Real tips for getting a job with Asperger’s syndrome

Are you living with Asperger’s syndrome and want to find a job?

Asperger’s syndrome is a condition that can affect how a person socially interacts with others and how they understand the world.

Since 2013, Asperger’s syndrome has been classified under the term autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Some people living with autism may identify as having Asperger's syndrome as they may have been previously diagnosed with it, however the term is not currently used in diagnosis.

Each person who lives with ASD experiences varying severity of their symptoms, which is why it is referred to as a spectrum, not a single syndrome or disorder.

Some people may have low support needs and lead a more self-sufficient life, while other may have higher support needs.

Living with ASD is different for everyone and may affect a person’s ability to work in a wide variety of ways.

At APM, we believe everyone has the right to work, inclusion and respect - without feeling like they have to ‘mask’ to do certain things or be considered successful.

Can I get a job with Asperger’s syndrome?

Absolutely. At APM, we have seen many people with Asperger’s syndrome and ASD find meaningful work that has changed their lives for the better.

Having a job can bring a wide range of benefits like:

  • Increased independence
  • More money
  • Meeting new people
  • Learning new skills
  • Doing something meaningful
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Improvements in mental wellbeing

If you are finding it difficult to get a job, accessing the right support could make all the difference.

At APM, we believe everyone has the right to experience the life-changing benefits of work. Through our Disability Employment Services program, we help thousands of Australian job seekers every week find meaningful employment.

Ready to find a job? Here’s our step-by-step guide to getting a job with Asperger’s syndrome. Including job ideas to get you started and information about where to get help if you need it.

1. Figure out what job types are good for you

Just like everyone else, there is no one-size-fits-all job for people with Asperger’s syndrome. It’s important that you look for a job that is a good fit for you as an individual.

What are your strengths?

Many people with Asperger’s syndrome are visual thinkers with excellent attention to detail and great problem solving skills.

Others are great with numbers and facts and can perform tasks to a high level of accuracy. You may be reliable and trustworthy or perhaps you are good at coming up with innovative ideas.

If you are not sure what your strengths are, try:

  • Asking friends and family members who know you well
  • Thinking about things you’ve done in the past and excelled at

What environment do you perform best in?

Many people with Asperger’s syndrome perform best with routine, predictability and structure.

Unpredictable workplaces like restaurants or airports that demand high use of short term memory may not be ideal.

Also consider:

  • Do you prefer to focus on one task at a time rather than multitasking?
  • Do you work best in a quiet environment with no bright lights or distractions?
  • Would you rather work alone or in a more social space?

Need some inspiration? Here are 5 great jobs for people with Asperger’s syndrome.

  1. Veterinary technician - Great for those who like working with animals and have an eye for details.
  2. Accountant - A good role for those who have a head for numbers and like doing routine tasks.
  3. Computer scientist - If you are interested in technology and are good at problem solving, this might be a good career choice for you.
  4. Quality control officer - If noticing even the smallest details is your strength, you could be a great quality control officer.
  5. Journalist - A great job if you are skilled at gathering information and looking closely at facts.

2. Search for job opportunities

Searching for work can take a long time and it’s natural to feel discouraged along the way. Here are our top tips for finding employment opportunities.

Get organised - Keep a record of all the jobs you apply for and the method you used to apply.

You could set up a spreadsheet with columns for:

  • Jobs you’ve applied for
  • When you applied
  • How you applied
  • The contact person
  • When you followed up

Search keywords - When you search for employment opportunities on online job boards, don’t just use job titles like “software engineer”. Also search using keywords or skills that you have such as ‘coding’ and ‘programming’.

Spread awareness - Not all jobs are advertised. Sometimes you can find work opportunities by talking to the people you know and spreading the word that you are looking for work.

Take an active approach - If you want to work for a particular company but aren’t sure if they have job openings, you can approach them directly and ask. Whether you visit their workplace or call them, take time to prepare reasons why you’d be a great addition to their company.

Seek help - Finding a job can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it on your own. APM’s Disability Employment Services program provides support for people with injury, illness or disability who are searching for work.

We can assist with:

  • Finding suitable job opportunities
  • Gaining new skills to make you more employable
  • Writing job applications and resumes
  • Manage in your new workplace

3. Write a persuasive resume and cover letter

A resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is an important document that contains information about your education, qualifications, skills and experience.

Along with your cover letter, it shows an employer why you’d be a great candidate for the job.

When you write your resume:

  • Make it easy to read by using a standard font and avoiding long sentences
  • Tailor the information to the specific job you are applying for
  • Use keywords that reflect what the employer is looking for in their job advertisement
  • Back up your achievement with supporting statements such as years of experience or achieved sales in dollar figures

A cover letter goes along with your resume and is usually read first.

It should explain to the employer how you demonstrate the specific skills and qualities that they are looking for.

For more information, check out APM’s guide on how to write an effective resume and cover letter.

4. Prepare for job interviews

The interview process can be daunting if you find it difficult to read social cues and would prefer to show your skills rather than talk about them.

Job interviews are often a situation where people with ASD feel they need to mask.

Masking (also known as camouflaging or compensation) is a social phenomenon where people with ASD learn, practice, and perform certain behaviours in order to appear more neurotypical.

It can feel challenging to impress the interviewer in one conversation. 

While you might not be able to predict exactly what will happen in a job interview, there are many things you can do to prepare.

  • Practice answering common interview questions such as:
    • Why do you want this job?
    • Why should I hire you and not someone else?
    • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • Research the company you’re applying for. It’s important that you know who they are, what they do and what their values are. Prepare 2 or 3 questions that you can ask about the company or the job role.
  • Think of real-life examples of when you demonstrated skills and positive traits that the employer is looking for.
  • Role play the interview with someone you trust. Ask them for feedback about how you came across and if they have any advice for how you can improve.

For more information, read APM’s expert job interview tips.

5. Get workplace support to help you succeed in your new job

For many people with ASD or Asperger’s syndrome, it can be challenging to navigate the workplace - whether it’s being in a new work space or socially interacting with people who aren’t initially familiar.

Getting tailored support from a provider like APM can help you feel confident about doing your job well.

We work closely with you and your employer to find solutions that help you do your best work.

This may include making workplace adjustments such as:

  • Receiving clearly defined job tasks that are broken into smaller components
  • Written instructions in addition to verbal instructions
  • Using checklists and timelines to help you manage your tasks
  • Quiet, distraction-free workspaces
  • A mentor or co-worker who can look out for you

Workplace support through APM’s Disability Employment Services and WorkAssist programs are funded by the government at no cost to you or your employer.

Need help finding a job? APM is here to help.

If you are having trouble finding a job or managing in the workplace, you are not alone.

At APM, we help people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome find meaningful work and succeed at their jobs.

When you register for our Disability Employment Services program, your dedicated Employment Consultant will get to know who you are and what your employment goals are.

We can help you with:

  • Identifying your strengths and skills
  • Finding suitable job opportunities
  • Gaining new skills to make you more employable
  • Writing job applications, resumes and cover letters
  • Preparing for job interviews
  • Accessing workplace modifications and support

If you want to work, we believe there are jobs and workplaces out there where you can thrive and feel great about the work you do.

Ready to get started? Register for our Disability Employment Services program today and let’s get to work.