Step-by-step guide to getting a job if you're living with Down syndrome

If you’re living with Down syndrome, getting a job could help you feel proud, confident and happy.

Down syndrome is a genetic condition that is also known as trisomy 21. Adults living with Down syndrome have a range of needs and capabilities.

Some adults living with Down syndrome may live with a level of intellectual disability and learning difficulties. Some will learn to drive, have relationships and live almost entirely independently. Everyone is different and will need different levels of support.

Many people with Down syndrome go to school, get a job and become valuable members of their workplace - Shannon is one of the most popular team members at Fins Seafood.

Are you living with Down syndrome and want to get a job?

In this guide you will find information about:

  • Finding out what types of jobs are good for you
  • Looking for jobs
  • Writing a resume and cover letter
  • Preparing for a job interview
  • Succeeding in your new job
  • Getting help if you need it

Can you get a job with Down syndrome?

Yes you can. If you want to work, there are jobs out there for you.

Many people with Down syndrome find a job that they love.

Take James White for example. He became a beloved part of the team at a Barossa hardware store. People know him as the ‘barbecue man’.

Are you finding it hard to get a job? You can get help from APM.

We support people living with injury, illness or disability to find a job.

We also help them get everything they need to do well at work.

Why do you want to work?

There are lots of reasons why it is good to work. We have seen how getting a job can change someone’s life for the better.

Getting a job can help you:

  • Earn money to buy things and pay for bills
  • Meet new people
  • Feel proud about what you do
  • Become more independent
  • Learn new skills
  • Become more confident

What kind of work do you want to do?

Everyone is different. You have your own interests, skills and challenges. It is important to think about what types of jobs might be good for you.

What do you like to do?

  • Some people love making others smile.
  • Some people like caring for animals or being outside in nature.

Your likes and interests can help you think of jobs you might enjoy.

What are you good at?

  • Some people know how to use computers.
  • Others are good at noticing small details.
  • Some people are creative and have lots of good ideas.

Think about jobs where you can use your skills and abilities.

What environment do you like working in?

  • Some people like to work inside an office.
  • Other people like being outside.
  • Some people like a busy and active workplace.
  • Other people like a quiet and calm workplace.

What about you?

Do you like working with other people?

  • Some people like to meet lots of people at their job.
  • Other people like to work on their own or with animals.

What do you like?

What are your challenges?

  • Some people struggle to remember instructions unless they are written down.
  • Others find it hard when there’s no schedule.

When you know your challenges you can think of a solution or ask for help.

Job ideas for people with Down syndrome

If you don’t know what jobs would be good for you, you can speak to an Employment Consultant at APM.

We can help you find job opportunities that are right for you.

We helped Shannon find a job that he loves at Fins Seafood.

'I feel good here,' Shannon said. 'I’m happy working here.'

Here are some other job ideas:

  • Greeter in a restaurant
  • Supermarket worker
  • Administration assistant
  • Artist
  • Cleaner
  • Gardener
  • Product assembly worker

Do you want to know more about these jobs and find other ideas? Have a look at our list of job ideas for people with an intellectual disability.

How do you look for a job?

There are many ways to look for jobs. You can:

  • Search on the internet
  • Look in newspapers
  • Ask people you know
  • Reach out to a local business you want to work for
  • Register for Disability Employment Services with APM

Funded by the government, the Disability Employment Services program helps people living with injury, illness or disability find a job and keep it.

When you register for the Disability Employment Services program with APM, we can help you search for good job opportunities.

We can also help you apply for jobs, get training and prepare for interviews.

How to write a resume

A resume is a document you give to an employer to show them why you would be good at the job. Sometimes people call this document a CV.

Your resume should have information about your:

  • Name and contact information
  • Education
  • Qualifications
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Good qualities

You should also include some references. These are people who say good things about you and the way you work.

For more information, check out our guide on how to write a good resume and cover letter.

How to get ready for an interview

In an interview, an employer will ask you questions to see if they want to hire you for the job.

In an interview you want to:

  • Show the employer why they should hire you
  • Talk about the skills and qualities that you can bring to the role

It is important to get ready for an interview. You are more likely to do well when you prepare.

Here are some ways you can get ready for your interview:

  • Practice answering common interview questions like
    • Why do you want to work here?
    • What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
    • Why should we hire you?
  • Pretend to do an interview with a friend or family member. Ask them how you can improve.
  • Research about the workplace and the company. Write down any questions you might want to ask the interviewer.

What to do in an interview

On the day of the interview, you should:

  • Wear clean and professional clothes
  • Arrive 5-10 minutes early to the interview
  • Say hello and shake hands with your interviewer

Many people feel nervous when doing a job interview. It is natural to feel that way. Some things you can do to feel your best are to:

  • Take your time to answer the questions
  • Be honest when you answer the questions
  • Use a friendly and professional voice
  • Show the interviewer that you want the job
  • Say thank you at the end of the interview

Starting your new job

When you get a new job, you might feel excited and nervous. You might also have some challenges along the way.

You can ask for help if you feel like you might have difficulty doing your job because of these challenges.

APM can help you find solutions so that you can do your job well. That might include working with you and your employer to make changes in the workplace.

Workplace changes could be:

  • Giving you easy-to-read written instructions
  • Breaking your tasks down into small steps
  • Using pictures to help you remember your tasks
  • A workplace buddy who you can answer your questions

APM’s job support can make things easier for you and help you feel confident about doing your job.

Do you need help finding a job?

If you are living with Down syndrome and want to work, APM can help.

We help thousands of people like you find a job and feel confident in the workplace.

We believe everyone has the right to work and experience the benefits of work.

When you register for our Disability Employment Services program, we can help you with:

  • Figuring out what types of jobs are good for you
  • Getting more training to help you get a job
  • Finding meaningful employment opportunities
  • Writing your resume, cover letter and job applications
  • Preparing for job interviews
  • Getting support so you can do your job well

Ready to start working? We are here for you.

Register for the Disability Employment Services program today.