Networking Essentials for Social Workers
By Elizabeth Wurtzel, Social Media Intern
“Position yourself as a center of influence – the one who knows the movers and shakers. People will respond to that, and you’ll soon become what you project.” – Bob Burg
Social networking dominates the professional world through Facebook, LinkedIn, and many other less popular platforms. There are 500 million active users on Facebook alone, and according to TIME magazine LinkedIn reached 200 million registered users, as of January 2013. The social work profession is not immune to changes in the social networking revolution and must be cautious yet advantageous in using social media. However, social media is not the only way to stay connected.
Other potential groups that are beneficial to social workers include NASWNC.org, Practice Area networks related to your specific field, and individual groups linked to the geographic region of North Carolina you’re in like NASW-NC’s local Program Units. Besides the available Practice Area Networks, NASW-NC has a plethora of information and opportunities posted through the Associations’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to help social workers stay aware and network with other professionals. Additionally, NASW-NC has amazing opportunities to network by joining a committee, volunteering or sponsoring an exhibit at a conference. All networking information and ways to be involved at NASW-NC are posted online at www.naswnc.org.
Remember that networking creates an opportunity to meet new people, gives exposure to the work you do, establishes relationships as a future resource, and is a constant source of learning. It is not what you know, but who you know that makes the difference.
One social worker blogs about her experience in hiring a social worker.
“I posted a few weeks ago on a social work sorority LinkedIn group that we are hiring at my agency. I rarely keep in touch with any of these women anymore. Having graduated with my BA in 1998, I also do not actually know any of the younger alumnae except through LinkedIn. One of the alumnae responded to my listing, that her friend lost her job due to a layoff this winter, was looking, and would I be willing to hand in her resume? After reviewing the woman’s resume and seeing she had the experience for the position, I did, and my boss ended up LOVING this person and basically hired her on the spot. As a social worker, I feel like networking is one of the best ways to find new employment in our field. I also think that if we have the opportunity to help someone out that would like a new job, we should.” Posted by blogger Morning Cuppa Coffee
Here are just a few more benefits of networking on social media and within groups:
1) Meet other professional social workers to relate to the work you’re doing.
2) Learn about opportunities during the transition from your degree program into the profession as well as opportunities for continuing education and maintaining licensure.
3) Get involved in leadership and become the face of the profession.
4) Advocate for the needs of social workers in your state and bring awareness to the social work profession.
All the benefits of networking clearly outweigh any potential cons. Monopolize on the benefits of networking and put yourself as the center of influence and it will assist your career and multiply you potential to be a successful social worker.
Find Social Work Month events in North Carolina here.