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Social and Welfare Services: Application Tips

a guide to careers in social work, probation, housing & community work, advice & guidance

Social & Welfare Services

Tips for Applying

How to get work in this sector


  • Have a clear idea of the positives and negatives of working in this sector
  • Look at the skills/attitudes you will need and match them to your experience
  • Try to build your experience and knowledge accordingly through volunteering, part-time work or work shadowing
  • Look at the Jobs and Experience section for more ideas on how to achieve this

Housing and Community Work Skills

  • Ability to build trusting, respectful relationships
  • Non-judgemental attitude, combined with tact and sensitivity
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Patience and resilience along with a calm, caring approach
  • Understsanding of different cultures and backgrounds
  • Good organisational skills
  • If you work with young people, an interest or skills in areas that may interest them, such as sports or the arts

Probation Skills

  • Ability to relate to people and a genuine interest in helping them
  • Non-judgemental approach
  • Excellent communication and people skills
  • Coping with stressful situations and challenging behaviour
  • Good organisational and report-writing skills
  • Working in a team as well as on your own initiative

Advice and Guidance Skills

  • Ability to develop good working relationships with a wide variety of people
  • Good communication skills, including listening and questioning
  • Non-judgemental and unbiased approach
  • Good organisational, time management and report-writing skills
  • Ability to research information and explain it clearly
  • Good IT skills

Applications and Interviews

  • In the public sector, most applications will be competency based. Try to make headings covering each section of the person specification and show how you meet each one from your skills and experience
  • Keep your additional information section succinct and to the point

Use Us

If you need help with your applications, or have an interview to prepare for, we can help:

  • Applying for jobs - covers CVs, covering letters, applications, interviews, selections tests and assessment centres
  • Careers Advice - we have a range of drop-in and bookable appointments throughout the week. Bring your CV/application or get interview advice

Skills a Social Worker Needs

  • Are you looking for a career that enables you to make a difference?
  • Do you enjoy problem solving and grappling with complex issues?
  • Do you want a job that is intellectually demanding?
  • Are you good at collecting and evaluating information and sharing this with other professionals?
  • Are you an empathetic person, with good people skills?
  • Are you good at focussing on desired outcomes - ‘seeing the big picture'?
  • Can you stay positive when things get tough?
  • Are you motivated by protecting and safeguarding families and children?
  • Does the idea of rebuilding families inspire you?
  • Can you give people hope under difficult circumstances?
  • Most of all, do you want to improve the lives of families and children?

From Department for Education


Latest News From SocietyGuardian

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NewsNow: Welfare State news

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DS Daily - Drugs & Alcohol News

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Current Awareness

Being aware of news, developments and issues in the sector can help you at interviews. Here are some news sources to try: