Stack’s guide to CV building for autistic adults
By Jinaka Ugochukwu
What is a CV?
A CV is a self-promotional tool. It is a summary of your education, the jobs you have done and the skills that you have acquired. An employer will read it to decide whether you are suitable for the job they have on offer.
What does a CV look like?
There are many templates for CVs. But most CVs will include the sections in the image below.
This article is a step by step guide to creating a basic 1-page CV.
Remember you should update your CV as you get more experience and you will need to adapt parts of your CV to the job that you are applying for. Consider every CV a foundation that you build upon and improve.
Writing a CV can feel like an overwhelming task especially if you are looking for your first job or you are an adult with autism and you are not sure that the workplace will be a welcoming world. Stack Recruitment specialises in listing jobs that are suitable for everyone but especially jobs for autistic adults. This is because we work with employers who are welcoming to people with autism and the jobs require candidates who pay attention to detail, who can apply a framework to a process and who strive to get a job done well.
Let’s get writing
This section is quick and straightforward to complete. Completing this section will get you up and running and feeling confident.
|Firstname Lastname |
01234 555 666
- Your email address should be something sensible. Ideally email@example.com
- Be safe online: A potential employer will call you or send you an email. You do not need to include your full address.
This section is an opportunity to introduce yourself and explain why you are suitable for the role. The paragraph should be short; limit it to about 3 or 4 lines.
You should outline the skills and experience you can offer the company in relation to the role that they have advertised.
This is an archived advert from the jobs section here at Stack Recruitment
To be successful in this role, you would ideally have experience of working in a similar environment and be able to demonstrate knowledge of processing purchase ledger transactions using a computerised system. You will be comfortable working in a customer focused environment and have a willingness to learn and adapt new skills.
This is an ideal job for an autistic adult who has skills in financial administration, who is computer literate and who is comfortable learning and adapting to the business’ needs.
To write your personal statement
Firstly, highlight the key requirements for the role.
To be successful in this role, you would ideally have experience of working in a similar environment and be able to demonstrate knowledge of processing purchase ledger transactions using a computerised system. You will be comfortable working in a customer focused environment and have a willingness to learn and adapt new skills.
Secondly, address these areas in your personal statement.
I am an experienced administrator who has used Sage extensively to process invoices and reconcile accounts. I’m very good at learning new systems and teaching others how to use them too. I think being efficient and helpful to customers is key and I want to work for a business who thinks the same.
The recruiting manager will then be able to read in an instance whether you are a suitable candidate for the role.
There are many strategies that you can use for writing a personal statement:
The CV library suggests answering these 3 questions:
Here is a bullet point approach by Glassdoor:
Bullet 1: Industry credentials
Bullet 2: What skills you bring
Bullet 3: How you can help the business achieve their objectives,
Bullet 4: A relevant and recent deliverable
And you can find 16 examples of personal statements at Totaljobs.
- Not all CVs include this section. If you include a cover letter with your application you may not consider it necessary.
- Avoid writing a list of adjectives.
- This section should be tailored to each job that you apply for.
Your experiences can include paid work, volunteer work, or skills acquired in other ways. List your most recent role first!
Below is an example of a format you could use and a guide to what you could include for each position.
|Job Title, Company, Location mmm yyyy – ongoing|
Write a summary of your duties and responsibilities. Think about the job you are applying for and highlight the duties and responsibilities that will be most relevant for the job and the employer.
Achievement: Summarise the impact you had on the business, especially if it is quantifiable. Eg I increase sales of Y by X%
- Remember to list your jobs in date order with the most recent at the top.
- Think about the skills and achievements that you want to highlight. Choose skills that can illustrate your suitability for the role that you are applying for.
Most people will list their formal qualifications in this section for example GCSEs, A-Levels, degrees and so on but you can also list other educational achievements. For example, a short course that you have completed such as computer skills, or a coding course or a first aid course.
Relevance and recency are key. What skills and experience does the job require? If you have many options and limited space, choose the qualifications that best represent your ability to do the job.
Qualification, (awarding body) Date
BA Business Administration, (University of London) June 2019
Certificate in First Aid (St John’s ambulance) December 2019
- List your most recent and highest qualifications first.
- If you are a school leaver then you may wish to list all of your GCSEs (or equivalents) and/or your A-levels but if you gain higher qualifications listing each individual GCSE becomes less and less relevant. And you might wish to summarise them (9 GCSEs A-C, including Maths and English) or omit them completely.
- If you don’t have any formal qualifications simply list the dates that you attended any school or college.
List skills that are always relevant and/or that are specifically relevant to the job you are applying for. For example, if you speak another language that is always relevant. If you can juggle that is not so relevant unless the job is for an entertainer.
