Corona virus has impacted the way that we are all working. With the majority of companies now working from home to limit the risk of spread, we have all had to adapt to how we work.
It is disputed that a lot more companies will now offer remote working even after Corona virus because of how effective and easy it has been to implement and the opportunity that it offers employees such as seeing their families more and saving money by not having to commute.
While working from home has not been the biggest of challenges for us all it has been and continues to be a difficult transition for autistic employees.
This week’s blog will offer 5 tips to help autistic employees develop a new routine and transition to the new normal of working from home.
1. Keeping your morning routine
The first tip that we recommend is keeping your morning routine the same. What we mean by this is keeping your morning schedule running as normal as possible so, waking up at the same time and following your usual daily actives, like showering and eating breakfast. This is so you don’t have to experience more change than necessary and so that you do not need to alter your daily routines any further.
Although working from home has been hard, its particularly hard for those on the spectrum, and can significantly cause anxiety and impact their mental health.
- Waking up an hour later every day can affect your work productivity. For instance, having a lie in will leave you feeling de-energized for work when you do have to get up to join your Monday morning weekly meeting at 9am.
- Or how consistently getting up later each morning may result in you going to bed later each night. Until one morning you miss your alarm and become late for your work meeting which can could have disastrous consequences for your employment.
- Or even how getting up later could also affect your routine and productivity if you had to work from the office one morning. Resulting in you having to alter your routine to get up earlier to commute in; and by the time you are in your have a very unproductive day because your so tired as you had to get up and leave an hour early to arrive on time.
2. Getting dressed
Our second recommendation is to make sure you are getting dressed. It is easy to just sit in our pyjamas all day and I’m sure it is something we are all guilty of doing at least once!
Choosing to not get dressed when working from home can have consequences for out work. It has been proven that not getting dressed decreases our productivity.
For an autistic employee getting dressed for work is another part of their morning routine and altering this as we have already mentioned can result in more barrier for their day to day activity so we recommend for this reason that you continue to follow this part of your routine and get dressed ready for work.
Another reason we recommend this is because sitting in your pyjamas all day everyday can take a toll on ones mental health. Autistic individuals are more likely that neuro-typical individuals to suffer from mental health conditions.
Sitting in one’s pyjamas all day can make you feel sluggish, depressed and affect your motivation. For somebody autistic these feelings are likely to be amplified and come on faster.
To stop this occurring we recommend that you continue to get dressed ready for work as it will help your state of mind, continue your routine meaning less change and is just the more professional thing to do.
3. Space to work
The third tip we want to advise is that you make sure you have somewhere that you can work. This space should be light, clean, quiet, and organised.
Having your own space equipped with all the things you need and may require will allow you to focus and will help increase your productivity as you won’t have to break momentum to go and grab the highlighter you left in your bag in the hallway.
We also recommend laying your desk out the way it is at your work this will again help you with the change and routine as everything will be in the more familiar layout that you are used to.
If you do not have a spare room or an office that you can call your own space I would recommend finding a nook in one of the rooms you do have that you can make sure own such as the kitchen table. I would advise against working from your bed and this is not good for your posture and is not an ideal space for writing and making notes.
4. Scheduling dates
Working from home will result in using a variety of different methods of communication such as zoom and Microsoft teams calls, WhatsApp voice notes, and Whereby video calls. Using a variety of platforms can get confusing therefore, it is best to have a diary to schedule in daily calls and activities. This will help to keep your work-life organised and keep your focus and productivity up.
There are many ways you may choose to schedule your appointments for example you might find that a wall planner is best for you; as everything gets complied on one sheet. Similarly, a diary is another option, you can view a daily or weekly schedule and there is normally a notes section that you can use throughout the day.
Another option is an online calendar such as google calendar this may be more effective if you are constantly using different platforms for calls as you can add the links so it takes you directly to the call. It also notifies you 10 minutes before that you have a call due.
