Working as a social worker is both challenging and rewarding. The career growth rate is much higher than average, so you should have an easier time securing your next position.
Trained social workers use their skills to help children, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, and other populations in need of services. Getting an interview is the first step in landing the position that is right for your experience and skills. That process starts with a great resume and cover letter.
If you’ve already downloaded one of our Microsoft Word resume templates, you’re off to a great start. Next, you need to compose a cover letter that shows the hiring manager how passionate you are about the position, and what skills and experience you possess. To help you get started, we’ll provide some tips, then follow that up with cover letter examples for social work.
How to Write a Social Work Cover Letter
To create a compeling cover letter, focus on three core things:
- Research the organization you are applying to. Specifically, learn the name, title of the hiring person. Then look into the org’s most notable projects and key areas of focus? Are there any overlaps with your career or personal background? Do certain values resonate most with you? What skills and experiences are they looking for? Jot down all of the above.
- Craft a compelling opening. Open your social work cover letter with a strong introductory statement, detailing what opportunity you apply for and what’s your main motivation. Mention one core skill and experience that is the most relevant to the position to pique the reader’s interest.
- Work on the body of your cover letter. Use the main section of your cover letter to detail your most relevant experiences and skills. Share an accomplishment or your most successful program. Or bring in a personal experience or quick story to contextualize your expertise.
- Close confidently. End your cover letter with a quick statement, prompting follow-up action — an interview callback, reference request, etc.
- Edit for clarity. Once you are done, give your cover letter a final sweep. Check for mistakes and typos, remove redundancies, trim long-winded sentences. Each sentence in your cover letter should clearly communicate what makes you the optimal fit for the job.
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be for Social Work?
A solid cover letter for a social worker should not be one page long — an equivalent of 200-250 words in a 12-size font. It’s okay to offer a somewhat shorter cover letter — about 100-150 words — if you send it over by email, rather than as a standalone attachment.
Bite-Sized Cover Letter Tips For Social Workers
Here are a few tips to help ensure that your cover letter is attention-grabbing, sincere, and motivates the hiring manager to make the next move!
- Highlight the qualifications that are most relevant to the position
- Use acronyms and titles that will stand out to the hiring manager
- Make it scannable. The hiring manager should be able to learn all of the important information they need – at a glance.
- Expand on the information in your resume – this is your chance to include engaging details that make you a more interesting applicant
- Use keywords – companies often use applicant tracking software to check for certain words and phrases. Review the job listing for pertinent keywords and include those in your cover letter
- Edit carefully to show you pay attention to details
- Customize your cover letter for each social worker position for which you are applying
- Use an acceptable business letter format for your cover letter
Most importantly, follow the directions for submitting your resume and cover letter. If they want you to mail in a paper copy, do that. If they request that you email a PDF version, then send it in that format. Don’t be tempted to do something else in hopes that you will stand out or get attention. These procedures are often in place to ensure that regulations are followed during the hiring process.
A Cover Letter Sample For Social Workers (Word version)
A Cover Letter Sample For Social Workers (text version)
Dear Ms. Bullock,
I am very excited for the opportunity to apply for the position of Social Worker at the Chicago Regional Office of the Department of Social Services. When I read the job listing on Glassdoor.com, I realized that my experience and career goals would make me a perfect fit for this position.
I am currently working as a deputy social worker at the division of juvenile corrections. My duties include running group therapy sessions, assisting youthful offenders as they transition back to their home communities, career training education, and social skills training. I also work closely with the juvenile office of probation and parole helping to ensure that youthful offenders have the resources they need to avoid recidivism.
Due to my work in an Illinois state agency, I am experienced with many of the computer systems and reporting requirements that are used within the department of social services as well as my own agency. I have completed ABC Training as required by the state of Illinois. I have also obtained my DEF Certification.
I received my BA degree in Social Work from Eastern University with a Minor in Criminal Justice. As part of my coursework, I completed a 12-week internship with the Department of Social Services, Department of Rehabilitation. I am currently working on my Masters of Clinical Social Work with an estimated graduation date of June 2019.