- This section could be considered optional especially if you are short on space and you have covered your skills elsewhere in the document.
That’s it. That all you need for the first draft of your CV.
- Remember to check for spelling errors.
- Remember to choose a professional font and be consistent throughout the document.
- Remember to choose the correct font size. Size 12 and size 11are typical for a CV. Headings may be a slightly larger size and bolded.
Now you are ready to find a job to apply for. Stack Recruitment’s job board has a great selection of jobs or get in touch if you want help with your CV.
Remember don’t get discouraged if at first you don’t succeed. Sometimes people apply for more than 10 jobs before they receive an invitation to interview.
Come back soon for more information on interview techniques and working in a professional environment with autism.
By Anna Everts
This blog discusses the pros and cons of disclosing autism during a job interview. This blog is written for autistic people, by an autistic person with experience in the subject matter.
So, you’ve landed a job interview. Great! But now there probably are a million questions going through your mind; “What questions will they ask?”, “What should I wear?”, “What information do I want from them?”, and most importantly “Do I inform them about my autism?”.
For most autistic people the latter is a question they ponder about the longest. It’s not surprising, really. It’s an important question that could, unfortunately, affect the outcome of the interview. But for every reason to stay quiet about it, there is also a good reason to inform your possible future employer. Here are all the pros and cons listed for you, so you can make a decision that fits your situation.
Why you should bring up your autism during a job interview
1. Its a part of you
Autism is a part of you and it always will be. Whether or not you like it, it is most likely going to affect the way you interact with colleagues, supervisors and even clients. And that’s okay. Everyone deals with people differently, even those without autism. Some people loathe making phone calls, are a little too hyper around clients, or constantly disagree with their co-workers. No one handles social interactions the same way.
Of course for an autistic person social interactions are often far more difficult, but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to work with. When someone hires you, they hire all of you. That includes your autism. So if someone wouldn’t want you because you’re autistic, you should ask yourself whether or not you want to work there. There will be enough other places that are in fact happy to explore your unique qualities and can give you what you need to be a functioning member of the team.
Pro: Your openness and honesty might be seen as a plus. Also you’ll know if the company is biased or not.
Con: The employer might be thinking in negative stereotypes. However Stack focuses on partnering with inclusive employers. This means that our employers understand autism and know how to support an autistic employee.
2. It prevents unwanted surprises
Sometimes us autistics need a little more help than others; a more thorough briefing, extra time to work on a task, or even a buddy who’s always ready to answer our questions. If you need these things to function properly in a workplace, it’s best to be open about it upfront. If you don’t, your employer will hire you with expectations you can’t meet and then both parties will be disappointed.
When you clearly state what you need to be a productive part of the team and also provide a solution for those needs, an employer will see that you are flexible and willing to meet them halfway into accommodating to your needs. And that might just earn you those extra points you need to get hired!
Pro: It prevents stress and miscommunication on both sides.
Con: Some employers might not be willing to meet you halfway. However, Stack Recruitment can assist in getting the employer to better understand your situation. This may just turn them around!
3. It provides an opportunity to highlight your unique skills
Your autism makes you unique. That also means you have qualities that non-autistics don’t have. You can use these qualities to your advantage. For example, during an interview you can tell an employer something along the lines of the following sentence:
“I have autism, which means that I’m really good at picking up on details. This enables me to execute a job with great precision.”
By presenting your autism in a positive light, the employer will think of the positive aspects first before making any assumptions about you. Of course you can mention any skill you think is valuable. Applying for the creative sector? Tell them about how creative autistic people are! Or does your autism make you a good problem solver? Tell them about that! Take some time to make a list with your unique skills and mention them during the interview. That way there’s less room for negative stereotypes.
Pro: It changes the perspective the employer might have on autism.
Con: Employers may still worry about supporting an autistic employee. However there are plenty of organisations and articles out there where they can gain useful advice and help. They just may need to be directed.
Why it might be better not to mention your autism
1. People are prejudiced
This is the sad truth. Many people are uninformed about what autism actually is and most of their knowledge about autism comes from extreme stereotypes. Of course, people can learn, but that doesn’t mean that they will. For this reason it might be better to not tell an employer that you’re autistic. Especially if you really need a job and cannot use another rejection, staying quiet about it might be the best way to go.
Furthermore, if you’ve noticed that people only tend to see your autism and not the rest of you, it might also be a good idea to keep quiet. You can always tell them later. In fact, you can choose not to tell them at first, let them get to know you, and then bring up your autism after a week on the job. That way your first impression isn’t tied to your autism.
Pro: The employer can get to know you without making false assumptions about you.