5. Taking breaks…
Autistic employees are often described as hard workers and being at home they will work just as hard as they would in their job. One of the struggles for them being at home is that they will get so focused in what they are doing that they will not realise the time and will forget to take their breaks.
It is easy to forget when working from home to take your allotted breaks. Taking breaks will allow you time to rest and recover, to eat and drink and just do something that has no focus or relevance to your work whatsoever. This is important as it can affect your productivity and can re-energize you for the second half of your day. Taking your much-needed breaks also gets you up and about which as previously stated can impact your mental health. It gets you moving which is one of the contributing factors to ill-mental health.
Taking breaks also decreases your chance of burn-out and can affect your physical health too as it forces you to do something other than look at a computer screen all day which can cause headaches.
Thanks for reading this weeks blog, we hope that we have addressed some of the challenges with transitioning to working from home and that you have found our advice and tips useful. We hope that this blog is useful for you not only now during Corona virus but also if the future should you ever be torn between working remotely or from your job site.
By Jinaka Ugochukwu
According to a 2017 survey carried out by the NAS (National Autistic Society), only 16% of autistic adults are in full time employment and 77% of those unemployed would like to be in employment.
How can we bridge the Autistic employment gap?
It can be especially daunting if you’re a parent and your child is leaving education and thinking about their next steps, including finding a job and becoming an adult.
The following tips are useful to consider if you are a parent or carer of an autistic child and they are starting to look for a job.
1.Help to explore interests and skills
There are many ways to think about interests and skills but the next four activities may give you some inspiration.
Ask the person you are supporting about a typical day (or they can write it down). They/you should note down what activities they do. Then rate each activity on a scale from 1 to 3 (1- I love doing it, 2- I don’t mind doing it, 3- I really dislike it)
This activity can help someone to identify what they may like to do more or less of and perhaps what activities they may like in an ideal job.
Starting with the activities that are rated 1 (I love doing it), use post-it notes to list what skills are involved in completing that activity. This website may help you think about activities from a skills-based perspective.
Use the list of skills and think of a job that requires at least one of the skills. The more skills in the skill list it uses the better.
2. Explore their strengths and weaknesses
Ask the person you are supporting to answer these questions:
- What am I good at?
- What have others complimented me about?
- Which projects and tasks seem to use up my energy?
- What have others had to help me with on more than one occasion?
- What can I spend hours doing without feeling tired or bored?
- When I have free time what do I like to do? Why?
These answers in addition to the answers from Activities 1-3 can start to paint a picture of jobs that might be suitable.
2.Discuss this important question: Independent or supported employment?
Can they work independently or do they need supported employment?
If supported work is needed in the workplace, the government scheme called Access to Work (in the UK) might be useful. It is a scheme which provides grants to support people in the workplace and can help an employer pay for specialist equipment or any other adjustments which can help an individual in the workplace.
3. Explore ‘autistic friendly’ organisations together
In theory, every organisation should be an autism friendly workplace but the reality is sometimes different. Theres a few ways to find employers that can really support your child.
Firstly, the disability confident scheme recognises employers that are committed to hiring disabled employees.
Secondly, there are increasingly many schemes in places that recognises employers that are committed to hiring autistic individuals. These include P&G, Siemens, Auticon and Ernest and Young.
Stack only partners with autistic friendly organisations. Register here if you’re looking for employment.
4. Set a good example and share your work experiences
If you are employed it can be really helpful to share your experiences, including talking about what you do, what you do on a daily basis and rituals. Examples of these include making small talk in the mornings, contributing to collections and signing birthday cards and navigating the office lifestyle.
5. Offer guidance on writing CVs and cover letters
Many jobs still require an application form or a CV. Therefore, completing either of these can be really difficult for every job-seeker, not just an adult with autism.
Check out our guide to writing a basic CV so you can be in the best position to support an autistic individual with this task.
You can also email us at email@example.com to get access to our CV and cover letter templates.
6. Offer assistance writing application forms
Did you know that the key to a successful application form is to show competence in a skill?
