8 Signs You Were Meant to Work in the Human Services Field
By Kristina Ericksen on 03/07/2018
It comes as no surprise that you’re interested in the human services field. After all, not many professionals get the satisfaction of creating such a positive impact through their work each day. Human services is about meeting people’s needs, through preventing and remedying problems and promoting overall quality of life for the people they work with—and that’s a mission you can get behind.
Human services is a broad, interdisciplinary field. Professionals work everywhere from group homes and halfway houses to mental health centers and family service agencies. Some work in programs dedicated to help individuals overcome drug abuse, domestic violence or alcoholism. Some work with special populations, such as children or aging adults.
No matter who they help or where they work, all human services professionals devote their days to help people who need support—and that’s exactly what makes this field appealing.
Do you think you have what it takes to join the field? You may be a natural fit! Keep reading to learn more about human services and see if these signs resonate with you.
8 Signs you’re a natural fit for the human services field
1. You’re always putting others before yourself
While the specifics of the job may vary in human services, one thing remains consistent across the board—all human services professionals use compassion to help others overcome their personal challenges.
Maybe you have a cause or charity that’s close to your heart. Maybe you’re that person who always thinks of others. Whatever the case, you use your superpower of compassion to empathize with others and better understand their points of view.
Professionals in human services tap into their compassion when assisting others. It’s what internally drives them to do what they do. Compassion helps human services professionals understand the experiences of their clients. It allows them to put themselves in the shoes of others and come to a more enlightened solution.
2. You’re great with people one-on-one
You don’t have to captivate big audiences to be a great communicator. In the human services field, it’s more advantageous to be great with people on a one-on-one basis.
If you can connect with people and build rapport quickly, your strong interpersonal skills will help you break down walls with future clients. And because professionals in human services serve diverse populations, your skills will help you to overcome any potential barriers you may face.
“Interpersonal communication skills, including active listening skills, emotional intelligence, effective conflict resolution and empathy will serve a person well in the human services field,” says Rasmussen University Human Services instructor Jennifer Mckinstry-Servais.
She points out that a human services professional would greatly benefit from strong interpersonal relationship-building abilities, as well as multicultural competencies and oral and written communication skills.
3. You’re a helper at heart
Just like teaching, nursing and counseling, human services is a helping profession. If you find that helping others comes naturally to you, that’s a great sign you’re a fit for the field.
Maybe you’re the one your coworkers turn to with questions. Maybe you hold the door open for neighbors with armfuls of groceries. Or maybe you just enjoy going out of your way to assist others in whatever way you can—big or small. No matter the case, if you’re a natural helper, then you’ll find yourself well suited for the human services field.
4. People always come to you to talk
When someone wants a person to bounce ideas off of, or they just need somebody to talk to about their problems, you’re the one they go to. Your amazing listening skills make you receptive and open to others when they want to talk. You have a way of making people feel at ease and comfortable opening up.
5. You have a creative flair
You don’t have to be an up-and-coming Picasso to be creative. Maybe you utilize your creativity in the kitchen when planning dinner for the family. Maybe you enjoy a creative activity, like crafting or writing. No matter how you choose to express it, you know you have an arsenal of creativity at hand.
Creativity will be an asset in the human services field as you work to solve the problems of the clients you work with. You’ll need to navigate through complex procedures and regulations, and your creativity will allow you to come to a solution that not everyone may be able to realize.
“So much of what we do is navigating red tape, and it takes a professional who can think outside the box to get certain things done, whether in management or in direct client care,” says Cortland Mathers-Suter, MSW and CEO of Aspen Ridge Recovery, an addiction and mental health treatment organization. “Insurance companies, regulatory agencies, accreditation bureaus, interagency and intra-agency red tape abounds in our field, and without the ability to identify how the needs of all parties can be met—especially the client’s—people can find themselves swimming upstream constantly.”
6. You’d turn in a lost wallet in a heartbeat
It’s not about the money—it’s about doing what’s right. And someone like you wouldn’t hesitate to do the right thing every single time. Your strong sense of what’s right and wrong will serve as an internal compass as you navigate tricky situations that are not always black and white.
Ethics are an essential element and central to the decision-making process in human services. As you make careful choices for your clients, you’ll always need to choose what is ultimately best for them.
7. You have unparalleled patience
Good things take time, and you know this as well as anyone. Whether you’ve mastered the art of patience by raising a family or you’re just naturally more willing to wait for things, this skill will serve you well in human services. Patience is a skill that is greatly needed to succeed in this field as not every client will be easy to work with.
“Patience is needed for the clients that require more attention or have specific needs. It can be difficult at times, so patience is your friend,” explains Eddie Chu, owner of Qualicare Ottawa.
8. You want to be proud of your work
Maybe you feel uninspired by your current job, or feel unmotivated to simply help your company profit. You want to do something with your life’s work. You want to feel proud of what you’ve done. You want to feel like you made a tangible difference for people.
If you feel a calling to devote your career to something that will truly make the world better, you may be meant for the human services field. Professionals in human services wake up each day knowing they make a positive impact on their clients and communities. That’s not something many people can say that about their career.
Is a human services career in your future?
Now that you’ve listened to what the experts have to say and learned more about this rewarding career, do these “signs” point you towards the human services field? Is this what you’re meant for—to make a difference in the lives of others?
If you’re guided by your compassion, why not make a career of it? Help your clients overcome personal challenges and live their best quality of life with a career in human services.
If you’re ready to take the next step, check out the Rasmussen University Human Services degree page to learn more about what it takes to get started in this fulfilling career.