Con: By not telling the employer that you’re autistic, they won’t be able to provide the extra tools or help you might need. If you do run into problems, Stack can help you sort these out with your employer.
2. Your autism doesn’t affect the qualities needed for the job
Let’s say you struggle with talking to people on the phone or face to face, but talking to someone via text is not an issue at all. And let’s say in this case you’re applying for the webcare part of a servicecenter. You won’t have to talk to people face to face or assist them over the phone, so what’s the issue?
This is just one example of a case in which it might not be needed to mention your autism. If you feel your autism won’t be in the way of the tasks you need to perform at the job you’re applying for, then why bring it up? You don’t always have to tell people that you’re autistic if there’s no reason for them to know. Of course, you can still choose to tell them if you don’t feel comfortable keeping it quiet. It’s all a matter of what you think is best.
Pro: Not mentioning it when it isn’t needed will prevent prejudice.
Con: If problems do arise, you might still have to bring up your autism. But since you’ve already proven your worth, you have to worry less about facing prejudice. Your employer knows what you can do!
Whether or not you should bring up your autism during a job interview completely depends on your own situation. In the end you should do what feels best for you. If you’re very worried about the reaction of the employer and it’s eating you up inside, then don’t sweat it. Focus on the interview itself and don’t mention it just yet.
If you just want to be sure you’re accepted for who you are and don’t mind taking the risk, then go ahead and tell them! Make your own list of pros and cons so you can come to a conclusion that works for you. But no matter what you do, know that you have value. You can bring qualities to the table that others might not have. So never settle for something where your efforts aren’t appreciated.
As part of our new ‘love what you do’ blog series we are interviewing autistic adults that love their jobs.
This week we have the fantastic Maxwell, who works as a Marketing Executive.
Maxwell has provided a fantastic insight into the world of marketing and has given us some brilliant advice on finding and searching for jobs.
Thank you Maxwell!
1.Hi Maxwell, whats your job and what do you do on a day to day basis?
“My Job Title is Marketing/Content Executive at the Autism Directory and I have been here for 1 year and a half, having moved from Northern Ireland to Cardiff in September 2018.
A typical day involves checking social media, creating content and visuals using my graphic design skills, video editing skills and taking part in general marketing. I also like to research and come up with content ideas for social media.”
2.What do you love about your job?
“I love working with other people on the autistic spectrum; at the Autism Directory over 70% of staff are autistic. This means I work in an understanding environment with people who also share a passion for helping others through challenges we have ourselves faced.
This can be anything from applying to Personal Independence Payment to employment experiences. Saying that, we also have a good laugh in the office and I have made some very good friends.”
3.Why did you want to start a career in marketing?
“I wanted to start a career in marketing as I enjoy using my creative skills and creating connections with people, to tell stories.
I also have enjoyed using my copywriting skills in the past to tell both my autism story through blogging/online articles and working with other creatives to change people’s perceptions.
I would love to get a marketing or creative job at organisations like Scope or Amnesty International in the future, to help fight for more positive change and change perceptions.”
4.After you made this decision, what did you do?
“After doing a work experience placement at BBC Cymru through Remploy due to my interest in current affairs, one of my first roles in marketing was a Campaigns Assistant at NUS Wales to help encourage young people and students to register to vote for the 2016 Assembly Elections. My interest in politics and current affairs was one of the reasons why I applied for this role.
Though the interview for this role went well and I was able to communicate well, interviews in general, have always been something I have found hard. It takes a little bit of time our me to build up my confidence before an interview and I am often still very nervous, so being rejected form roles can knock my confidence quite a lot.”
5.How do you think being autistic has impacted you in your marketing career?
“I think that there are some negatives of being autistic within marketing. Sometimes people in marketing can have a pre-conception, either intentionally or unintentionally, that I might not be able to do certain things or roles, as I would find communication hard, but this also makes me very determined to succeed and I am able to think differently.
By adopting different ways to communicate, this can actually benefit everyone in an organisation and how we reflect who we are communicating with.”
6.Stereotypically, autistic individuals aren’t commonly associated with careers in the creative industry. How would you challenge this stereotype?
“I would challenge such stereotypes, as I have done through my work with The Future Is ND, by arguing that not only can autistic people be very creative but that we are human too, and like everyone else, not every autistic person is the same.
We can be sociable and work as part of a creative team in the right environment.”
7.What has been your best moment within your career so far?
“One of my best moments in my career so far has been getting an article published in The Huffington Post about Mental Health and Autism.
I have also written articles for City AM and enjoyed working at BBC Cymru, where I got a researcher credit on an episode of the Week In Week Out investigative programme.”
8.After a long day at work, what do you like to do?
“I am very interested in films, particularly ones that have something to say about society, but I also enjoy the odd cheesy or scary horror film! I sometimes write and recently started learning salsa dancing to build my social confidence.”
9.What do you think is the most important thing to consider when finding a job that you love?
“One of the most important lessons I have learnt is that it is easy to put pressure on yourself, but it is important to remember that everyone is different and we all take different paths. I still often find it very hard to compare myself to other people but I overcome this by focusing on the positives of where I work and the impact we make as a team.”
10.What advice would you give to autistic job-seekers who haven’t yet decided what career path to take?
“Don’t put pressure on yourself to find the perfect career choice straight away, it is ok to take time!”
11.What advice would you give to autistic job-seekers in regards to the recruitment process?
“In regards to advice about recruitment processes, I would say that be honest about your autism is the best approach. There will always be employers who have negative pre-conceptions but there also those who are more positive and open-minded.
Remember, your greatest strength is what makes you unique and you should never be ashamed of who you are!”
This is a strange, turbulent time for everyone, however particularly strange if you are autistic. This blog is a handy guide and some recommendations to help support autistic individuals, whether you are a parent/carer/friend or family member.
State the facts
Only state clear objective facts about the virus. Don’t engage or let them hear speculation. They will struggle to separate ‘what if’s’ from what is really happening. Try to answer their questions without giving unnecessary details that may alarm them.
There are some brilliant articles online about the facts, including this one from the NHS. A lot of the newspapers and media outlets speculate which can often make it harder to understand or decide what to believe in.
Over the past week there has been a lot in the news about stockpiling, and many items are running out in the supermarkets. Due the nature of whats happening, if you know an autistic individual that only eats certain foods its probably good to think about buying a few extras to ensure everyone remains safe and healthy.
Similarly, if someone is worried about the prevalence of the virus ask if they need anything from the supermarket. Going to busy places to even do basic things like the supermarket shop can be very worrying, especially as they are getting extremely chaotic.
Offices and schools around the world are closing, creating large disruptions to every day life. This can be a big change for autistic people may be moving to a prolonged school holiday or even a working from home situation.
Now is a great time to be talking about routines, and how autistic individuals can keep their routine as normal as possible. You can support people to continuously set their alarms, have the same meal times and interact with the same people on a daily basis. For example, if there is an office closure you can encourage someone to have a short phone call with their manager every day to keep life as routine as possible.
Mental health matters
A lot of events, gyms, cinemas and shops are limiting their hours so its really important to keep yourself active and support everyones mental health and do things we enjoy!
If you or someone you know is usually a gym goer, try doing some home workouts on youtube. Not only will you be spending some time together, but also keeping yourself moving! Other good things to do are putting a good film on or trying some home cooking.
Let them try their own coping mechanisms
Autistic individuals are pretty good at finding ways to cope. Someone has piled pillows outside his door to ‘stop the virus’. Will it in anyway help? No. Does it make him feel safe? Yes. Within reason let individuals cope how they need to.
At the end of the day we are all human and have different ways of dealing with things. We all can do our bit to support others during this situation.
If you or someone else needs additional support:
Further advice can be found on the NHS website
The latest advice from the government can be found here
Mind has a fantastic resource regarding the virus, your health and well being.
The department of education have set up a helpline to answer any questions related to education:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
And finally, if you need someone to talk to confidentially, feel free to give us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to direct you to additional support if needs be.
As part of our new ‘love what you do’ blog series we are interviewing autistic adults that love their jobs.
This week we have the fantastic Jenni-Marie, who works as a Learning Support Assistant within a school.
Jenni has provided a fantastic insight into the world of teaching and has given us some brilliant advice on finding and searching for jobs.
Thank you Jenni!
1.Hi Jenni, what’s your job and what do you do on a day to day basis?
“I’m a learning support assistant and have been doing this job for 4 years.
My working day starts at 8:40am I get the hours that I am working from my managers.
My first class starts at 9am and lunch is between 12-1pm. I finish work at between 2 and 3pm. My timetable is set so that I am not moved around like other Learning Support Assistant’s.
Unexpected changes are something I do not cope with very well and my managers are great at minimising change for me.
My manager adopted some reasonable adjustments to support me within the role. I have a set timetable because of my reaction to change.
I have a pink overlay and writing paper for if I have to take notes in class. I also have specially tinted lenses which I wear as glasses due to diagnosed Irlen Syndrome.
I only work 21 hours a week due to the fact that this job is where I socialise the most and mask my own difficulties which leaves me exhausted. My hours were agreed with myself, occupational health and my line manager.”
