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New Year, New Professional Development Strategies

The New Year is a time for reflecting on our successes and challenges from the year before and making our resolutions as a result of the previous year. We outline our goals for what we want to accomplish in the New Year in our personal and professional lives. As we start off this year with much uncertainty to the direction of the policies that affect the social work profession, it is important to re-establish why you became a social worker and what type of work that excites, drives, and inspires you or the populations you serve to remain steadfast in your advocacy.

Whether you are a current social worker or a recent graduate, here are a few ways you can strategize to enhance your professional development goals below:

  • Test the Job Market, Network, and/or Interview for a New Job:
    • The 2017 NASW Virtual Career Fair is taking place on Thursday, February 9, 2017 from 12PM to 4PM and is free for job seekers to register and attend. During the live event, job seekers will be able to interview and connect with top social work employers from across the nation via Skype and Instant Messaging. If you are an employer interested in attending, please register here and select your booth.
    • Browse social work job postings and brush up on your job seeking skills by posting your resume for free through the Social Work Career Center JobLink. You can find all of the profession’s top social work employers with social work specific job opportunities all in one place. JobLink also offers career development packages that pair you with professionals who can assist with interview coaching, resume proofing, and reference checking. NASW members receive special discounts through JobLink.
  • Learn more about Career Development:
    • The Social Work Career Center provides social workers with Leadership Ladders series to assist social workers with successfully navigating their career. Whether you are new to the profession, a second-career professional or a mid-career professional, these tips will help you broaden your sphere of influence and take on the challenges that can catapult you to the next level in your career.profTrainingBtn (1)
  • Maintain Excellence as a Social Worker:
    • Continuing education is the cornerstone of professional development. NASW provides opportunities to obtain CE Contact Hours through a variety of avenues:
    • Enhance your Professional Identity:
      • NASW Credentials and Specialty Certifications provide recognition to those social workers who have met national standards for higher levels of specialized knowledge, skills, and experience. Credentials and certification enhance your state license and attest to your commitment to advanced social work practice. NASW members receive discounts on credentials and certifications.

With the “employment rate for social workers projected to grow 12% from 2014 to 2024 in healthcare and social services industries, which is faster than the average for all occupations,” you want to remain competitive and up-to-date with your professional development as you are strategizing your goals and objectives for this year. Remember to come back for more Professional Development Blog posts for advice and tips on your professional advancement in social work.

One comment

  1. The Occupational Outlook website notes the 12% increase over the past 10 years is for ” Counselors, social workers, and other community and social service specialists” which includes professional social workers and non-professionals.

    The offerings listed in this article show no change in how NASW promotes the profession. Continuing education, job offerings, specialty practice sections and certification are basic to what a professional association should offer.

    If NASW wants to truly advance the profession, then it should develop innovations for better service outcomes that will differentiate Social Work from the other professions. As long as the profession is content to be considered equal with “Counselors,…and other community and social service specialists”, it is doomed to remain at the same stagnant wages and susceptible to funding cuts (leading to job cuts).

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