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Taking Time out of Social Work - Help or Hinderance?

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Taking time out of Social Work – Help or Hinderance?

Social Work is a highly stressful job that can put you in unimaginable situations and require you to work long unsociable hours, often for little personal reward.
To be successful you need to be an immensely strong, passionate and caring individual but even the best Social Workers need / earn themselves a break from time to time.
Financially, the sector can reward Social Workers with the ability to take time off work to rest, recuperate and de-stress, without causing significant financial harm and I am interested to know how a “break” from Social Work can affect a Social Worker and a Social Workers career.

From a recruiters’ perspective, any CV I find that has a break in employment is highly scrutinised. Managers and internal recruitment teams want to know what happened and simply “taking a break” is often not acceptable. If there isn’t an ill relative, some form of travel / holiday or another explained reason why, there is often resistance and results in CV’s getting rejected.
In a sector where there is an industry wide shortage of candidates, I genuinely think Managers overlook quality Social Workers purely because they decided to take a break and leave themselves and other Social workers under more stress with higher case-loads as the vacancy remains open.

I think this is a problem – I truly believe that a break for Social Workers is sometimes necessary and can really help however at the moment, it can result in Social Workers being lost to the industry as they can’t get back into a role.
I have recently read on Community Care about a “Return to Social Work” programme being run by local governments which will hopefully help address the problem. I also know some Universities run a similar scheme but the question will be whether or not Team Managers and Internal recruitment teams will accept and value this course.

I would love to hear from Social Workers who have taken successful breaks and how it affected their careers, as well as Social Workers who did take a break and regretted it.

For anyone who is struggling to get back into the industry – more information on the “Return to Work Scheme” can be found here -


Changing Teams - Transferable skills in Social Work

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Changing Teams - Transferable skills in Social Work

A common request I get as a Social Work Recruitment Consultant is from Social Workers looking to change areas of practice / teams or move from Childrens’ Services into Adults or Vice Versa.

This is often met with resistance from Team / Hiring managers. Remember, all they see is the CV and if there is a variety of roles on there that seem irrelevant, your CV will be rejected.

With the diverse set of skills required and used on a daily basis from any successful Social Worker, I am often told how and why Social Workers could successfully transition into a new team – however this is not reflected in the CV and managers don’t have the benefit of having these initial conversations.

As a recruiter dealing with this regularly, I wanted to pass on my advice to help candidates who are seriously committed to changing areas.

You need to make it clear in your CV what team / area you are interested in moving into, why you want to make that change and what exact transferable skills you have.  You should use real life examples that highlight the skills you believe are relevant and transferable because without these examples – these are just empty words on a page.  The key focus should be to show how these skills make you a good Social Worker and what your Social Work background could bring to this new team.

It isn’t easy to transition teams, I know many Social Workers that have tried and are still trying that haven’t been able to secure an interview, but it is achievable!

If you focus your CV on what you can bring to the new team and move away from just reporting what you have done – you will stand a much better chance.

For more detailed advice and support, I'd be more than happy to help you in your search.  Give me a call on 01635 916 782 or email your CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Good luck!

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