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Where can I gain volunteer experience?

volunteering-picture-(1).jpg Sometimes a degree is enough to secure a job, but sometimes you need education and experience. For those who are thinking about a career in social work, volunteering is a great way to learn more about the field. Volunteer work can help secure scholarships and work-study programs because it demonstrates your dedication to the field. Volunteering also prepares you for the field practicum (or internship) component of a social work degree. As you continue in your career, you may find yourself searching for additional ways to give back to your community and to those who are studying social work. Check out ideas for where to volunteer.

Is there assistance for completing national service-based programs?

Several social work programs provide scholarships, tuition assistance, or fellowship opportunities to students who have participated in national service-based programs.
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If you are an alum of one of these programs, be sure to contact schools of interest to see what support they offer. CSWE also provides service-based fee waivers to individuals applying to master’s-level programs through SocialWorkCAS

How should you communicate the value of your volunteer or work experience?

Volunteer hours and responsibilities should be included on your résumé when applying for jobs and pursuing additional education. You can list volunteer experience in a separate section or mix it in with your paid work experience chronologically. If you are working in a different profession and considering a new career path in social work, be sure to highlight how your skills and tasks have affected individuals, groups, or organizations with whom you’ve partnered.
 
 Volunteer experiences add to résumés in several ways:
  • Fill in gaps of unemployment
  • Bring relevant experience to a résumé when switching career fields
  • Show the passion and initiative that employers are seeking
Just like when listing your previous paid experience, remember to include specific data about the outcomes you’ve driven. Instead of simply listing your job requirements, go into detail about how you did your job and specifically how you made an impact.