You’ve spent the past few years studying long into the night, stressing about exams and juggling the demands of busy placements. Now that your studies are complete and you’re a newly qualified social worker, however, the real work is only just beginning. Applying for posts, preparing yourself for interview and getting ready for your first day in employment can all be terrifying prospects and you might be forgiven for wishing your student days were back again! With the right support, however, you can feel confident and empowered about starting your first job in social work. Here are some of the best online resources to help you on your way.
1. Job application tips
With increased competition for every vacant position, you need to ensure that your application stands out from the rest. Most local authorities will have their own application forms that need to be completed: in such cases, CVs are not usually required. Approach your application seriously and set aside a good amount of time to ensure your writing is carefully thought through, with immaculate spelling and grammar. The personal statement section is without doubt the most important part of any application as it’s a real reflection of you, your ethics and what you might bring to the role. Use real examples from your placements to support what you are saying and whatever you do, do not cut and paste from stock statements you might find online. Be yourself! Community Care gives lots more practical advice for completing a stellar application.
2. The assessed and supported year
Once you have secured a job, you will hear about the Assessed and Supported Year for newly qualified social workers. Similar to the NQT year in teaching, the first year of work includes further assessment, support and training to be completed over the first six to 12 months in the job. Different local authorities will have different procedures, so it’s worth checking up on these before you begin working. Take a look at this article for a guide on what to expect.
3. Work-life balance
Between getting to know your new work colleagues, familiarising yourself with your caseloads and keeping on top of the job in hand, it is easy as a newly qualified social worker to forget to switch off. The first year can be immensely stressful and it is crucial that you give yourself enough time to relax when you are not at work. The Guardian has some fresh, grounding advice from social workers themselves on how to get through your first few years. Tips such as remembering to take your lunch break, eating well and scheduling regular exercise into your week are all to be found here.