Cover Letters for Social Workers: Get Yourself the Interview

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Hiring Manager's Reactions to Resume & Cover Letter Submissions

I am going through my first time hiring staff & thought it might be helpful to share a few tips based on my experience...

The hiring manager is probably receiving hundreds of resumes & cover letters for only one open position. That's stressful & it's just not possible to carefully read every one. Remember, this person has a full-time job. Hiring staff is extra work in an already full work life. If you want to be considered, you have to stand out & exhibit professionalism. So... DOs & DON'Ts:

-DO customize your cover letter for the position. If it's clear you're sending this cover letter to 100 different companies, it's going in the NO PILE.

-DON'T copy/paste your resume into the body of an email OR rely on a job search website to organize your resume OR copy/paste your cover letter into the job search website. It looks sloppy, it will have to be either transferred to word processing or printed on multiple sheets, & the websites never get the resume into a concise, reader friendly version. Either put the cover letter into the body of an email or attach both the cover letter & resume as PDF files. But don't send a blank email with only attachments. Write a brief note referencing your interest and your attachments.

-DO make sure your resume is updated. If your resume says you expect a degree in 2012 & you're applying for a job in 2015, it tells the manager that you don't/can't pay attention to detail. That's a red flag and it will land your resume squarely in the NO PILE.

-DON'T call or drop by the office uninvited. The only exception is if you have a connection with the manager or company. Then call, but still don't drop by the office. Again, the hiring manager has a full time job outside of hiring & probably won't have time to see you.

-DO make yourself available. If you're applying for work & you get a call from an unfamiliar number but you're about to enter a subway tunnel or it's otherwise not a good time, let it go to voicemail & return the call when you're available.

-DON'T apply for a job you're not qualified for. Similarly, DON'T misrepresent yourself. If you're not properly credentialed, don't call yourself a "mental health professional."

-DO, please, proofread. If you have poor grammar, incomplete sentences, &/or misspelled words, you're not inspiring any confidence in your abilities. We all know that a huge part of social work is documentation. Show that you can do it & do it well.

-DON'T apply multiple times for the same position. If you aren't organized enough to keep track of what you have and have not applied for, it's unlikely you'll be organized enough to manage a caseload.

-DO show up for an interview, on time, as scheduled.

-DON'T cancel or reschedule due to inclement weather if the city is up and running just fine. This shows the hiring manager that you can't be trusted to show up for work.

Good luck! Our field needs solid professionals. If that's you, show it in your first impression to potential employers.

Holly Stuart more than 1 year ago

Tips for entering a new area of Social Work

I have been out of the Social Work field for many years but have renewed my LCSW every year. For almost a year, I have been trying to obtain employment as a hospice Social Worker but do not have prior work experience with end of life issues. How can I get an employer to give me a chance? I am willing to train - take courses and job shadow to learn on the job. I have identified an end of life certification program that I would love to take but one of the requirements is to be actively employed in the field. Help!

Tracy Zagata more than 1 year ago

hospice social work

Hi, Tracy! I suggest you volunteer for one or more hospice agencies so that you get training with end-of-life issues and also get to know the agency (and vice versa). Good luck!

Robin Hernandez more than 1 year ago

Cover Letter Salutation

How do we find the name of the person who will be reviewing the application when submitting an online resume? Some agencies provide applicants with no contact information for recourse when applying for a job.

Adrienne more than 2 years ago

Cover Letter: salutation

You say it's easy to find out who will be reviewing applications, but you don't say how. What is the best way to uncover this information? And if it simply cannot be found, what is the best way to then address this salutation?

Paige more than 2 years ago

Cover Letter: salutation

If online searching doesn't pan out, the best thing to do is to call the company and ask! Even if they say "No phone calls" no one will dock you points for doing your research.
If it is impossible to find out, "Dear Hiring Manager," or "To Whom It May Concern," is sufficient.
Here are a few hints on how to find who to address the cover letter to:
http://www.pongoresume.com/blogPosts/659/how-to-find-a-name-for-your-cover-letter-greeting.cfm

Valerie Arendt more than 2 years ago

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