The Canadian job market is very competitive and jobs are not easy to find. It may take some time to find full-time work as a social worker, so be prepared and understand each of the steps needed to gain employment.
- Finding a job in Canada may be very different than in your home country. Most immigrant-serving organizations offer help with finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.
- Broaden your search and include alternative careers and other geographical areas.
- Join job-finding or networking groups in the social sector through the immigrant-serving agencies.
- Attend career/job fairs, info sessions and conferences related to the social sector.
- Most community agencies need volunteers. Look for volunteering opportunities with social agencies and centres in your community.
- Seek out a mentor in the social sector – for example, a retired social worker – who would give you valuable insight and advice and probably introduce you to their professional network.
Most settlement agencies and other immigrant-serving organizations offer help with finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.
Click the link to find immigrant services in your area.
An informational interview is a brief (20–30 minute) meeting that you schedule with a person who is currently working in your target field and geographic location to learn more about that particular sector.
You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather find out whether or not a particular position or industry might be a good fit for your interests and your personality. An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information because, in addition to basic information about a particular type of industry (such as you might find on an organization’s website), it also offers you the benefit of a professional’s first-hand experiences and impressions.
Networking is an essential tool that may give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry that can strengthen your resume, cover letter, and interview skills. As many job vacancies are not advertised, you must make connections with working social workers and others within your field.
Good places to network are gatherings such as conferences, association luncheons, and social mixers for their convenience in meeting people, building relationships, and sharing information.
LinkedIn is another important professional tool for networking. It is great for reconnecting with your ex-colleagues and employers, search by company or jobs, and get introductions and recommendations.
You can also mingle with people in the social sector and join some related professional groups.
Note that it’s not appropriate to ask a networking contact for a job, but if they know of any job leads, they may share them.
Remember, it takes time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight and therefore, you need to be patient.
With a degree in social work you will be qualified to work in many different jobs such as counselor, admissions adviser, case manager and several management and director positions.
Functional Resume: To get an interview for any type of social work position, you need a resume that shows off your skills and is angled toward the position that you want. For this reason, a functional resume works best for social workers. For example, if you have experience working with at-risk children and adults with substance abuse problems, you need to portray these skills and group your experience by the group you worked with rather than by the time line of the position you held.
Statement of Objective: When writing your resume for a social work position, your statement of objective should be in the beginning.
Agency Needs: Good and successful resumes for social work and public health concentrate on desire to serve the society. So your resume should also focus on the agency mission and its need and state that how your goal and desires align with that of the agency you are applying to. Blending your personal experience and education with the needs of the agency or person doing the hiring is key to a successful resume. Bragging only about your background can have a negative effect.
Numbers: Don’t be afraid to use numbers. If you worked with a 25-client case load, tell a potential employer that. If you have a high success rate in preventing drug use in your adolescent clients, put it on your resume. Even if you have served in director or management positions state numbers explaining your budget. Using numbers to explain your work experience can really give a potential employer an insight into your skills and capabilities.
Education: Social work is a field where you need to constantly be taking courses and work on your professional development. Therefore include your education in your resume and mention bridging programs and continuing education courses you have taken. Potential employers want to see that you have met all of the educational requirements to be a licensed social worker and that you are constantly working to improving your skills.
A job interview for a social worker position will include behavioral questions and experience or qualifications questions. These questions are asked to assess the level of your skills and motivation to the said position.
Below are some sample questions you might be asked during an engineering interview:
- What are your experiences/qualifications for this position – working with people with social needs?
- Why did you choose this career? What motivates you about social work?
- Describe an unexpected/stressful situation you’ve experienced in your previous job as social worker. How did you handle the situation?
The following is a description of a client. What is your assessment and diagnosis? What kind of
- treatment and plan would you implement?
- How do you show an interest and compassion in what a person (with social needs) is saying?
- Have you ever acted as a mentor?
- How do you prioritize tasks during a day work? How do you handle a high workload?
- Have you turn down a request from a person? What was the reason?
- What would you think are the key social work challenges for this position?
- Describe a social problem and the way you collect information to establish a problem solving model.
- Describe social work in which you conduct team meetings, interviews and group training.