senior social work roles, social work career enhancement

Maintaining positive relationships

By Billy Holland

When it comes to senior-level social work jobs, it’s important that you spend time fostering and maintaining positive relationships with those that you’ve previously worked with. This is because your personal reputation can be just as vital as the skills listed on your CV.

Our executive recruitment team tell us about why we should focus on building positive relationships throughout our social work careers, and how we can use networking opportunities to our advantage.

Billy Holland, Executive Search Consultant, Sanctuary Executive says:

“Social work is an extremely small world, particularly when it comes to executive-level recruitment. Many of the hiring managers we work with will have close relationships with those in similar roles at other local authorities. When job opportunities arise, they will invariably talk to each other and make recommendations of who would be a good fit."

For senior managerial job roles (particularly interim social work positions), reputation and recommendations are carefully listened to. A phone call from a hiring manager to a colleague in a neighbouring borough can be enough to make (or break) a job opportunity, so it’s important to ensure that you are maintaining positive relationships with those you have worked with.

John Rudland, Executive Search Consultant, Sanctuary Executive adds:

“The stakes involved in senior recruitment are incredibly high. The local authority will want to know that you have the ability to hit the ground running and make a success of the job.

Recommendations may not just come from your official listed referees. If a hiring manager knows someone personally that you’ve worked with, they could ask about you informally. It’s why we always advise candidates to ensure they leave job roles on good terms, stay in contact with previous colleagues and work hard to build a positive reputation.”

How networking can enhance your reputation

You will have worked alongside a colleague that you think is absolutely fantastic. Perhaps they made a tangible difference to one particular aspect of service; maybe they’ve worked alongside you to explore more creative ways of working. Whatever the case, we’re sure that you’ll remember that individual long after you’ve parted ways professionally.

If a job role becomes available that matches that person’s expertise, we’re sure you’ll immediately make a personal recommendation.
In many senior social work job roles, who you know can definitely have a positive impact upon your career. You want people you’ve worked with to remember you and to feel confident in making personal endorsements for you and your skills.

A top tip for improving your personal reputation is to ensure that you remain in touch with previous colleagues. Making use of sites such as LinkedIn will allow you to remain professionally connected even after you’ve moved into new job roles. You can demonstrate your continued professional development and maintain relationships with those who are also progressing their careers at a similar level.

We also recommend attending events such as the NCAS, ADASS and ADCS conferences. Meeting people in person can be a great way to build your network of contacts and ensure that peers and prospective managers walk away with a positive impression of you.

If you’re ready for your next executive-level social work job, then simply upload your CV .