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What are skills needed to work in Human Services?

#human-resources #social-work #social-services

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Krista’s Answer

Hi Emily! Working in Human Resources is one of the best fields that connect you with all areas of an organization. Many skills are important but if I were to say my recommended top 3 skills to have, they would be the following:

* Ability to build relationships: In HR, it is important that you build relationships within the organization because you support all the different functions. And in most cases, you are the link that bridges departments together.

* Communication skills: You will be communicating with employees at all levels and in all environments, so having strong communications skills is key. I would recommend focusing on writing effective emails or memos as well as working on public speaking, for those occasions that you may have to present to a group.

* HR competency: People in your organization will look to you as the expert of your field. When you begin working in HR you want to ensure you understand the basics, think of it like an HR 101. From hiring, onboarding, employee wellbeing, documentation, employment laws, etc. to name a few.

Good luck in your HR journey! I would also recommend looking at great resources available within HR networking groups.

Krista recommends the following next steps:

Look into organizations that offer HR resources. An example is SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management)
Look into opportunities to strengthen your public speaking such as through Toastmasters.
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Natalie’s Answer

Hi Emily (and anyone else who may be reading!) -

Folks have already given some great advice here, so I won't repeat - just adding in a few I find have been helpful for myself:

1. High attention to detail - this is especially important if you're just starting out in the field; since the work you're doing may require you to juggle a wide variety of timely items that require accurate execution to ensure the success of downstream teams, demonstrating organization, reliability, and accuracy will go a long way in building your brand as an HR professional.

2. Solution-oriented thinking - chances are, you'll get thrown into some interesting situations in HR, so leveraging your creativity to find the best solution for the employees you support will be key - it will also help you build strong partnerships with your closest collaborators. Nothing helps bond like solving a problem together!

Good luck :)
- Natalie
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Highland Valley’s Answer

Hi Emily,
To work in human services, I highly recommend you get one of these certifications:
LSW - licensed social worker
LCSW - licensed clinical social worker
LICSW - Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
The LCSW designation means you are certified for the social work profession and can assume non-clinical roles, or work in clinical roles that are supervised by a LICSW social worker. The LICSW credential is required for those who want to practice privately in a clinical setting.

You should google the jobs these credentials qualify you for and do lots of informational interviewing of people currently in these jobs. Ask them what skills are needed. You need to be computer savvy, a people person, be patient, empathetic and calm. You need to commit to a lifetime of continuous learning as human service programs change all the time. Working for a human service organization is a much kinder atmosphere than working for a for-profit company or agency. There are lots out there. You will not get rich, but you can make a decent living. Enter this field if you are a natural helper and nurturer. Enter this field if you love people. You need to be a good writer and a great communicator. It is one of the most rewarding fields you can choose.
Good luck!
Cathy
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Heather’s Answer

Human services is a great field with LOTS of options of different kinds.

You could work for the government or lots of different types of nonprofit and community organizations. You could work in a city or small community, or do national or international work that takes you around the world. You could do research or direct service, working with the people you hope to help. There are really many ways you can explore human services...and some jobs will require an associates degree, most will require a bacehlor's degree, and some will require a masters degree...but you will have time to figure out the educational needs based on your particular interests.

You will need to be an effective communicator. The ability to listen and empathize is important. You would like be taking courses in psychology, communication, counseling as well as very specific courses in case management. If you are interested in working with a particular demographic (e.g., young children, teens and young adults, seniors, LGBTQ members, etc.), you will likely take courses to learn about the developmental path/needs of those groups.

Good luck!

Heather recommends the following next steps:

You might want to watch this short video about a "day in the life" of a social services job. https://youtu.be/E24m0WUJ-1M
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