Top five skills every social worker needs

career development, career advice

Working in social care can be demanding and requires a multiple of different skills to be able to manage the day-to day. In such a varied profession, what are the top qualities every social worker needs to do their job? Here are just five of the top skills we think are crucial to a social worker.

Critical thinking

Being able to analyse cases through not just the social worker’s assumptions and expectations, but also through observations, interviews and research, helps in building more robust conclusions. Being able to think quickly and critically will allow you to help your client more effectively.

Self awareness

It’s inevitable as a social worker to not receive regular feedback, whether it’s from your manager or your client. The important thing is how you take the feedback, whether it’s a criticism or praise, and how you use this to improve your way of working. Evaluating your own performance as well as the feedback you’ve been given are an important skill in helping you grow as a social worker.

Active listening

Showing you’re listening and understanding what you’re being told is important to ensure you are talking in all the information you’re receiving. But active listening is also about building a relationship of trust with your client, who feels comfortable talking to you and feels understood. This is an invaluable skill in allowing clients to confide in you and trust you to do your job.

Verbal communication

Depending on who your audience is, as a social worker you will need to communicate in different ways to make sure you are being understood. The way you speak to your supervisor will change dramatically to how you speak to your client, even to legislators if the case arises.


As a social worker you will work with a variety of different people with different cultures and from different backgrounds. Showing tolerance and an openness towards people, as well as empathising with clients is important in social care. Most social workers naturally have this skill, but it is something that can be developed and can set you apart as a conscientious social worker.

Looking for more advice on how to get into social care? Our dedicated team of experts can give you the guidance you need to get started, as well as finding your perfect role. Speak to your local branch today.