“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
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.