Five Cross-Cutting Social Work Skills That Put You Ahead

Students studying and learning new social work skillsTransferrable Social Work Skills

Earning your MSW prepares you with a set of in-demand abilities and social work skills that nearly every organization needs, and puts you in an exclusive pool of candidates, opening a world of career possibilities. With these adaptable skills, you’re more than hirable – you’re invaluable.

  • Government relations personnel are hired for their policy knowledge and ability to make things happen.
  • HR professionals thrive because of their knack for anticipating needs and understanding human motivation.
  • Researchers bring to the table their affinity for data and analysis.
  • FEMA seeks employees who can stay calm under pressure.
  • Journalists excel with their ability to paint a vivid narrative.

With an MSW, you have a royal flush.

Team management

No matter the organization, company, or mission, when you bring in a hodgepodge of individuals and personalities to work together, an empathetic and intuitive leader is needed to manage their efficiency. Your grasp on human behavior, as well as your experience and comfort working with diverse communities, will create great value in bringing clarity and understanding to team dynamics.

There’s no room for conflict aversion here. Start and facilitate difficult conversations and use your communication abilities to keep everyone on the same page. Your team will be thankful—and more productive, sane, understanding, and effective.

Policy and program development

Social workers can do great things on the ground, in communities, and helping real people in need. But in order to change the systems that created such need, they must influence policy as well. Any experience you have advocating for public or social causes could be vital to an organization seeking to effect legislative change with a side of compassion.

Your direct work serving the underserved, uniquely qualifies you to see where policy breaks down, expose need and misinformation, and offer solutions. You can do this by writing op-eds, participating in community (and demonstration) organizing, or advocating in a professional capacity. For nearly every social cause, there is an organization or association fighting for recognition and legislation. Choose a policy you’ve seen fail firsthand, and use your knowledge to implement a program that will help the fight.

Crisis management and planning

Social workers have always been on the front lines of disaster, responding just as quickly as firefighters and EMTs to ring the alarm, organize relief, and even save lives. But even when lives aren’t on the line, crisis management is a valuable skill that too many organizations lack.

Organizational crisis can take many forms, from financial to technological. Your calmness, effective communication, and experience in far graver situations could provide important relief and strategic reconstruction. As your team navigates challenges, your social work instincts may kick in to plan, delegate, and communicate – early and often. You may even have the resources to predict or identify a crisis before it ensues, and prepare your team on how to deal with it.


If there’s one thing no social work semester is complete without, it’s research. After all, much of social work is a science, and progress – not just in our field, but for society – hinges on formulating theories, and then proving or disproving them.

Before a company rolls out a new product, it conducts research to determine its need, who needs it, and how best to serve that need. And you’re versed not only in research design, but also research implementation and interpretation—both vital to turning data into insight into solutions. Use your comfort with all stages of research to help companies make sense of their customer base and the role they play in the marketplace.


Appealing to the human element of things is a surefire way to get attention these days. Whether it’s a social media campaign or fundraising efforts, when we hear a story that grips us, it’s hard not to act. How does an advocacy group convey the need to end hunger? How does a nonprofit make a case for donation? How does a journalist convey little-known crises affecting entire communities? They tell stories.

Why are you a good storyteller? Because it’s the stories you live for. The stories are why you pursued an MSW. Tap into your instinct to understand problems from a human perspective and tell those real stories in a compelling way that will inspire people to act. And it’s not just nonprofits that need you. Corporations have a responsibility to use their power for good, and with your help, they can.

Choosing to earn your MSW prepares you to be included in an exclusive pool of candidates, opening a world of career possibilities. With these adaptable skills and social work abilities, you will be a valuable asset to any organization.

Your journey awaits!

If you are interested in pursuing your Master’s in Social Work, or even if you’re simply interested in discussing the program, please reach out to an Enrollment Counselor at (207) 221-4143 or via email at You can also learn more about earning your MSW online by reading our program brochure:

Download the Brochure

Or, if you’re ready to apply, fill out an online application now at We look forward to hearing from you!

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