Social Worker Job Networking Tips
Social worker jobs are often tough jobs among the poorest people in a society. They come with a very different career image from the glitzy corporate one associated with the sorts of jobs that made networking a prominent and essential part of professional life.
Social Worker Jobs and the Employment Market
Nevertheless, networking is one of the most necessary elements of a social worker's career. The job market is relatively slow and very diverse. It's a huge employment sector, and the jobs are often based in large organizations. Turnover in this sector is relatively low, and job mobility is affected by this characteristic of the social work environment. That, in turn, affects career progression.
It's also a very focused type of career. Many social workers are specialists in their fields, and their career progression is therefore complex. Career options aren't obvious, and opportunities have to be actively searched.
For example, a social worker works as a counselor for unemployed people, as part of a large charity. This work is rewarding, but the job only goes so far. At a point in the social worker's career and his or her talents need to be developed. The social worker, obviously, has to progress and find a higher-level job.
To achieve a career progression, the social worker needs these things:
- A clear idea of a career goal
- A job that can develop his skills and use his years of experience in the workforce
- Organizations that can help with his career progression
Social workers are often highly motivated people, and meeting their needs for a meaningful career is critical to career and job satisfaction. In this case, the social worker will require a career option that provides achievement, as well.
Social Worker Jobs and the Job Network
A social worker's job is extremely specialized, and the network also has to be professional. The network is based around a range of professional activities:
- Trainers and college lecturers: These are primary career contacts, who also act as sources of current professional information and advisers regarding career issues.
- Managers: These are usually highly experienced social workers who are well aware of the issues involved in the different types of social worker jobs. They also provide a useful in-house support mechanism in terms of advising about job options. Managers may also assist by providing work in areas of interest or areas of study that the social worker intends to develop through qualifications.
- Community groups and organizations: These are an environmental network, as much as a professional network. They're part of the social worker's local network and a critical source of personal information that can influence the social worker's career and job decisions.
- Peer groups and colleagues: Social workers regularly confer with their colleagues. This helps them maintain a good level of current information about such topics as job hunting and professional issues. This is an ad hoc professional network that may extend across the area of specialization in some cases.
- Professional associations: These are another area of involvement, a source of news, job ads and, in many cases, current information about new studies, which are particularly relevant in social work.