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    Finding a Good Job Fit if You Have Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism

    Question

    “I’m a college student with Asperger’s, and I’m dreading trying to find a job when I graduate. I struggle in social situations and don’t always make a good first impression. What advice do you have?” — Jameela from Atlanta, GA

    Answer

    In some ways, your job search process shouldn’t be different from any other job seeker.

    For example, think about your ideal work environment. Some of us like to be left alone in our workspace to complete our daily tasks; others are comfortable interacting in a more open and social work environment. Think about the places where you’re most productive – you might need a quiet area, a place without bright lights, a place free from distractions, etc. – and look for jobs that can accommodate that.

    Also think about your strengths (and ask others who know you to weigh in). When you think about past education or work experiences, where have you excelled? When left up to your own devices, what kinds of things do you like to do? If you like to tinker with computers in your free time, a career in the same field could be a good fit for you.

    At the same time, there are specific jobs that may be better suited to people who have autism or Asperger’s. Notable autism activist Temple Grandin compiled the following list of professions that could be a good fit for individuals like you, based on your thinking style and verbal ability:


    Good Jobs for Visual Thinkers
    Animal training, automobile mechanic, building maintenance, building trades, commercial art, computer animation, computer programming, computer troubleshooting and repair, drafting, equipment designing, factory maintenance, handcrafts, laboratory technician, photography, small appliance and lawnmower repair, veterinary technician, video game design and web page design.
    Good Jobs for Non-Visual Thinkers Accounting, bank teller, clerk and filing jobs, computer programming, copy editing, engineering, inventory control, journalism, laboratory technician, library science, physics, math, statistics, taxi driving and telemarketing.
     Jobs for Nonverbal People with Autism or People with Poor Verbal Skills    Copy shop, data entry, factory assembly work, fast food restaurants,  janitor, lawn and garden work, plant care, recycling, reshelving library books, restocking shelves and warehouse work.

     

    Your local Goodwill can also be a valuable asset in helping you connect with at job that’s right for you. A case manager will work with you to assess your aptitudes and work preferences, then actively use Goodwill’s job search tools and community connections to help match you with a prospective employer. If you choose to disclose your Asperger’s or autism, Goodwill can often work with an employer to accommodate your workplace and interaction preferences to allow you to be at your most successful on the job.

    Use our locator to find the Goodwill career center nearest you.

     

     

    Jenni B. Baker
    Jenni B. Baker was a member of Goodwill Industries International’s digital team from 2009-2016. In her role, she supported content strategy and development for Goodwill’s digital properties, including Goodwill’s public blog and email newsletters.
    Read More Posts By This Author

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    • Nick
      April 4th, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Hello I just wanted to thank those responsible for this post on autism/aspergers! I was recently diagnosed with autism as an adult over 30, and I have had problems in the past finding/keeping employment. I have to say it was a great surprise I was just checking this site to find out more about the Goodwill nearest me and I found this! Thanks for the input!

      • Vivianne
        May 18th, 2016 at 5:35 am

        You may want to be honest and get some information in one paragraph that states the definition of asperguer’s syndrome to have for your interview . Then have the person read it and then say that you’re not very good at interviewing but will be a great fit for the job because you have the skill they need to do the job. Then tell them or the person what you have learned, what you can do well, and brag about how good you are at what you do. Nut in an honest way. Say you make up for the awkwardness of the interview by the skills to the performance. In the end you may want them to ask you about your skills and you may want to ask them if they have any Robles with employing an asperguer’s person after having revealed your skills vs your awkwardness in the interview.
        Lastly say that you are an intelligent honest straightforward responsible person who will contribute a lot to their work. And thank them for their time with you and that you really want a chance to be a team member.

    • James Hackett
      February 9th, 2015 at 1:18 am

      Hello Jameela, my name is James Hackett and I have Asperger’s. I have obtained many different jobs in the past and I will tell you what I’ve learned in the process. Apart from the having to do pretty much the same steps as everyone else, I find rehearsing is very helpful. Before going to an interview rehearse/practice giving good answers to common interview questions. During a job, whatever there’s a problem that requires talking to a supervisor, rehearse what you’ll say to him. Understand you may struggle with short term memory which means you may have a hard time comprehending multiple step instructions. It is helpful to use a note card to write down the steps of an instruction so you’ll remember them. Creating a system of reminders is good to help you not forget tasks. I used my calendar app on my cellphone write reminders that are set to alarms at specific times to remind me to do things so I don’t forget them. I hope that is helpful. One last thing, if you do have an interview, one last thing, I don’t recommend telling your employer that you have Asperger’s until after you get hired or else he may feel reluctant and judge you on that and not hire you.

      • Vivianne
        May 18th, 2016 at 5:44 am

        Good point is to think of questions you would ask if you were the person hiring and then think of good answers to those questions. You may want to discuss this with a person you trust will be able to make suggestions about it and perhaps add some thing you may have missed.
        Last think of words that describe you in a positive way like intelligent, honest, loyal, funny, well groomed, sincere, punctual, orderly etc.
        These words will be used to bring out the best in you when describing yourself to the interviewer.

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