Bear this in mind when someone asks you for help. The STAR framework is a popular way for people to think about their experiences and demonstrate competence in required skills. This technique can be useful both in applications, cover letters and interviews.
S Situation Where/When/With whom?
T Task Describe what you hoped to achieve
A Action Describe what you did
R Result What did you achieve? What skills did you develop?
‘While I typically like to plan out my work in stages and complete it piece by piece, I can also achieve high-quality work results under tight deadlines. Once, in a previous role, an employee left days before the imminent deadline of one of his tasks. I was asked to assume responsibility for it, with only a few days to learn about it and complete it. I asked other people to help and delegated tasks so we were all able to complete it with a day to spare.’
7. Mock interviews
Great, so your child has got a job interview! This is fantastic news, but can be daunting for an autistic individual.
One way to prepare for this is through role play. A good way to do this is by using the job description and preparing potential interview questions such as:
- Why do you want this role?
- Give me an example of a time where you’ve worked well in a team?
- What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?
Wearing appropriate clothing can help it feel more realistic and you can even ask someone you know to act as the employer, which may make it feel more formal. This helps your child prepare for the interview and practice in a less formal setting.
8. Brush up on the law
a) If you think the person you’re helping would benefit from adjustments so they they can perform their best at interviews and within the job the law could help.
b) However, an individual doesn’t have to disclose the fact they’re autistic, but could benefit in three key ways:
- Employers have a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ within the recruitment process and the job
- If reasonable adjustments are put in place, people are likely to be more successful at work and may find work less stressful.
- If colleagues know that someone is autistic, they are likely to be more understanding which can help build better relationships.
9. Collaborate on a safety plan
We really hope everything goes well in the workplace however remember this final tip just in case.
Support them to write a safety plan that they can follow. The plan will remind them about how they want to manage a situation that isn’t going well.
The following questions can help them form this plan:
- How will you know that all isn’t well?
- Who will you tell?
- How would you want them to help you?
Most people find the process of looking for work artificial, stressful and difficult to manage. We hope this article has given you tips and tricks to support your autistic child to make it a more comfortable process.
If your child is looking for work, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can support them on their journey.
By Anna Everts
This blog discusses how you can communicate your needs as an autistic adult within your job and gives you recommendations on how to start the conversation with your manager and colleagues. This blog is written by an autistic writer, for autistic job-seekers.
For a lot of people, working 9-5 is the norm, and you will likely be spending a lot of time within your workplace with your colleagues. This means that it’s essential for the workplace to be a place where you feel appreciated and understood. But the latter poses a problem for many autistic individuals. Being misunderstood is a common problem that autistics face and it can be really frustrating.
Frustrating as it may be, it’s not an unsolvable problem. By using clear communication towards your employer and your co-workers, it’s possible to create an environment where everyone’s needs are met.
But how do you start such a conversation? What can you expect? Here’s a short guide on how to best communicate your needs.
1. Make a plan
If you want the conversation with your employer and/or your co-workers to go smoothly, you need to know what you are going to say to them. It’s important to create a list with the topics you want to discuss. Is your workplace too noisy and are you looking for somewhere more quiet?
Write down why the noise bothers you, what effects it has on you and your work, what you would like to change about the situation and what the outcome would be.
“My autism causes me to be very sensitive to sounds. In the workplace I’ve found myself being distracted by the sounds of people using their keyboard or calling a client. It often becomes overwhelming at the end of the day.
This negatively impacts my work and that’s very unfortunate. That’s why I want to start wearing noise-cancelling headphones to prevent a sensory overload. That way I can do my job effectively.“
“Recently I’ve noticed some friction between me and my colleagues. I’m not able to execute my tasks correctly because I feel like I’m missing information. I struggle explaining this to my colleagues and I don’t want to take up too much of their time by asking a lot of questions every time.
