10 Must Have Skills For Social Workers To Succeed At Work

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Last Updated on September 14, 2022

Skills For Social Workers

Social work is a dynamic career preference and also a demanding industry that requires a great deal of commitment, time, and emotional energy in your dealings with a diverse set of people. It is a profession that requires you to develop your skill sets either inherent or acquired, with the motive of assisting the most vulnerable in society and also as well as to achieve success in your workplace.

If then you are thinking of becoming a social worker, it is important you focus on developing the required skills that are mandatory for anyone who wants to become a social worker.

Do you know the skills? If yes there is still quite more to know, but if not feel at ease as this article is composed to help you discover the best skills for social workers before then let’s briefly consider what social work skills are.

What Are Social Work Skills?

Social work skills are skills that are required to be possessed by a social worker so as to be able to function effectively in their profession. Part of these skills includes; communication, facilitating, counseling, organization, evaluation of clients, and the likes that are directly related to the job.

These skills can be acquired and enhanced through education, training, and more so years of experience in the field. Therefore it is necessary for these experts to constantly practice and build a unique skill set so as to be current and meet up with the requirement (duties and responsibilities) of the job.

Now let’s dive into the part you have been waiting for: the list of the 10 best skills for social workers.

10 Must Have Skills For Social Workers

Here’s a list of skills that are required for social workers to thrive in their profession. Keep reading for more information!

1. Empathy

Empathy is one of the skills that allow you to identify and understand the plight and experience of others. It allows you to perceive, decode, witness, and respond to the emotional state and perceptions of another person. Stepping into the shoe of someone else is a vital skill that assists social workers in having a better insight into their needs and establishing a rapport with clients which induced an efficient service.

 2. Active listening

Active listening is a key skill that is required for the daily routine of a social worker. An active listening skill involves careful listening, concentration, asking the right questions, and the utilization of paraphrasing and summarizing strategies all of which assist a social worker to engage and build trust with clients. Active listening is a propeller that initiates and builds trust, establishes a cordial relationship, and earns the respect of clients.

3. Communication

Communication is one vital skill that is required for the daily operation of a social worker. The ability to communicate both verbally and non-verbally with a wide range of people is very important. Part of the responsibilities of a social worker is to advocate for clients and to effectively execute this task; it is paramount that social workers understand their client’s wants. Also, it is expected that a social worker is conversant with body language and other non-verbal cues that enhance adequate communication with clients irrespective of age, gender, cultural background, educational background, or any form of disability.

4. Organization

This is also one of the best skills for social workers. Due to the tight schedules and wide range of responsibilities that are involved in managing and rendering assistance to diverse clients, documentation, reporting, billing, and collaboration, require a social worker to be well organized and to be able to prioritize clients’ needs and desires for efficient management of cases. Disorganization and inefficient time management would result in the negligence of the client’s needs by a social worker, which would thereby pose negative feedback.

5. Critical thinking

The ability to analyze information that is covered from uncompromised observation and communication is termed “critical thinking”. A social worker must be able to justly evaluate each case by gathering information via observation, interviews, and research. Thinking critically with any form of bias enhances a social worker to make knowledgeable decisions, identify the best resources, and also formulate the perfect plan to assist clients.

6. Self-care

Social workers can function efficiently and provide a better service to their clients when they take out time to care for themselves. Due to the demanding nature of the job and the emotional stress that’s oftentimes attached to this profession, Self-care activities are therefore a necessity for social workers to help in maintaining and improving a balanced healthy work-life. It aids the reduction of stress and promotes health and general well-being which is crucial to have a sustainable career.

7. Cultural competence

Cultural competence is also one of the best skills for social workers. It is required for social workers to be respectful and responsive to cultural beliefs and practices to adequately work with clients from a wide range of backgrounds. A social worker must be cognizant and respectful of clients’ cultural backgrounds. Possessing a non-judgmental attitude and an appreciation for diversity and the value of individual differences in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, age, or disability enables social workers to provide clients with what they need.

8. Patience

Social workers are faced with different circumstances and individuals in their line of profession. The patient is, therefore, an important virtue to acquire in order to be able to work through complicated cases as well as clients who require a longer time frame to make progress. This equips social workers in gaining insights into the client’s situation and avoids swift decision-making and frustration that could amount to costly errors and poor outcomes for the client.

9. Professional Commitment

Professional commitment is also one of the best skills for a social worker that is required to be successful in this field. A social worker must have a professional commitment to social work values and ethics, which aids the continuous development of professional competence that is important for actualizing the mission of social workers which includes; enhancing human well-being and helping to meet the basic human wants of all people, with specific attention to the needs and also empowering people who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty.

10. Advocacy

Advocacy is the means by which social workers employ to enhance social justice and empower clients and the community at large. Advocacy skills allow social workers to stand in and argue for their clients and to connect them with the required resources and opportunities, most importantly when clients are vulnerable or are unable to advocate for themselves.


Social work is a profession that comes in diverse shapes, sizes, and forms. Whatever the area you specialize in, social work is a very challenging job and has its ups and downs attached to the job. With that being said, if you have the aforementioned best skills for social workers, you should opt for a job as a social worker but if the reverse is the case and you have a passion for becoming a social worker, acquiring these skills would be the best decision to propel you into achieving success in your desired profession as a social worker.

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