2. What do you love about your job?
“I enjoy the fact that I can socialise with people and that I am helping others which is something I am good at. I like the fact that I get to learn new things all the time which I soak up like sponge. Although my timetable is set no two days are the same.
The highlight of my job is being able to understand the students I work with because of my own difficulties.
The team I work with I am so lucky to have found. We aren’t just colleagues we are like a family. Everyone is warm, friendly and accepting. When I need the lights off in the staffroom it isn’t a problem, everyone understands its what I need to feel alright. Similarly if I am fidgeting or chewing my chew necklace everyone knows its what I need to regulate.
I love what I do because I have the most supportive line managers and colleagues.”
3. Why did you want to become a teacher?
“Although I am a learning support assistant I have always wanted to be a teacher, I think it comes from the fact that I am good at maths and I love to help others.”
4. After you made this decision, what did you do?
“I looked for jobs that in my local schools and colleges.
I found applying for jobs really overwhelming and the thought of interviews too.
When I did my interviews unbelievably I didn’t ask for any special arrangements, at that time I didn’t know I was autistic. Its thanks to my job that I was diagnosed first with Irlen syndrome three years ago and then autistic just last March!
Thinking back, I enjoyed going into new places and looking around which helped to settle the anxiety. I struggled with interviews, having to think of answers, the eye contact and the dry mouth.”
5. How do you think being autistic has impacted you in your teaching career?
“Before my diagnosis of autism I was diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome three years ago which means I am sensitive to light. Light sensitivity affects me everyday at work because the lights are so bright, the walls are white and the paper too.
It was hard to read on white paper and reading the white board was difficult.
I then got my lenses which help my brain to process the full spectrum of light, they have changed my life.
Being autistic the sound sensitivity is also sometimes difficult to deal with in the college setting. I did have an anxiety attack in the classroom, I felt like I needed to escape so I went for a walk up and down the corridor.
Being autistic in college can be difficult especially when I am in a position of authority/power but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Other LSAs are flexible and will go to new classes to cover for an LSA who is off work due to illness, but I struggle with change and so although I don’t mind being moved around I like to know in advance.
I’m not moved much because I get anxious being moved, not knowing a class, the tutor makes me uncomfortable if I’ve never been to it before.”
6. After a long day at work, what do you like to do?
“This is an easy one, I get home and I like to read. I head straight for the sofa and my weighted blanket, I love when it gets dark because I have sensory lights that I like to turn on which helps me to shutdown from a day of work. I like to build lego too, I like that all the small bits fits together to make a bigger picture. I like seeing how it all fits together, I have so many sets.”
7. What do you think is the most important thing to consider when finding a job that you love?
“I think you have to consider if it is the right environment for you and what support is available to you on the job should you need it.
I did get another job that worked alongside this one in a famous fast food restaurant but I couldn’t cope with the fact there was no routine and no apparent support or help for my needs on the job. I had to sadly give it up, but I realised you can only do what you can do even if that means low hours because trying to push yourself past your boundaries isn’t necessarily a good thing.
I remember in the summer I was at a point of burn out and it was purely because I had not had enough time for my body to shutdown and switch off.
Also don’t be afraid to ask for help, no question is a silly one.”
8. What advice would you give to autistic job-seekers who haven’t yet decided what career path to take?
“I would say there is no rush to jump into a job. Find something you’re good at that you or that you’re interested in. See if you can set up a look around the place to get a feel for it, this can help you to visualise what the job entails and whether you would be able to get on in the environment and ask any questions you need around your difficulties.”
9. What advice would you give to autistic job-seekers in regards to the recruitment process?
“When you’re getting overwhelmed stop, give yourself a break.
Get someone else to read through your applications.
Instead of repeating yourself make a word document that can be copied and pasted and tailored to each job, believe me it saves you time, not only from processing the questions and also your own responses but the time it takes to fill it out.
In interviews if you need any assistance don’t be afraid to ask for it, its better to be open from the start so that if you do get the job your manager or boss will know what reasonable adjustments to put into place for you.”
10. And finally, what advice would you give to other autistic job-seekers who are thinking about starting a teaching career?
“I would say go for it, don’t let your disability put you off. College is pretty much timetable based and so routine is really easy to put into place and follow if routine is what you need. Equally if you’re not someone who likes to stick to routine but wants variety the flexibility is great in this job. This job I feel is rewarding and your needs are catered for.”
How Stack Recruitment helped the fantastic Ellie, an autistic adult, find meaningful employment.
Emily here! This blog is all about Ellie and how she gained meaningful employment with a bit of support from us at Stack Recruitment.
The start of Ellie’s job search…
Ellie messaged Stack in October 2019 as she wanted to kickstart her job search again. She was made redundant a year previously and had applied for many roles, but had unfortunately had no luck.
I met Ellie on a chilly day in Reading, where we headed for a coffee to share stories and make a plan of action to help her find meaningful employment. She told me that she found applying for jobs stressful as an autistic adult, especially with the anxiety associated with the interview and feeling like she had to mask her autism to appear ‘neurotypical’. This really impacted her self esteem and meant she couldn’t go any further with her job search.
We spoke about her ideal career, skills and experience and I could automatically see she had a lot of potential but needed a bit of support to bring her confidence back. We decided to create a plan to match her to a fantastic job and get her job search started.
Ellie gets hired!
Fast forward to November and Ellie has landed a job interview! This is amazing as the job is the perfect number of hours and an ideal commute, meaning she can still be close to her family.
We arrange a phone call to help her prepare. This involves ensuring she’s getting the right reasonable adjustments to reduce anxiety and to make sure she’s comfortable.
She absolutely smashes it and gets the job!
“They were extremely sensitive to my needs, they even got the supervisor to show me some machinery in action to ensure that it was ok for me. Thank you so much for your help. And guess what? I can wear my Doc Martens and jeans!”
“Omg!!! I can’t believe it! I feel so happy but choked up, a weird feeling! Thank you so much, I just can’t believe someone would say something so nice about me!”
Visiting Tea People’s newest employee!
I went and visited Ellie in her new role at Tea People in January to see how she was getting on. On arrival, I met Ellie’s employers, Vishaka and Neeraj, who are also the founders of the business.
After sampling some of their award winning tea, I learnt all about Tea People, their commitment to helping those less fortunate and hiring neurodiverse employees.
Tea People are a fine speciality tea company that develop and produce hundreds of fine tea blends. As well as this, they are a social enterprise that helps address the educational development of impoverished areas in India.
Ellie works in the operations side of Tea People where she does everything from receiving orders, sorting through stock, packaging items within a small team and providing excellent customer service.
It was clear to see Ellie was flourishing in her new role! It was great to see her confidence levels had increased since we first met and the smile on her face when she was working.
Changing the attitudes of employers
I had a great time visiting Ellie and meeting the founders of Tea People. Seeing her happy and flourishing in her new role is rewarding, however another huge benefit of what we do is when we see employers realise the benefits of hiring autistic talent.
“Initially we we’re concerned about hiring an autistic individual, however we are so pleased we did as Ellie is an asset to our company”
Neurodiversity can be such a huge benefit to employers, and with the right support they can create an inclusive workforce.
Thanks to Tea People for having me and showing me your wonderful business.
How Stack Recruitment can help you
Here at Stack, we help employers hire autistic talent through our specialised recruitment agency model. All you have to do is submit your vacancy to get started!
Does the idea of networking make you feel uncomfortable? You are certainly not alone. Making professional connections is a critical aspect of career-building in most industries. An estimated 70-85% of people find work through networking. For autistic job seekers, however, networking can feel like navigating an endless array of exhausting social practices without much payoff. Finding a way to make it work for you takes some work upfront, but it is well worth it to figure out how to make meaningful professional connections while being yourself.
1. Let your interests guide your connections
Rather than focusing on how many different emails you could get at a networking event, for example, prioritize depth over breadth. Identify one or two people you might like to talk to, and ask them questions about their work. Showing genuine curiosity about what they do can help build the beginnings of a constructive connection. Plus, this 1:1 approach helps limit sensory overload and social exhaustion. Remember also that the ability many autistic people have to focus intently on a special interest can be a significant asset: One well-crafted, in-depth, thoughtful request for an informational interview or coffee chat can be more effective than twenty attempts you’re not so enthusiastic about.
2. Use social scripts to your advantage
Ideally you’ll have the opportunity to communicate in your own way, in your own voice. However, because autistic job seekers are in the minority in most industries, you may come across people who don’t understand the way you naturally communicate. Taking note of and practicing social scripts can be a helpful resource for you to use at your own discretion. A common form of social script for job seekers of all neurotypes is the “elevator pitch.” This is your 30-60 second opportunity to share only the most essential elements of who you are and what you have to offer as a job seeker. Take your time writing out your elevator pitch, practicing it out loud, or asking someone close to you to help you put it together. Using an elevator pitch can feel a little awkward initially, but the more you practice, the more confident you will sound. Here are some examplesto get you started.
