Secrets to Landing the Job You Love
The job hunt and especially the interview can be challenging for anyone, especially so if you are on the autism spectrum. You may be a smart, experienced candidate with great work ethics, but how are you supposed to get that across to the interviewer?
There can be several issues that can negatively impact a boss’ impression of a person on the autism spectrum during job interviews:
- not looking others in the eye
- not appearing to be serious and engaged in the position
- not communicating to the employer your true capabilities
Let’s take a look at some tips to help you land that job you really want. Some of these you may know and some may be “outside of the box”.
Asperger’s Job Success: Using the Internet
Many (but not all) jobs out there are posted on the Internet. It’s still a good idea to flip thru the daily paper and use people connections to look for a job but make sure to take advantage of the internet!
Use the Internet to make an initial list of jobs that look good to you, and then start calling or filling out applications. Even on the Internet you’ll likely have to send out a resume (even if it is a PDF or MS Word file.) But this can save time and make the whole process a lot easier.
Make sure you look at www.Craigslist.org which is a free listing and lists job opportunities by city. But remember the resume is very important.
Asperger’s Job Success: Telecommuting Opportunities
Telecommuting (working at home on a computer connected to a business network) offers advantages compared to a traditional office job. The most obvious one for adults on the autism spectrum, (high functioning autism/Asperger’s Syndrome) is that body language, and reading other people’s non-verbal language is rarely an issue.
Many telecommuting jobs even let you interview over the telephone, which allows your best traits to come out. No need to worry about looking the interviewer in the eye, fidgeting, or where to put your hands.
Writing jobs, graphic design, computer programming… these are just some examples of jobs that can allow for telecommuting.
You don’t need to limit yourself with local jobs when telecommuting is an option. You can search nationwide.
Some other advantages of telecommuting are not having to deal with office politics and being in an environment where you don’t have to worry about sensory issues.
Elance.com is a great website which lists many telecommuting jobs in writing, computer programming, website work, and graphics design (all great jobs for adults on the autism spectrum.) Another useful website is www.freelancer.com.
Asperger’s Job Success: Take Advantage of Every Opportunity
A job recruiter (or “head hunter”) can help with the challenge of the interview process. They can talk directly with the hiring company on your behalf. They can explain or overcome issues that the company may have with you in order to get you hired. Most recruiters make a commission if you are hired.
If your local employment center offers networking classes or events, then try them out. Many times the shortcut to getting the job is knowing the right people!
*Getting access to a job + interview preparation course either on the computer or in person, is critical. Then practice, practice, practice.*
There may be some government assistance offered to those with a formal diagnosis of autism so ask at your local employment office.
Leave no stone unturned in your effort to find a job and successfully apply for it.
Asperger’s Job Success: Practice, Practice, Practice
It goes without saying that the interview is the most important part of this process.
Find someone who will practice interviewing with you. Practice over and over again. Look up “common interview questions” on the Internet.
Common questions include those about your strengths and weaknesses, particular instances of times when you delivered superior performance or used problem solving skills to solve a unique and difficult problem in your previous job.
When asked about your weaknesses, minimize them. Say something like “Some people say I take my work too seriously.” The idea is don’t share weaknesses that will show you in a bad light, but say something that could be seen as a weakness.
Asperger’s Job Success: Video Record Your Practice Interviews
Adults on the autism spectrum are often very visual. If you can see yourself as you practice interview, you can see ways to improve.
If you have a video camera, or if your phone takes videos, have a friend or family member video record you while you practice your interview.
While reviewing the video afterwards you may notice some interesting things. You may see that you are fidgeting or picking at your nose! Things that you did not realize as you practiced!
Asperger’s Job Success: Don’t Worry Too Much!
People on the autism spectrum often have high anxiety levels and worry a lot. You may feel that there is so much to worry about… Did I do this right? Could I have done this better? Did I say the wrong thing? And so forth.
Find some ways to let off steam after an interview. Do something you enjoy. Speak with friends and family, people who can listen to you and give you support during this process. Remember, it’s not easy for anyone.
Don’t isolate yourself… you don’t need to take this on all alone, reach out for help.
Other Tips for Asperger’s Job Success
Research the company ahead of time so you can appear knowledgeable about what they do.
Look the interviewer in the eye if possible, or look at the tip of his or her nose if looking the person in the eye is uncomfortable. Most folks on the autism spectrum have a nearly impossible time looking someone in the eye. But this is very important. At least look at the tip of the interviewer’s nose… they will never know the difference.
Dress appropriately. For men it is a good idea to wear a shirt and tie with slacks or some other nice pants. Sometimes a full suit might be necessary.
Practice being short and to the point, and not going on for too long when you speak.
On your resume, don’t feel compelled to put every miscellaneous job you have ever had (unless you haven’t had much job experience.) Only put the most relevant things, and only put jobs where you are fairly certain you would get a good reference.
There is a job out there that is a match for your talents, interests and skills. You just have to be patient and persistent, and meanwhile keep practicing those interview skills!
Thanks, Craig Kendall
NEXT STEPS to Job Success
I have personally developed a full training course to help those with Asperger’s Syndrome and autism. “How to Get and Keep the Job You Love.” It will be offered in the near future. Would you like to be notified when the course will start? If so click the link below: