Social workers need certain skills, qualities & values. Some of the skills, values and qualities will develop throughout the degree programme. But it is good to have some of the skills, qualities & values needed to become a Social Worker before starting the degree. So what skills, qualities and values should you have?
In terms of skills you should be a good communicator, you should be able to listen well, have the ability to relate to people from different backgrounds and people of different ages (having an understanding of their needs), be able to gain people’s trust, be flexible in terms of work, be practical, have tact, have the ability to be patient, be empathetic, ability to work in a team and as an individual, good at decision making & negotiation, be able to assess situations and take action (problem solving), have good time management & organisation skills and good literacy & IT skills. Sounds like a lot, but if you can talk to someone well, listen to what a person has to say and can respect an individual, understand an individuals point of view, can solve problems, are organised and can write well on paper and can use a computer you are well on your way. Some of these skills won’t come straight away, the degree will help with these skills, some of these skills will already be there before the degree. Demonstrate you have these skills in your personal statement by linking them to your experience and in the interview too!
These are things that describe you as a person. These are not learnt characteristics as such, skills are learnt, in my opinion qualities are not. In order to be a social worker it is important to possess the following qualities as a person:
– Non-judgemental – You should not judge anyone! Everyone is an equal.
– Resilient (Able to bounce back from difficult situations).
– Mature (in an emotional sense – you need to be able to handle emotional situations & be able to detach from them).
– Optimistic – You need to have a good outlook on things.
– Solution-focused – Yes, you can see there is a problem, but you need to be focused on finding the solution.
– Respectful – You need to be able to respect other people and the decisions they make.
– Friendly/kind – You’ll need to be able to build up a professional relationship with the people you work with and the people you help.
– Honest – Honesty is important. You need to be able to deal with the challenges of telling people “how it is”.
– Open-minded – You need to be open minded and see things from other perspectives. People may not have the same views as you.
Values are what you feel is important to you. In social work, there are values. These are the things that are important to the profession. So what sort of values should you hold as a person, to be a social worker? Note that not everyone will have the same values. If you don’t know what your values are it may be helpful to look at your qualities as a person. Are you honest? If so, do you value honesty in other people? In terms of values here are some of the values you could have –
– Family – in social work it is important to keep families together.
– Pride – Do you feel it is important for people to be proud?
– Success – Do you feel it is important to be successful?
– Self-value – Do you feel it is important to value yourself and who you are as a person.
– Caring – Do you feel it is important to be caring?
These are just some examples. Anything can be important to you as a person!
– Think carefully about your values, skills and qualities.
– Write your skills, qualities and values down.
– Say how your skills, qualities and values relate to social work.
Good luck 🙂