If you enjoy helping people and you want to dedicate your life to the well being of others, a community services career may be ideal for you. From working with people who have a disability to those who are struggling with an addiction or suffering from mental health issues, there is so much you can do to help!
As in any profession, being a Social Worker requires a combination of innate and learned skills. So, compare yourself against these ten personality traits every Community Services worker should have:
The main characteristic all Social Workers need to have is comprehension. Being comprehensive and able to emphasize with others is an emotional process by which we understand other peoples' situations and feelings. This intellectual connection is the first step towards helping them solve their problems.
As a Social Worker, you are going to go through many difficult situations, so being a perseverant and patient person is critical. Problems don't get solved overnight and quite often you will need to deal with patients going through a state of crisis. You will need to be able to arm yourself with patience and see every situation with perspective.
3. Good listener
You will also have to be a good listener and observe with skill. Some patients will want to state their needs and problems, but others may find it very difficult to express their feelings. In any case, you should pay attention not only to their verbal information but also observe what they communicate through body language.
To be able to transmit positive feelings and help others, first, you need to be optimistic yourself. Some of the best Social Workers are generally cheerful people that always have a smile on their face, which can help brighten other people’s day.
5. Critical and emotional thinker
Supporting people requires both critical and emotional thinking. People with high levels of emotional intelligence make good Social Workers because just like empathy, great intuition is necessary daily. Critical thinking is essential to see things clearly and come up with the right solutions.
6. Emotionally strong
Social work requires an emotionally strong personality. You can't let your patients' problems put you down. At the end of the day, you should be able to leave all those issues at work and go back home strong enough to deal with your own life's challenges.
Professionalism is required in most careers and it is especially important for a Community Services Worker. On one hand, you will need to provide customers with a personal treatment. But on the other hand, you must be very careful to avoid oversharing or building too strong a connection with people, as this could be unprofessional and unsafe.
Social work is not a 9 to 5, Monday to Friday type of job. Instead, it usually involves shift work, which may require working in the evenings, nights and, weekends. If you opt for this career, you will need to be flexible and ready to work irregular hours.
Aspiring Community Service workers should be organised people. In this field, you will not only work with many clients at the same time, but you will also have to keep up with some administration work. This may include billing, reporting to your managers, phone calls, dealing with work in different locations and networking with service providers, among others.
10. Good communicator
As a Social Worker, you must communicate with many different people. From clients and relatives to service providers and co-workers. You will need to adapt your communication style to fit each person and situation. This is something you will learn and develop with practice.
Being a Community Service worker can be a very rewarding job. If you have these personality traits and think this fulfilling career is right for you, you can help to develop your abilities even further by studying one of Open Colleges' Community Services courses online. These will help you to build up your skills in various areas so you can start helping others.