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NASW Launches Two New Sections During Social Work Month

NASW is celebrating Social Work Month with the release of two new practice Sections for members: Administration/Supervision and Social Work and the Courts. Administration/Supervision focuses on leadership and advocacy consistent with the core values of social work, and Social Work and the Courts focuses on social work roles and responsibilities or expertise that intersects with the legal system.

The NASW Specialty Practice Sections are professional, practice-specific communities within NASW that keep you current on practice issues and trends affecting social work practice and service delivery and offer multiple opportunities to earn free CEs throughout the year. Learn more about the new Sections and join today for just $35 per Section per year. We are currently accepting only online applications for the two new Sections. You must be a current NASW member to join a Section.

Social Work Month Memorabilia Now Available

Celebrate the social work role in inspiring community action with this year’s Social Work Month memorabilia. Buttons, magnets, posters, mugs, key chains, and badges with the “Social Workers Inspire Community Action” theme are available for sale at


"How to Decline Facebook Friends Without Offense"
"Graduates Take Career Path Less Traveled"
"Standout Letters to Cover Your Bases"
"Matching Life Experience With New Careers"
"How to Jump-Start a Stalled Job Search"
"Overqualified? Don't Let That Stop You"

Career News

How to Decline Facebook Friends Without Offense

By ignoring a friendship request on Facebook from a colleague, you run the risk of having very real negative consequences in your career. Some people do not anticipate the ramifications of sharing their personal information with colleagues, but the Facebook interface itself leads people to become Facebook friends with colleagues, says IBM researcher Joan Morris DiMicco. "Once you've connected to one person you work with you get recommendations to connect to others that you work with," DiMicco says. However, there are ways to deal with an unwanted friend request if you would rather keep your work and private lives separate. One technique is to accept the invitation and then use Facebook's privacy settings to limit the information your new "friend" can access. To do this, you can add them to a "colleagues" list from the Friends menu and limit everyone's access on the colleagues list. Another method is to suggest to the colleague that you connect on LinkedIn, a social network for professional relationships, says workplace etiquette expert Barbara Pachter. "You can just go ahead and ask them to join you on LinkedIn and hope they forget they sent you a Facebook friend request," she says. It is important not to offend your colleague, because that person could end up being your boss in the future, Pachter notes.

From "How to Decline Facebook Friends Without Offense"
Reuters (02/27/10) Baum, Richard

Graduates Take Career Path Less Traveled

Many graduates with social work degrees are finding employment in nontraditional jobs. For example, Florence Chung, MSW, is the senior specialist of government and community partnerships in Target Corp.'s assets protection division. Chung says it is a high-pressure job that requires her to meet with key people in law enforcement agencies and nonprofit public safety organizations. She says the skills she developed becoming a social worker are a big part of her success. "Interpersonal and relationship-building skills are what I use every day on the job," Chung says. "Social workers are just really good at understanding human nature and being able to figure out the root causes as to why things are happening." Carrie Lew, director of professional development and alumni relations at the University of Southern California, and career consultant J. Juan Macias have been developing internships and coursework for social work students, as well as meeting with companies to prepare social work students for the workforce. Macias says that one of the biggest challenges is explaining to executives what social workers do and how their transferable skills can satisfy their organization's needs. Lew says social workers are "great at assessing problems and managing relationships within organizations." Lew and Macias say promising fields for social workers include budgeting and finance, as well as marketing and strategic planning.

From "Graduates Take Career Path Less Traveled"
USC News (03/09/10) Dory, Cadonna

Standout Letters to Cover Your Bases

Hiring managers say that applicants who take the time to craft an original cover letter have a better chance of distinguishing themselves in the job-seeking process. According to career experts, writing an introductory note for a résumé may be worth the effort for people changing fields or for someone with an employment gap. Cover letters should be completely error-free, different for every application, and tailored to both the employer and the targeted position. One way to customize a letter is to reference the employer's products or services. Applicants also should show how their background lines up with the requirements outlined in the job description. Cookie-cutter cover letters can be a major turn-off for employers. Job hunters also should be aware that many employers use tracking software to store and share information about applicants and will know if the exact same cover letter has been used to apply for another position.

From "Standout Letters to Cover Your Bases"
Wall Street Journal (03/09/10) P. D4; Needleman, Sarah E.

Matching Life Experience With New Careers

Older adults seeking a career change can apply their work and life experiences to various emerging jobs. Civic Ventures' Phyllis Segal notes that community colleges, online degree programs, and intensive workshops are expanding training and fast-track certification programs to help older workers refine their skills for these positions. Northeastern University economist Barry Bluestone projects that 3.5 million more health care and social services jobs will open up between 2008 and 2018, while education will add 800,000 positions. Demand is already high for health navigators, also known as patient advocates, who help guide patients through the fragmented and bewildering health care system. One patient advocate, former State Department economics officer Elisabeth Schuler Russell, found that her new career put her skills in language learning, negotiation, and cross-cultural sensitivity to good use. Mediation is another burgeoning area that is appealing to older workers in want of a new career. Indiana mediator Janet Mitchell trains social workers, ministers, therapists, and others in elder-care mediation to help settle family conflicts, and she notes that about 50 percent are baby boomers with older parents. Segal points out that additional training for such jobs can be hard to find, and notes that "we're just beginning to create the institutions and pathways people need in order to retrain."

From "Matching Life Experience With New Careers"
New York Times (03/03/10) Pope, Elizabeth
Web Link - May Require Free Registration | Return to Headlines

How to Jump-Start a Stalled Job Search

If you have been searching for a job for six months or longer it may be time to switch tactics. Consultant David E. Perry recommends that job searchers make a list of 20 companies they want to work for, and then ask friends, family members, or anyone they know for suggestions or tips that could help with the job search process. Once you have a list of 20 companies, you should get each company's full mailing address and phone number, and the name, title, and contact information of a decision-maker who can offer them a job. Perry suggests job seekers get the name of the president at a small company, and the name of a divisional vice president or senior manager at a larger company. Job seekers should talk to people who have left the company within the last year. They then should write an outstanding résumé by including all their work experience, their top achievements that saved the company time or money, and backing up those claims with testimonials from former employers. If possible, seekers should use recognizable company logos in their résumé.

From "How to Jump-Start a Stalled Job Search"
Bottom Line (02/01/10) Vol. 31, No. 3, P. 7; Perry, David E.
Web Link - Publication Homepage: Link to Full Text Unavailable | Return to Headlines

Overqualified? Don't Let That Stop You

When applying for a job you feel overqualified for, make sure to create a résumé that emphasizes skills rather than a chronological résumé, and illustrate how those skills could be an asset to a potential employer. "It's important for older job seekers to really market themselves, to demonstrate that they are the right fit for the employer," says AARP's Deborah Russell. Older workers also can highlight their smaller turnover risk. According to a recent AARP report, the median job tenure for workers aged 55 to 64 is about 3.3 times that of workers between the ages of 25 and 34. When networking, be sure to be enthusiastic about job opportunities, especially if you feel overqualified. "They need to make it clear to their network that they are not only willing to take a step down, but for some compelling reason they are excited about this new opportunity," says Manpower's Melanie Holmes. Experts say that one way to be excited about a new job that is a few rungs down the career ladder is to enter a field in which you are genuinely interested.

From "Overqualified? Don't Let That Stop You"
MarketWatch (03/05/10) Mantell, Ruth

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March 2010