Social work is possibly one of the noblest professions out there. It is a commitment of your talent, knowledge, and skills to serve the community. You deal with various people from different races, caste, and creeds. Few people willingly cooperate and help you make society a better place. At the same time, you witness some struggling to survive within the same society.
As a social worker, you will understand why people suffer the way they’re suffering and what you can do about it. Whether it’s helping someone find a better job, get over substance abuse, or help children find a better home. You are pivotal for all these tasks.
As a social worker, you won’t just work in NGOs. You can also work as an activist in clinics and even be part of the government to make significant policy changes. So how do you use social work to achieve your dreams? Whether it’s being a better social worker or helping more lives. Here’s how you can do this:
1. Get Serious About Your Career
You may start by wanting to find out what your career goals are. What type of specialization do you want to go for, what does your work structure look like, and what volunteer work you can do to help you get there. Do you enjoy working with children and want to elevate the youth? Do you enjoy working with patients with chronic illness and giving them support? Or perhaps you like policymaking. You need to know where your passion and interest lies. There are many alternative careers for social workers, depending on how you want to use your social work degree.
2. Have a Work Style
Social working will require you to balance between different clients as well as updating their case files. So it would help if you decided what work style suits you. Are you someone who works better when there is a hierarchy in the workplace? In that case, you may need to work in the prison system or child and family work. What will also help you determine your work style is how well you did in school and how you responded to authority. Are you an independent worker who, even in school, preferred handling things on their own? Then consider going for private practice. Are a researcher, or do you like solving problems, then maybe you should go into clinical research.
3. Be Selective About the School You Choose
You can’t land your dream job unless you research programs that match your needs for what you want out of your career. Suppose you want to go into social justice. You would require your schoolwork to cover domestic violence, sexual assault, and cultural awareness. It is because, after your school, you will need to do fieldwork to gain hours. You also need to know what the employment rate is after you graduate, especially if students graduate from your school. It will also guide you that the school you chose helps you develop skills that make you better in your career. They allow you to match the practical fieldwork so you can get experience. Your school also enables you to connect with your area of social work through their network.
4. Don’t Hesitate Reaching For Financial Aid
You can’t achieve your dream if you’re feeling hesitant about reaching for financial aid. Your schooling is essential for your career. Therefore you can’t skip on your education. Find out which school offers grants, scholarships, and loans. Their loan system should make sense to you. Their financial policy should be transparent so you don’t get caught up paying hidden charges. After all, these few years are essential for helping you learn valuable skills, case studies, and experience.
5. Give Back To the Community
It would help if you tried getting into volunteering. Although, it doesn’t always have to be in the fieldwork you want to pursue. The idea is to gain different perspectives and understand how the social system works. Suppose you work with people struggling below the poverty line. You learn about diversity in the community, the troubles of marginalized groups, and the oppression these communities face.
However, suppose you want to pursue this voluntary work deeper and try different fieldwork. In that case, you will notice that your fieldwork and volunteer work will pay off and help you match with the career of your choice. With so many social organizations available, you should also research which volunteer work can help you compare with the organization that aligns with your career goals.
6. It would help if you worked on networking
It would help if you talked to your professors about how they connected with the careers they wanted. Most of them will tell you that you should work on your networking. You can do this in your volunteer work and talk to your mentors, seniors, and advisors. You should attend conferences and use them as an opportunity to meet professors. It would help if you also listened to what information you can gain in these conferences and how they can help you. Some states also require you to continue your education, and so your license stays relevant. You can also use this as an opportunity to help grow your professional circle. You will also get a chance to attend workshops and learn about different specializations and how you can steer your career in that direction.
If you want to achieve your dreams through doing social work, there are several steps you need to follow. First, get serious about your career, find out what you want from your job. Then figure out what your work style is and what structure will help you fulfill those needs. Once you know what you want, be selective about the school you will attend. You should do volunteer work and give back to the community. Finally, don’t forget to network to create a lucrative social circle for yourself.