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Does Having ADHD Make It Harder to Get a Job?

by Ellie Williams, studioD

If you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), you might have trouble concentrating and meeting deadlines. You might also have difficulties with time management and organization. These challenges can hinder your ability to find and keep a job, unless you identify your weak spots and learn how to work around them.

Finding the Right Job

Some job seekers with ADHD have trouble knowing what kind of jobs to pursue. They often find it difficult to concentrate on the mundane tasks associated with a job, prompting them to search for a more stimulating job. They might also have a wide range of interests, which can cause them to be easily distracted or make it difficult to narrow down their job search to one area. If you struggle with this, invest time assessing your interests, strengths and weaknesses before applying for jobs. Many websites offer free personality and aptitude tests that can point you in the right direction. Also, research jobs before you apply for them to pinpoint aspects you know you’ll have difficulty with.

Time Management and Organization

Because many people with ADHD struggle with planning, staying organized and keeping on top of details, they sometimes have difficulty navigating the often complex task of searching for work. If this is true for you, you might overlook an important question or requirement in the application process or feel overwhelmed by the steps involved in applying for a job. Or, you might forget application deadlines or appointments for job interviews. To prevent this, break things down into smaller parts and keep a job search notebook to help you stay focused.

Work History

Some people with ADHD have spotty work histories not because they’re bad employees, but because their ADHS makes it difficult for them to get along with others or meet their employer’s expectations. They might also change jobs frequently out of boredom or dissatisfaction. If you have significant resume gaps or have held several short-term jobs, you’ll need to address this in a way that doesn’t raise questions about your suitability. You can often downplay a less-than-desirable work history by using a skills-based resume, which focuses more on your skills and accomplishments than on your previous jobs.


The negative perceptions sometimes associated with disorders such as ADHD can also hamper your job search. If employers know about your condition, they might worry you’ll have trouble fulfilling your job duties. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, however, you don’t have to disclose your ADHD to potential employers unless you want to seek special accommodations either for the job interview or if hired. If you do reveal it, employers can’t refuse to hire you based solely on your ADHD. When discussing your condition, describe how you’ve learned to manage it and emphasize that you’ve excelled at previous jobs in spite of it.

About the Author

Ellie Williams has been a journalist since 2001. Her work has been recognized by her state's press association and by her local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Williams graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications and humanities, with minors in French and theater.

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