Social work is a rewarding career path, but it can be hard to find the right job. There are lots of things that can help you get a leg up on your peers when you’re looking for a job: education, experience, and even access to the right connections. But there’s one thing that will make or break your chances at getting hired—and it’s not what you think. 

Soft skills are those abilities that aren’t taught in school or on-the-job training but are vital for success in any field. They include things like communication skills, problem-solving, and behavioral aspects. While these skills aren’t usually taught formally, they are essential to succeed in any career—including social work.

However, the problem is that not all schools offer these courses as part of their curriculum. If you want to be sure that your school has them covered, then it’s time to start looking into master’s in social work programs. The MSW degrees cover the practical implementation of these skills and prepare you for other advanced career opportunities.

Additionally, you need to develop the following skills:


Empathy is a crucial soft skill for a social worker. The ability to understand and connect with others is central to the job—you need to be able to see where your clients are coming from and guide them through their struggles in a way that makes sense for them.

According to the American Psychological Association, empathy is a strong predictor of actions we generally regard as positive behaviors that are advantageous to society, individuals, and relationships.

In short: empathy is what allows you to relate to people who are experiencing things you’ve never had or felt before. And when you’re able to relate with someone else, they feel understood—and that makes it easier for them to open up about what’s going on in their life.

According to the World Economic Forum, employees at organizations with highly empathetic CEOs frequently exhibit higher levels of innovation and engagement.

A person who has high levels of empathy is typically more successful in their careers because they can connect with others on a deeper level than those who don’t have such high levels of empathy.

Time Management

Time management is a crucial skill that’s often overlooked. If you’re going to be successful in any career, you have to be able to manage your time well.

But it’s not just about the hours that you put in at work—it’s also about how you use those hours. You need to be able to prioritize tasks, set deadlines for yourself, and meet them without feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. You need to know when you can take breaks and when it’s time for total immersion in your work.

And if you want to do social work? Well, then this becomes even more important! As a social worker, you’re working with people who need help and support. And most of the time, they don’t have anyone else who can give them that support—so they depend on YOU. That means that if you don’t have good time management skills, they might end up waiting longer than they should have before getting the help they need, which could mean they miss out on getting something important done.

As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, communication skills are one of the important qualities of a social worker. Social workers hear from clients about their struggles in life. Social workers must be able to listen to and comprehend the needs of their clients in order to offer appropriate assistance. Moreover, the average annual pay of a social worker in 2021 was $50,390.

Problem-Solving Skills

If you’re looking to succeed in a career in social work, you need to have a lot of skills.

Problem-solving skills are one of the most important soft skills you can develop. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, social workers must evaluate the complicated conditions facing their clients and come up with workable solutions.

This is something that’s particularly important for social workers because they need to be able to handle different situations, including those that involve difficult clients or families. Social workers are often faced with situations where they aren’t sure how best to proceed—and that’s when problem-solving skills come into play.

In order to solve problems effectively, it’s also helpful if you know how to communicate well with others—another skill that social workers need in order to succeed in their careers.

Summing Up

Social work is a career that requires a lot of empathy and the ability to communicate effectively with others. These skills are invaluable in any workplace, but they’re especially important in social work.

By developing your soft skills through practice, you’ll be able to communicate better with clients and co-workers alike. You’ll also be able to more effectively advocate for your clients and make sure that their needs are met.

Soft skills aren’t just important for social workers—they’re important for everyone! So, whether you’re looking to build on your current career or start a new one, learning how to build these skills will help you thrive at whatever you choose.