Looking for a career as a social care worker? For those that want to make a difference and help others, social work can be incredibly rewarding and help you to get great job satisfaction. Social work is a broad term and you can find work in many different settings helping many different types of people, but there are certain skills and attributes that all social workers will need. There are many perks to being a social worker and it is a way of life for many, but it is also not an easy line of work and it is not suited to everyone. With this in mind, here are a few of the main skills and attributes that you need.
Empathy is often the first attribute that is associated with social workers. In order to help people, make a positive difference to their life and develop trust, it is important that you are able to empathize and put yourself in their position. Success in social work is all about building relationships and developing trust, so you need to be able to connect with those in emotional distress and/or going through a difficult period.
Leading on from this, you also need to be dependable. People require social workers when they need help from others, whether this is personal, legal, financial or health issues that they are going through. This means that you need to be someone that they can depend on during this time, so you often will need to put others ahead of your own needs and always be willing to go the extra mile to help people.
Being a social worker is not easy and you will be dealing with people that are upset, angry, distraught and hopeless every day. This can test your mental strength, especially as social workers are those that care and are empathetic. This is why you also need to be resilient and able to work in emotionally charged environment and able to keep your cool at all times. Additionally, you need to have thick skin as it is likely that you will be shouted at and called names – this is all part of the job.
Ability To Separate Home & Work
Following on from this, when you are dealing with people that are in difficult situations and distressed each day, it can be hard to go home and put your feet up and forget about work. It is not easy, but you do need to be able to separate work from home so that you can make the most out of your free time and enjoy your life. This is something that people tend to be able to do with experience, but you will also find that creating barriers, having fun things to do, exercise and spending time with loved ones helps.
Following on from this, if you are looking for a 9-5 role then social work is not for you. As a social worker, you need to be flexible and able to be on call and willing to help off the clock. Additionally, you will be required to work in a wide variety of settings and be able to change your plans based on the needs of those that you are working with.
Ability To Be Objective
You certainly need to be able to empathize and connect with people, but you must also always be objective. You need to be able to remove emotion and personal feelings when making key decisions to find the best outcomes. It is hard to find the right balance, but this is key for success and is what makes a good social care worker.
It is important to have personal attributes and skills in social care, but you also need education and training no matter what area you want to get into. A bachelor of social work online will teach you what you need to know to find success as a social care worker whether you have plans to be a school social worker, substance abuse therapist, child and family social worker or a mental health social worker.
Strong Organizational Skills
As a social worker, you need to have excellent organizational skills. This is because you will often be working on multiple cases at once and you need to keep on top of appointments, paperwork and reports. When you are well organized, it will help you to provide the best possible care for those you are working for while also helping to reduce stress.
You quickly find out in social care that things rarely go as planned. There are usually complications, setbacks and defeats. It can be easy to become disheartened, but persistence is key particularly because you are dealing with people’s lives. You need to be persistent, able to maintain a positive outlook and able to adapt and change your approach to find new solutions and help people to overcome their problems.
Strong Ethical Compass
When it comes to social work, you will often be dealing with complex ethical problems every day. This is part of what makes the job so interesting and rewarding, but it can also pose challenges. Therefore, you need to have a strong ethical compass and good judgement skills to take the right action and improve the situations that you are working in.
A good social worker is one that is keenly aware and has social perceptiveness. You need to have a strong understanding of the issues and challenges that face those that you are working with as well as understand body language, cultural patterns of behavior and social trends. This can require ongoing work and study, but it can make a big difference to your abilities as a social worker.
These are a few of the main skills and attributes that you need to be a good social worker. For those that care about others and want to make a positive difference, social work can be incredibly rewarding and there are many areas that you can work in. It is not for everyone, though, and you need to have all of the above and more to find success.