Non-Traditional Social Work Careers: Where Do I Fit In? #alsoSW

Nontraditional Social Work Jobs

As I wrap up the final months of my MSW@USC program, I am officially deep into the post graduation job search. My goal is to find a job in New York City that provides me with financial security and is the right next step in my career journey. It is also important to me that I find a job aligns with my own personal values and the values of The National Association of Social Work.

When I start to reflect on my areas of interest in the social sector, I come to realize that my passions are deep, but they are also volatile. While I know I want to make an impact in the world, I’m not settled on my exact direction. The good news is that I seem to have a firm grasp on what I don’t want to do (I have pretty much excluded clinical work from my desires), but besides that, I am open, eager, and ready to tackle multiple social changes from human rights, to environmental protection. I can see myself working for the government, working for a large corporation or an EAP, working in a leadership or collaborative position for a social good non-profit, or even working for an international organization such as the United Nations. But the question becomes, what type of role does a social worker look to fill in these types of professional spaces?

OLF9880When searching for job opportunities, it is much easier to spot traditional social work jobs, such clinical roles in a mental health facility, or a leadership position at a non-profit organization. But, if you plan to do nontraditional social work, it becomes much less clear where to look, and how to sell yourself as a valuable potential candidate.

What do you do when you’re a young, green, generalist social worker living in New York City? At first glance, the options seem endless (which is good, right?), but the options are also difficult to identify and organize. So where do you start? Who do you align yourself with and begin to build a network? What are employers looking for in applications? How do you explain your skill set in a way that makes sense? Is focusing on your values and passions enough? And is there such a thing as going in the wrong direction?

These are just some of the many questions that flood my head on a daily basis. And while this journey can seem overwhelming at times, I can’t help but think that many recent MSW graduates are also experiencing a similar struggle. So, in honor of Social Work Month I am inviting you to join me in my quest to discover resources that will help to reveal the job opportunities that exist within nontraditional social work.

Starting this Thursday, I will be posting a #TBT blog post feature about one of the many professionals featured in our Beyond Good Ideas Foundation Social Change Career Speaker Series. This series highlights leaders in the social sector who have been successful in being agents of change in a variety of different career paths. Their tips and advice about their professional journey as well as some words of wisdom they have gained along the way will be the focus of the weekly blog post.

In addition, I will be posting resources I have come across on my job search on a daily basis so make sure to follow us on all of our social media platforms and look for the hashtag #alsoSW to catch some great tips on landing your dream job.

Thank you for following along with me on this journey. I look forward to you joining me in this ongoing conversation and to help us spread the word that policy makers, executive directors, consultants, communities organizers and other macro roles are also Social Work.


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