Q: How do I find a job?
To be honest, starting a job is not always as easy as it sounds. When my clients with HFA/Asperger’s are trying to start a job it is very important that we go about it the right way, which may take longer, but ensures stability in the workplace. In older posts I have discussed work assessments, and I still believe they are a wonderful tool for learning what environments you will do best in. I highly recommend using work assessments. The same outcome could be achieved through volunteering as well.
If work assessments can’t be completed, then here is what I suggest:
- Make a list of places you would like to work. Make a detailed list of each place you are interested in working and make a list of why you are interested. If writing is something you struggle with then having someone you can talk to about it would also work well.
- Investigate these places by reading more about them or even visiting the location. This is something that can be done during a work assessment or could also be achieved by visiting the establishment, and assessing the environment. It would be good for a trusted job provider, family member, or friend to go as well so that they can discuss with you the different pros/cons of that particular site.
- Search for job openings once you’ve decided where you are interested in working you should. Find jobs that match your interest, skills, and abilities.
- The next step is to build a resume/cover letter that supports your skills that a particular establishment is looking for. When you are looking at job descriptions it is important to look for the KSA’s specific to each employer. The KSA’s are the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities the employer is looking for in a potential employer. Knowing these key skills can set your resume/cover letter apart.
- After you’ve found the opening, and built a solid resume and or cover letter it is time to apply! Filling out applications can be tricky, because they can be timed. You need to stay aware of the time you are taking to fill out an application. Also, there is usually some type of assessment that follows the application, usually only 30 minutes or less. Be prepared for this, and if needed, have someone with you that can help. Some of the questions can be tricky, and what seems like the perfect answer is not always right!
- Follow up! This is key, and is often overlooked. The standard suggestion I give my clients is wait 24-48 hours and call/email the hiring manager to check on the status of your application. Numerous job interviews have been offered when a follow up is done.
- If the follow up leads to an interview, then practice, practice, practice! There are numerous free websites that can help with standard interview questions as well as behavioral interview questions.
- Decide whether or not you want to disclose your disability. This is a PERSONAL decision. I have written about disclosing in a previous post, and more information can be found there.
- During the interview arrive 10 minutes early, and try to remain as calm as possible. Remember the interviewer is sometimes nervous as well. SELL YOURSELF. No one knows you better than you!! Don’t forget to thank the interviewer for their time.
- Follow up. Send an email or handwritten card to thank the interviewer for their time. If you are still interested in the job, reiterate that. If you aren’t, still thank them.
These are the most used tips that I send out for how to start/secure a job. If there is more information that you would like please write me so that I can help address those needs.
Maggie earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal and Fine Arts with a Major in Communication/Public Relations and a Minor in Non Profit Management from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has worked for Compass Resource Group since 2011. She assists adults in Texas with disabilities in achieving their employment goals by providing training, job placement assistance, environmental work assessments, social skills training, and job coaching. She has been instrumental in shaping the services at Compass Resource Group to meet the needs of young adults on the Autism Spectrum who are transitioning from high school. She is a member of the DARS Statewide Developmental Disorders Team