Do you have autism and want to find a job?
At APM, we believe everyone has the right to work, respect and inclusion. We’ve helped hundreds of people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) find and maintain a job.
ASD is a complex neurodevelopmental condition. It is lifelong and characterised by differences in social skills, communication and behaviour. Living with ASD affects how a person thinks, feels, interacts with others, and experiences their environment. Every Autistic person is different - this is why autism is described as a ‘spectrum’.
In this step-by-step guide, you’ll find tools and advice on how to get a job with autism. We’ve included tips about searching for work, writing a resume and managing interviews as well as some great job ideas to help you get started.
1. You can get a job if you have autism
For many people living with autism, finding a fulfilling job can be challenging. Feeling overlooked or misunderstood by employers can be frustrating and hurtful.
At APM, we’ve helped thousands of jobseekers find meaningful and valuable work. We believe there’s a job out there for you too.
We’ve also seen how working can be beneficial for people living with autism. Take Caley for example. It’s been two years since APM helped him find a job and he says they have been the best years of his life.
Not only does work give you more financial independence, it can help you gain new skills, make connections with other people and have a sense of purpose in your life.
2. Brainstorm your strengths, skills and interests
It’s important to find a job where you can use your strengths and skills and feel confident with your unique capabilities.
Take time to think about what you’re good at doing and what environments you work best in.
- What am I good at?
- What skills do I have? What do I know how to do?
- What do I like doing? What am I interested in?
- What environments do I work best in?
- What are my challenges?
Many people living with autism or Asperger’s are visual thinkers. Some have keen artistic skills, while others are excellent with numbers and facts. Some people living with ASD find they work best in calm, quiet environments where they won’t feel overstimulated.
Whatever your unique skills, needs and capabilities are, at APM we believe there is a job out there for you.
Read about how we helped Caleb overcome the challenges of autism to find a job that changed his life for the better.
Job ideas for people with autism
- Jobs with repetition - People who work best with repetitive tasks might be suited to jobs such as factory assembly, restocking shelves, warehouse work and sorting at a recycling plant.
- Jobs with a clear goal - Do you enjoy methodical work? Do you work best with a well-defined end point? Consider jobs such as appliance repairer, automobile mechanic and building maintenance.
- Jobs for visual thinkers - If you are good with visual thinking and long term memory, you might enjoy jobs such as computer programming, drafting, graphic design, equipment design or photography.
- Jobs for people who are good with numbers - If numbers and facts are your forte, consider jobs like accounting, engineering, laboratory technician and statistician.
3. Try a range of job searching techniques
There are many ways to find a job, including:
- Searching online - When searching for jobs online, use a range of different job boards to find more opportunities. Don’t just search for job titles such as ‘software developer’. Also use keywords and skills such as ‘coding’ to find opportunities you might not have thought of.
- Asking people you know - Some job opportunities aren’t advertised. Tell your friends, family and peers that you’re looking for work. You may be surprised what opportunities pop up.
- Reaching out to companies you want to work for - You can try calling or visiting an employer’s place of business to ask if there are any positions available. Make sure you research the company and prepare to explain why you’d be a valuable addition to the workplace.
- Registering for Disability Employment Services (DES) with a provider such as APM
The Disability Employment Services program is a government-funded program that helps people with injury, illness or disability find meaningful work and manage in the workplace with confidence.
An employment consultant at APM can help you find suitable job opportunities and connect you with employers. We know what employers are looking for which means we can help you get ready for work and feel confident about entering the workplace.
4. Write a persuasive resume and CV
Your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is an important document that shows an employer why you’d be a great choice for the job.
Your resume or CV should include information about your:
- Positive qualities
Don’t just send the same resume and cover letter into every job you apply for. You should tailor your resume and cover letter to the job description of each specific job.
You need to sell yourself and show the employer why you’re the best person for the job. Target the information you give for the specific role.
For more information, check out APM’s guide on how to write an effective resume and cover letter.
5. Practice and prepare for job interviews
Job interviews can be daunting if you struggle with social queues. If you feel that actions speak louder than words, it can be challenging to impress an employer based on one conversation.
Preparing and practicing for an interview can help you feel more confident.
Tips for job interviews for people with autism
Before the interview:
- Research the company. This shows that you’re interested and enthusiastic about the job.
- Practice explaining your strengths and positive traits. What makes you the best candidate for the job?
- Back it up with evidence. Think of a real life example of when you demonstrated each of the positive traits.
During the interview:
- Pause and check in with the interviewer. You could ask something like, 'Does that answer your question or would you like to hear more?'
- Ask two or three questions about the company and the job role.
- Pay attention to your body language. Sit up straight, look at the interviewer and try not to fidget.
After the interview:
- Thank the interviewer for their time.
- Congratulate yourself. However the interview went, you made it through and that’s worth celebrating.
- Ask for feedback. If you weren’t successful, ask for feedback on things you could improve for next time.
6. Get support to help you succeed in your new job
Getting a job is often the first hurdle for people living with ASD. Managing in the workplace can present challenges and sometimes you might need a bit of extra support.
If you find it difficult to manage in the workplace, APM can help. We offer support for people on the autism spectrum to keep working and thrive in their job.
We can help you speak with your employer about what you need to do your job well. Your employer could be eligible for funding to make workplace adjustments to support you.
Workplace adjustments may include:
- Giving you clear and specific instructions in writing
- Using timetables and to-do lists to create a more structured work environment
- A work buddy or mentor who can provide support and advice
- A calm, quiet and odourless environment for you to work in
At APM, we understand that everyone is different. We can help you find workplace solutions that suit your unique needs and capabilities so that you can feel confident doing your job.
7. Seek help if you need it
Getting some extra support to help you on your job hunt can make it easier and less stressful. At APM, we’re passionate about helping people who live with ASD, like you find work and manage the workplace with confidence.
We’re Australia’s largest provider of Disability Employment Services, a government-funded program which helps people with injury, illness or disability find safe, meaningful and valuable employment.
We can help you:
- Manage issues that might be making it hard to get work
- Recognise your strengths and skills for work
- Gain new skills that will make you more employable
- Write your resume and manage the interview process
- Get the support and information you need to succeed in your new job
Our approach is personal and sensitive. We get to know who you are and what you need so that we can provide support that is right for you.
Are you ready to find work? Get in touch with APM today and let’s get started finding you a job!