With two years of working experience in social services, familiarity with the Illinois state department of social services, and previous social services internships, I believe I have the qualifications required for this position. Further, I believe my work record shows that I have a history of helping disadvantaged populations by combining compassion along with proven strategies. In my work with the division of juvenile corrections, I spearheaded a mentorship program between employers in the construction trades industry and juvenile offenders.
I would love the opportunity to use my skills and experience to help low-income families in the Chicago area utilize the resources available to them to improve their quality of life. I would be honored to meet with you personally to further discuss my qualifications. Thank you for your consideration.
Social Worker Case Manager Cover Letter Example (Word)
Cover Letter for Social Worker Case Manager: Sample
Dear Capt. Miller,
My name is Darryl Reed and I am writing this letter to express interest in the position of social worker case manager at the Department of Veteran’s Services. As a veteran myself, and case manager with more than five years of experience, I believe that I am strongly suited for this role.
I obtained my MSW from Kentucky college as part of the Military Scholars program in 2014. Since then, I have worked with the Kentucky Division of Human Services. I began my career as a caseworker and was eventually promoted to the position of case manager two years ago. My duties include managing level 1 cases and supervising caseworkers who were in charge of level 2 and 3 cases. My clients largely included members of the homeless and disabled population. On average, half or more of them were veterans.
My duties at the Division of Human Services include assisting my clients in finding educational opportunities, working with them to obtain appropriate benefits including disability, facilitating medical claims paperwork, and acting as a liaison between my office and the VA. I also assist with job training and search efforts.
I’m very passionate about ensuring that every veteran is able to secure any help they need to make a successful transition to civilian life, just like myself several years prior. That’s why I am keenly interested in this position. Please contact me at your convenience to schedule an interview. I look forward to meeting with you.
Do I Need to Add a Cover Letter When Applying for Social Work Grad School Internships?
Yes, even if the internship posting says that the cover letter is optional, it’s still best to provide at least a short one. Why? Because a cover letter provides you an extra opportunity to “plead your case” — share your interest and motivation in this particular internship, provide extra context around your educational and professional background, plus offer some personal tidbits that can help you stand out from the sea of other applicants.
After all, social work grad school internships are highly competitive as others from your class will likely go after the same opportunities. Thus, a compelling cover letter to your application package is a nice final touch.
What Careers are Similar to Social Work?
Social work is a broad career path by itself with different opportunities for specialization — from working with minors or the elderly to pursuing diversity-oriented initiatives, or helping minority groups. Likewise, you can work for different types of public and privately-owned organizations, educational institutions, and even in clinical settings.
However, if you are looking for similar or alternative careers to social work, here are several options worth considering:
- Student Counseling
- Social and Community Service Jobs
- Diversity and Inclusion (D&E) Specialists
- Social Program Manager or Coordinator
- Settlement Worker
- Mediator or Arbitrator
- Family Investigator or Parental Responsibilities Evaluator
- Probation Officer
Can Social Workers Make 6 Figures?
Yes, but definitely not in the early stages of the social work career. Experienced social workers, mainly employed in the private sector (e.g. by insurance companies or brokerages) or by large privately-funded institutions such as surgical hospitals or international agencies, can receive annual compensation of six figures or more. Typically, candidates with a Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree tend to earn at least $15,000 more per year and have better job prospects.
What are the Highest Paying Jobs in Social Work?
Some of the best-paid social work specialists are usually working in the medical field or for federal agencies. Based on our research on popular career websites such as Indeed, we found that the following roles are offered an above-average compensation of $80K+ annually:
- VA social worker
- Director of health and human services
- Social work program manager
- D&E consultant
- Equal employment specialist
- Director for vocational rehabilitation services
- Learning and development consultants
- Manager of family support programs
When writing a cover letter for social work, focus on your unique strengths and experiences. The samples above expertly weave the applicants’ deep motivation for the role into their career narrative. In the very beginning, the letter lists the key skills and duties at the current position – those could be strategically matched to include some of the skills/job requirements listed in the original posting – to draw the reader’s attention to the fact that you are an “ideal” match. The letters further include a brief recap of the person’s educational credentials and additional training programs, before circling back to the current work experience and achievements.
Customize this letter with your personal information and file it along with your professional resume. And if you haven’t designed one yet, browse our resume+cover letter template bundles.
Last update: September 10, 2021