Working in social care is a challenge, but it comes with a lot to recommend it as well. Social workers are constantly in demand, so you enjoy a lot of job security, as well as the flexibility to relocate if choose to: it’s difficult to find an area of the country where social workers aren’t needed. You also get the satisfaction of knowing that the work you do every day makes a difference to people, which can more than compensate for some of the stresses of the role.
Finding your first social care job can be a challenge: at the start of your career, when you’re fresh out of training you lack for confidence and experience – not in the job itself, but in the search and application process. That’s what we’re looking at today, to help you take your first steps into the world of social work and care.
That First Job
Finding your third or fifth job is almost a matter of routine: you have lots of experience to fall back on, an understanding of the sort of situations you work well in and the sort of people you are most productive in partnership with.
Coming out of your training you’re younger, have less self-knowledge (simply because you’ve spent less time with yourself) and have less experience of the sheer variety of social care jobs that there are. You also have less employment experience on your CV. These two factors make it more challenging to find the best jobs for you, and to impress employers when you do find them.
Allow yourself to be guided by your studies. Your training will include work placements that allow you to get experience of different practical aspects of social work. They also help you meet potential employers and or reference-ees. Reflect on the placements and social work areas that you found most rewarding. Even if there are no current vacancies in that particular service, your supervisor may be a useful contact in finding a job somewhere similar – and putting in a word for you with the recruiter!
Your interview for your first job after training can be nerve wracking, but you can boost your confidence with a few simple techniques.
Review your CV and training the day before, to make sure you have plenty of points to discuss about how you’re a fit for the role. When you’re starting out, they won’t be expecting lots of experience – just be ready to point up your results and good attitude!
Double check where you’re going for your interview and your route: have a back up already planned in case of disruptions. Arriving late and panicked will leave on the back foot, even if the panel are understanding about your delay!
Lay out your clothes the night before. If you have a great interview outfit in mind but find the shirt has a ketchup stain on it and you don’t have a spare ready to go then you need time to fix it, which you can’t do on the morning of the interview.