Asperger's Job Search Help

by Ellie Williams

People with Asperger’s Syndrome sometimes search for months or years before landing a job, but not because they lack talent or experience. Instead, they often have difficulty interacting with others and may have from memory problems or have trouble staying organized or meeting deadlines. Finding a position, then, often depends on their ability to work around these challenges and play up their strengths.

Enhance Your Interviewing Skills

For many people with Asperger’s, the interview is the biggest stumbling block to finding a job. They might be highly skilled in creating a succinct resume and engaging cover letter, but often struggle with social interactions. For example, they might feel uncomfortable making eye contact or have difficulty reading nonverbal cues. No matter how good they sound on paper, they won’t make a good impression if they can’t keep a conversation going or if they come across as nervous or shy. Recruit a friend, family member or career coach to conduct a mock interview so you can practice speaking with employers one-on-one.

Focus on Skills and Results

Draw an employer’s attention away from your ability to make small talk and onto the positive contributions you’ll make to the company. On your resume, instead of simply listing job duties, describe your accomplishments and the impact your work had on the organization. For the interview, prepare a few anecdotes that illustrate how you saved your previous employer time or money, or how you solved a problem or participated in a team effort. In addition, create a portfolio to showcase work samples, performance reviews, recommendation letters and other supporting materials. This information can speak for you if have trouble articulating your qualifications to the interviewer.

Reach Out to Others

Networking and leveraging personal connections can greatly increase the chances of securing employment for any job seeker. For someone with Asperger’s, however, it can sometimes open previously closed employment doors. Ask for introductions and recommendations from people who can vouch for you. Your social difficulties or other challenges might not matter as much to employers if someone they trust endorses you. If you’re uncomfortable with the thought of networking in person, create online profiles on social networking sites or post your resume on career sites. Seek opportunities to connect with employers and fellow professionals without the pressure of getting to know them in person.

Enlist Job Search Assistance

You have plenty of places to turn if you want help searching for work. Some government offices, social service organizations and staffing agencies specialize in helping people with Asperger’s find employment. Asperger’s is officially considered a disability, which means job seekers can often receive assistance from groups such as Vocational Rehabilitation agencies. To qualify, applicants must prove they have a disability that hinders their ability to work, and that assistance from the organization would address this problem.

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