts in the public sector and funding problems in the independent and voluntary sectors, the social work jobs market has become highly competitive in recent years and employers are now being more stringent during the application process. Finding your first position as a newly qualified social worker can therefore be an unnerving and often stressful experience as many applicants tend to obsess over the application process and worry about whether their skills and experience meet the requirements. So, if you’re newly qualified and not finding too much luck during the application process and want to increase your chances of getting an interview, here are a few application tips and tricks for newly qualified social workers:
Persistence is key
When you’re applying for your first role in social work, sometimes you can often go days or even weeks without getting a response. It’s therefore important to remember that rejection is a part of the process and learning how to deal with it will keep you motivated. Try to remember that because of the competitive nature of the jobs market, many decent candidates are unsuccessful and that you just need to keep going to find the job for you. Be methodical and don’t pin your hopes too much on a single position – set yourself the target of applying for around 3 jobs every day, and eventually your hard work will be noticed and rewarded.
Showcasing your experience
Placements are obviously vital to the learning process, and anyone taking on a NQSW will be interested to see how you made the most of your placements, but there are other elements of experience that can be just as persuasive. Voluntary work and pre-course experience are often important resources for your answers, and don’t think that they are somehow less valid – many roles include social work in some sense, even if they are not labelled as such. That also goes for jobs that were outside the sphere of social work as you’ll be surprised by how many transferable skills you can find from roles you might consider unrelated.
Remember to express emotion
Although demonstrating skills and experience are the core part of the recruitment process, don’t forget to show that your passion and enthusiasm are just as important, especially if you’re newly qualified. Use positive language and mention your motivations in your written statement when you can. By highlighting why you’re passionate about entering the sector, you might be able to present a unique and meaningful case for employment.
Take time to apply
It’s a good idea to give yourself several goes at an application form so don’t hesitate to take breaks and come back to something to reassess what you’ve written as you’ll usually spot mistakes, errors and spelling mistakes. This is particularly important for application forms that have strict word counts, as you’ll often find ways to add more information in.
Here at One Stop Social, we understand how daunting and stressful it is to find a job as a NQSW, however, if you follow our tips and tricks, we can almost guarantee the process will be easier for you! We hope you enjoyed this blog piece, if you’d like to keep up with more of our blogs and receive the latest job updates, sign up to our newsletter here.