The 5 skills you need as a social worker

Social workers play a vital role in society and dedicate their time to caring for vulnerable people – whether that be offering rehabilitative support, helping a client overcome interpersonal challenges or safeguarding a child’s human rights. 


All in all, problem solving is at the heart of being a social worker. This can be a rewarding role, but also one that comes hand in hand with making difficult decisions and helping people navigate through some of the most challenging times of their lives. 


So if you’re looking for a profession where you can make a genuinely positive impact on people’s lives, then social work could be the next step in your career. Carry on reading to see if you’ve got what it takes. 




Putting the needs of your clients first is key to being a successful social worker that enriches the lives of others. It is this dedication that drives forward positive change in society and helps give a voice to those that need it most. However, it is equally important to practise self-care and maintain a healthy work/life balance to avoid burnout. We recommend engaging in meditation before seeing clients, eating a balanced diet, taking regular breaks and indulging in something that brings you joy each day. Not only will this improve your mental health, but also allow you to provide the best care for your clients. 


  1. Ethical 


Social workers must maintain an ethical code of conduct whereby they continuously demonstrate a high regard for human rights, social inclusion and equal worth. It is important to challenge your own values and make informed decisions that are not impacted by bias. Advocating for social justice means treating all of your clients with dignity and respect while listening to their needs to provide the best possible outcome.


  1. Pragmatic


Although building positive rapport with your clients is obviously crucial to making them feel heard and represented – it is important not to get too emotionally invested. Applying a combination of logic, analytical skills and professional objectivity puts you in the best position to deliver the right resources and help your clients improve their quality of life. Setting boundaries with clients is a good place to start and will help you avoid emotional exhaustion. 


  1. Empathetic


To completely contradict our last piece of advice, you can also show your clients that you’re human too! Finding the sweet spot between empathy and professional judgement can be hard, but if you’re the right person for this complex industry you’ll have no issues. 


  1. Culturally aware


As a social worker, you’ll be working with a variety of people from different backgrounds, with individual lived experiences and beliefs. Listen to their idiosyncratic needs and show an understanding for their cultural identities. Maintaining a non-biased attitude towards the people you’re helping will not only make them feel more comfortable during a difficult time, but also allow you to connect them with the best services based on their needs. 


Is social work a good fit for you? Get in touch with our specialists via email at [email protected] to see how we can help or browse our latest vacancies here

carlette Isaac

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