5 Skills Every Social Work Should Possess


If you have decided to earn a degree in social work, you have made a wise choice. In fact, according to the United States Department of Labor, the demand for qualified social workers will increase by as much as 12 percent until the year 2024. However, to be a truly successful social worker, you will want to be sure that you possess the following important skills.

Empathy and Compassion

One of the most essential skills that every social worker should possess is the ability to show empathy and compassion to others. As a social worker, you will be interacting with a broad range of people who are experiencing various types of stressful situations. Furthermore, the situations of each of your clients will likely be unique.

It is not enough to simply sympathize with the persons you will interact with as a social worker. You must be motivated to help them overcome their problems by learning effective strategies to lead more productive lives. By showing empathy and compassion, your clients will be more apt to open up to you and take heed of your suggestions.

Organization and Multi-Tasking

Another important skill that you will need as a social worker is the ability to maintain organization while multi-tasking. Depending on the location where you choose to work, you will be responsible for dozens or even hundreds of clients. You will also be responsible for meeting an abundance of crucial deadlines.

Not only will your clients be depending on you, but your employer will be counting on you as well! With that said, it will be to your benefit to create an effective filing system and time management plan. Keeping your desk and filing cabinets can help to maintain organization in your office space as well.

Computer Skills

In days of the past, most social work was conducted through client interviews and mountains of paperwork. Today, you will still need to conduct client interviews; however, computers have replaced much of the paperwork necessary for maintaining client files. Because of this, you will need excellent computer skills.

Further, since you will be handling a large number of clients each day, you will want to be sure that you can type somewhat fast while maintaining efficiency. If you have weak computer skills, do not fret. Most social work degree programs require students to complete at least one computer skills course.


Although much of your work schedule as a social worker will not stray from a regular 9 to 5 business day, there will likely be times when you need to put in some overtime. Additionally, while most of your work will be performed in an office setting, there may be occasions when you will need to make an appearance in a courtroom.

Depending on your specific job position with your employer, you may also be required to visit the homes of various clients and their family members. Finally, in some cases, you may need to visit the homes of your clients’ neighbors and the schools that some of your clients’ children attend.

Communication and Listening

Working as a social worker requires excellent communication skills. This is not only important when interacting with your clients, but it is also essential when interacting with coworkers and your employer. You must be able to communicate with both English as well as non-English speaking clients.

Understanding the directions given to you by your employer is highly crucial as well. One way to polish your communication skills is to make an effort to hone your listening abilities. While speaking to clients or coworkers, you will need to limit distractions and if necessary, take legible notes.

The field of social work offers exciting career opportunities to people who enjoy working with and helping others. If you want to become a social worker, you will want to be sure that you possess the skills described above. By perfecting these valuable skills, you can be sure that you are on the right path to a successful career.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs