As Social Work Month comes to an end, I’d like to share my journey as a Corporate Social Worker. Often I’m asked how I transitioned from traditional social work jobs to a more non-traditional path. I’ve always been interested in the macro approach to social work – working with organizations, groups, and policy. My concentration in grad school was macro social work with a specialization in nonprofit leadership.
After working at a few nonprofits, I realized I wanted something different for my career. Then, over a decade ago, I had the opportunity to transition to the corporate world and work at IBM. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into, but it is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career. I learned A LOT! People are people and we all bring our issues to work with us! I spent the bulk of my tenure in Human Resources and Employee Engagement positions and have found a wonderful alignment with what I learned as a social worker. Corporations need social workers too.
Even in the corporate world, from day one, I considered myself a social worker. Social workers are experts in people, systems, relationships, collaboration, human behavior, facilitation, communication… and I could go on. Now I market myself as a Corporate Social Worker and tell companies why they need to hire us!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What kind of jobs should I look for in the corporate world?
A. Many HR jobs are an easy transition for social workers. I recommend looking at roles in Employee Experience, Employee Engagement, Leadership Development, Change Management, Internal Communications, and Diversity & Inclusion.
Q. How to do I update my resume to highlight skills that matter to corporate recruiters?
A. Let your resume reflect how your experience provided opportunities to deal with difficult people situations. Those counseling skills might be well suited for HR Business Partner and Employee Relations types of jobs. Highlight how you are an expert in “soft skills” and how you have coached people in developing those skills.
Q. What resources do you recommend to help me prepare for the corporate world?
A. I tell everyone who will listen about Brené Brown. She is a social work rockstar bringing social work to corporations. And the perfect ice breaker in interviews! Read her latest book, Dare to Lead, for inspiration and understanding about how social workers can make a difference in the corporate world.
P.S. I was interviewed for this article last year and have recently been contacted by a couple of social workers wondering how they may transition to a nontraditional path.