3. Take self-care seriously
Seriously: searching for a job can become tiring, frustrating, and demoralizing if you’re not giving yourself enough breaks or pacing yourself in a healthy way. The better you feel physically and mentally, the better a chance you’ll have at showcasing your best self to potential connections. A lot of autistic people grow up feeling that assimilation and masking are necessary 24/7 in order to find and keep a job. It is critically important to remember that you are worthy of a career that feels fulfilling for you, exactly as you are. Making the connections required to build that career may take additional time, adaptations to neurotypical networking skills, and support, and that is absolutely okay.
For many of us, we kick off New Year making New Years resolutions that often include diet and exercise in the hope for renewed health.
Regular exercise is fantastic and can help not only keep you in shape, but increase your mental health and keep your internal organs healthy.
However did you know that exercise can also help autistic individuals self-regulate and manage stress?
Coach Dave Geslak has created exercise programs for people on the autism spectrum using structure and visual supports. The Exercise Connection programmes are proven to improve body image, motor coordination, posture, muscular and cardiovascular fitness. This helps boost confidence, relationships and wellbeing.
We’ve come up with 4 tips to help boost your health in the New Year as an autistic adult!
- Recreational sports
Team sports such as football, hockey and netball can have great health benefits and also help you socialise with likeminded individuals. Research has shown that taking part in sport can decrease the frequency of negative, self-stimulating behaviours common among people with autism, such as body rocking or head nodding. Additionally, team sports can discourage aggressive behaviour. Its also common that team sports meet at the same time at the same place and with the same people, which can really help create a positive routine doing something you love. Many universities have sports clubs you can join and if you live in London, you can benefit from Go Mammoths sports clubs.
Yoga is not only good for your physical body, but it also promotes self-regulation, helps you relax and alleviate stress. Yoga can be done at the comfort of your own home and with little equipment, making it easy to stick to when you first wake up or go to bed. For more ideas on how to implement yoga, have a look at Asanas for Autism and Special Needs. Peaceful Pathways yoga studio has collected a number of articles about yoga and special needs.
For many people with autism, the peace and quiet associated with the natural world is a great stress reliever. Its a great way to exercise and enjoy nature without the pressure of intense social communication. The UK is lucky to have such fantastic walks and parks which makes it easy for anyone to experience the great outdoors. Walking Britain’s ‘walks near me’ is a great resource to find walks on your doorstep. However if you don’t want to walk by yourself you can always try Borrow My Doggy to find a furry friend to accompany you!
Swimming is a great exercise and can be done individually or as a team sport. There are so many pools in the UK that are cheap to use, as well as many swimming clubs. As well as this, lidos and outdoor swimming is becoming increasingly popular, helping people to access the great outdoors and doing something great for your health.
This blog has given you 4 ideas to kickstart your health and fitness goals as an autistic adult. Of course, everyone is different and there are lots of different ways to exercise. Its important to try different things out and find what works for you!
Christmas! The most wonderful time of the year for many. A time for sharing gifts, laughter and spending time with your love ones. However, Christmas often comes with higher levels of stress. For the neurotypical, this may be manageable, but for the 700,000 people in the UK that are on the autistic spectrum, Christmas has the potential to cause high levels on anxiety and distress.
Autism impacts how a person experiences the world around them, including how they see, hear and feel. The Christmas period is a busy time, defined by bright lights, lots of social events and loud noises which can be overwhelming for an autistic adult. Luckily, as a friend or family of an autistic adult, there are lots of things you can do to make this time happy and enjoyable for them.
- Ask them what works best for them
The Christmas period is a time of colourful flashing lights, loud music and decorations. This can be highly distressing for an autistic adult due to their sensory needs.
The National Autistic Society ran a campaign to help the public understand how autistic individuals process the world around them. The campaign, called ‘too much information’, has over 6.6 million views and highlighted that an autistic person can be sensitive to lights, sounds and smells. All of these things can go into overdrive at Christmas.
If you are having friends or family over and you know one of them is autistic, ask them (or their family) about their personal preferences to things like decorations, music and overwhelming smells (e.g. candles or incense). Just like you would ask if someone has any allergies you should be aware of, you’re asking how to make them feel comfortable in your home.
This could be anything, from turning the music down a bit or turning your Christmas lights of the flashing mode. These simple adjustments can help a lot!
2. Let them know where they can go to take a break if needed
Everyone needs a break from the Christmas cheer! If you have an autistic adult visiting, letting them know where they can escape to for a break if they need to. This is particularly helpful when they may not know the layout of your home or feel rude asking.
Planning your day in with an hours down time is especially helpful. This means that everyone can get a bit of rest, quieten down and enjoy the peace and quiet for a bit!
3. Try and keep schedules as normal as possible
The need for routine and predictability is common with autism, as Christmas brings a whole host of new events, activities, foods and people. You can help an autistic adult by trying to keep their schedule as normal as possible. This may include waking up and going to bed at the same time, eating meals at regular times and doing things they’re familiar with.
