Getting that promotion
By Gemma Raw
Regardless of how long you’ve spent practicing as a social worker, everyone dreams of being recognised for their efforts and celebrating a well-deserved promotion. You may be a newly qualified social worker with strong ambitions to eventually become a Director of Service. Or you may be looking to secure your first role as a Child Protection Chair. Whatever your dream is, we’re here to help you take those vital steps on the career ladder. Not only can we help advise you on the best social work job roles to help you on your way, but we can offer our support and guidance to encourage you to apply for that next promotion. We believe that it’s important for all our candidates to push themselves to dream big. Promotions aren’t just about rewarding hard work and dedication. They are about recognising that someone has the capability, the drive and the passion to take on more responsibility and improve outcomes for both children and adults.
Confidence is key to success
It may sound like a cliché, but you’ll find that those who rise the ranks are often the most confident colleagues. It’s not about arrogance or ego, it’s about putting yourself into a position where you are noticed for your ability to handle more tasks.
In recruitment, there is a statistic which states:
“Men apply for a job when they have 60% of the listed job attributes, whilst women wait until they have 100%”
This stat was uncovered by Hewlett Packard following the publication of an internal report, and it’s a stat which has been repeatedly published over the years to explain why there are so many more men than women in senior roles. In an article for the Harvard Business Review, author Tara Sophia Mohr explored this further and discovered that many 41% of women and 46% of men “didn’t see the hiring process as one where advocacy, relationships, or a creative approach to framing one’s expertise could overcome not having the skills and experiences outlined in the job qualifications.”
Although the article was written in 2014, it’s still as relevant today as it ever was.
In a female-dominated profession such as social work, it’s increasingly important that we challenge ourselves if we wish to see an increase in female and BAME leadership positions. We need to understand that job descriptions are looking for the most capable person for the role, not necessarily the person with the most qualifications.
It’s also important to remember that if you don’t succeed this time, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Every job application and interview should be considered a learning experience. With each opportunity you can learn more about yourself which will place you in good standing as you move ahead.
Last year, we spoke with practitioner Nasheen Singh from Westminster Borough Council as part of an article in Social Work News magazine. Nasheen told us that no one should be put off from applying for senior positions. Her advice was to:
“Think about setting a career plan, set your goals and start downloading job descriptions for senior positions and look at what is required and have a go at applying.”
This is wise advice and it’s something we regularly come back to. It’s important that you believe in yourself and push yourself to apply for those senior roles. Promotions and career advancements are open to everybody; you simply need to show that you have the desire and the capability to cope with new tasks and greater responsibility.
Top Tip! Why not use supervision sessions to talk to your line manager about where you see your career going and ask them to help you gain the skills you need to move ahead.
Ask your mentor to hold you accountable
If you read our previous blog article about how mentoring can boost your career, then you’ll know how it can help you to take the next steps. A great mentor isn’t just there to help you improve your practice. Your mentor should be able to give you the confidence to apply for newer, more challenging roles, and hold you accountable to your dreams.
You may say that you dream of managing a team, or even running the department, but are you doing anything to make it happen? Your mentor will regularly check in with you and will ask you that specific question. Knowing that you need to have an answer may spur you on to apply for job roles that you may have felt were out of reach.
Make the most of your opportunities
We know that you’re busy – after all, with so many pressures facing social work teams, it’s impossible to keep on top of your current caseloads. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the opportunities which present themselves to you. If you’re working in a team which has a high staff turnover, then why not see if you can uncover some creative ways of working which would increase stability and boost team morale. Not only will this show you in a positive light to your senior managers who would appreciate your efforts, but it could improve your working environment. Alternatively, if you’ve benefited from some recent training, make sure that you’ve demonstrated to your colleagues how it’s positively impacted upon your practice. Sharing knowledge and information with peers is a key part of your CPD portfolio and will show that you’re a team player.
Top Tip! You don’t just have to share your knowledge with your co-workers, you could even raise your profile via Social Work News magazine. We’re always looking for contributors to share their thoughts and insights into topical matters. You never know, featuring in the magazine as a thought-leader or columnist could inspire someone to contact you directly.
If you’d like some personal advice on how you can improve your career prospects then please get in touch with one of our consultants. We can not only help you adjust your CV, but we can suggest the right social work job roles which will help you get to where you want to go.