Other simple things that you should be mindful of include arriving on time to plans, following any schedule they provide for the meeting, and offering to work around their normal routine wherever possible. Remember, what may seem insignificant to you, like cancelling a get together or being 10 minutes late, can have serious implications to an autistic person’s emotional state.
4. Help them prepare for meeting new people
Socialising can be difficult for an autistic adult, especially when they’re meeting new people and faces. Autism may affect how well they are able to pick up social cues, especially when they haven’t met the person before and may not understand how to interact with their type of communication or humour.
One way you can help is by introducing the person before hand. This could involve something as simple as showing them photographs of them on your phone, describing a bit about who they are and how you know them. This helps reduce anxiety and gives them something to talk about when they meet.
This of course, is easier for events where you know everyone attending before hand. However, there are often situations where you may not. In this case, ask them if they would like to stay with you during the event. You can even discuss beforehand what they would like you to do if you notice them become distressed. This could be something as simple as getting some fresh air, finding a quiet space or excusing them from a conversation. This comes back to the first point; asking someone how they prefer to handle difficult situations can be the best way to provide the support they need.
5. Be patient and enjoy!
At Christmas, things don’t always go to schedule and unexpected changes or problems are sometimes unavoidable. Be aware that your friend, family member or child may not react well to this and provide them with the understanding and patience you would hope for if you were struggling.
Enjoy yourselves! Everyone is different and it can be exhausting for anyone. Remember to take some time out and relax and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.
Have a lovely Christmas from Stack Recruitment!
This week I had the pleasure to speak to Tyla from Adulting with Autism. She shared her motivations behind starting a blog and her experiences finding work as an autistic female. Huge thanks to Tyla for sharing!
1) What inspired you to start your adulting with autism blog?
When I was getting ready to leave university there wasn’t much help or support affordable and available for someone like who was going on to live a fully independent life. A lot of my peers were moving back home or had a job lined up and for many reasons I had neither but also couldn’t find any information that was tailored for autistic people on how to tackle such a big change and get yourself up to adult ‘right’.
2) How would you like your blog to help other autistic people that are becoming adults?
The blog is a mix or personal anecdotes documenting my mess ups and tips but mainly just following my journey into / through adulthood. So I like to think it’ll help others feel less helpless and alone. There are plans for the future where I’ll hold more practical adulting skills workshops.
3) What do you think the preconceptions of autistic people are and how would you say they are different?
Preconceptions are just that it’s a social disability and you’ve difficulty making friends when it goes beyond that. The comorbid conditions, isolation from then world around us and just generally not being on the same page as everyone else is tiring. It’s a draining, a simple catch up with friends can have your head in a spin if more than one person talks at once. Emails worded to be polite when really theres an urgency mean we get in trouble at work like autism doesn’t present itself the same way in every person but on the hole, we’re sound people who are often misunderstood.
4) What do you think is most difficult about being an autistic adult?
At the minute for me dating and relationships, by time I’ve finished with work, made sure my house is in order and tied up all the important loose ends I find I don’t have the capacity to deal with meeting new people and then when I do getting them to understand they have to communicate with me differently and that what I say is what I mean is hard. So many times lads say to me “oh I’ll take the hint” and I’m there searching for the hint because to me there wasn’t one! Haha.
5) What do you is most difficult about being autistic and finding a meaningful job?
I thinking what constitutes as meaningful job is different to everyone, some people need their job to define them I just need to be happy in my workplace and not be stressed out over stimulated by the work. So my job as a Data Analyst plays well to my autistic traits of pattern spotting and ability to do repetitive tasks and hyper focus but beyond that, it doesn’t reflect me as a person. I like to think I’m creative and my ideal role would be to put my interest in social media to use and consult small to medium sized business and educate them on how best to use social media for their company. My main difficulty in doing that is right now I don’t have the skills to be a freelancer or the experience to work for someone else which I’m sure is the case for many people.
6) What advice would you give to others searching for work?
Rejection is redirection. And don’t hold back from applying for a role, even if you think you’re not good enough let them (the employer) decide. Who are you to decide really you don’t have enough information to make that call, you could be the most qualified person who puts there name forward so just do it!
7) What advice would you give to employers looking to hire autistic employees?
If I’m honest I’d really question why you want an autistic person specifically and if it’s based on any stereotypes about the way we work then make sure you ask in the interview how the person works and likes to be managed. Also set your boundaries and make things clear, it’s better to tell them they need to be in at 9am than mark down they’ve been late 3 times and ask why because you hoped it’d sort itself out.
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