That’s why I suggest making a briefing format that answers all questions at once. I’m more than willing to create this format. That way colleagues can simply fill in the briefing document and mail it to me at the beginning of a task. This prevents having to ask them about the missing information and this saves both parties a lot of time.“
For every problem you face you should write down a possible solution. If you can’t find one, ask your employer or co-workers to think of some solutions with you. The important thing is that you’re showing that you’re taking an effort to solve this. Showing initiative is key.
You can use this plan to make notes for your conversation or actually use it as a script. Do what works best for you and keep in mind that people won’t be able to help you if they don’t know what the problem is. That’s why you need to properly explain the problem. If you struggle putting words on paper, ask someone to help you. Stack Recruitment is able to help you with this and is more than happy to do so!
2. Plan the conversation
Sometimes it’s difficult to pick the right moment to plan a conversation. Especially a conversation like this can be nerve-wracking and therefore takes some courage. It can be hard to read the other person. Are they busy? Are they in the right mood for this?
Once you’ve gathered your nerve, pick a moment to approach the person you want to have a conversation with. When you do this, make sure to check if they have time. If their schedule is full, they might not have time for you or won’t give you the time you need to explain your situation. That’s why you should ask the person in question (something along the lines of) the following:
“There’s something I’d like to discuss with you and it might take up some time. Can we schedule a moment for this conversation?”
By saying this, you inform the other person about your need for a conversation while also giving them time to process it and pick a moment that works for them as well. It ensures that both parties go into the conversation prepared.
If you need help preparing the conversation, Stack offers guidance and advice. That way you’ll be ensured that you’re ready for this big step. We’ll help you find the right people for the conversation and help you with the steps that follow.
3. Have the conversation
Probably the most scary part of all this is the conversation itself. There’s no way of knowing the outcome beforehand and that can be enough to make anyone nervous. So as you’re going into the meeting, keep your notes close and make sure you’ve written down everything you want to say.
Listen to the other person and make sure you show you understand. At the end of the conversation both sides need to be aware of what the other person’s thoughts are about the issue. That’s why it’s important to both communicate clearly and listen carefully.
If you feel like you’re not being listened to, or you feel like you’re being misunderstood, say so. This conversation is meant to help you, not make things worse. Stay polite and try to stay calm. It’s the only way to make sure the conversation goes smoothly.
If you still feel like nothing has changed at the end of the conversation, see if you can talk to someone else, or have someone be with you during the next conversation. Sometimes other people can explain the issue more clearly. There’s no shame in asking for help. Stack Recruitment can help you make this difficult conversation easier. We offer support and guidance throughout the entire process.
After you’ve had the conversation and things have been set in motion to solve the issue, you need to re-evaluate the situation. How are things going now? Are you still facing the same issues? Or is there still room for improvement?
It’s a good idea to schedule another meeting with your employer or co-worker, depending on who you had the first conversation with, and re-evaluate the situation together. Working with others requires teamwork and team effort. That means both parties need to put in the work to make it a success. If you need help re-evaluating or planning another conversation, don’t be afraid to reach out to us!
If you find yourself struggling with this process or are unsure how to start planning, feel free to contact us. Here at Stack are ready for you to support you and help you get the guidance you need. We’re here for you from step one all the way to step four, and even beyond that.
If you’re looking for a job, its a big thing. It takes time, effort and concentration. Especially if you’re an autistic job-seeker, the effect of this pandemic can have a huge impact and make the whole process scary. We don’t know whats going to happen and the situation changes every day. This poses the question: should you continue your job search? This blog aims to answer this question and support you during your journey!
Yes – Job interviews are being done remotely:
The recent news state that human contact should be kept to a minimum. For this reason, many companies are turning to video call to keep their recruitment processes running.
This can really benefit autistic job-seekers, as you can speak to hiring managers from a comfortable environment, which may reduce some of the anxiety associated with the interview setting. Here are some really good tips on preparing for a virtual interview.
As a jobs board and recruitment agency, we have always focused on flexibility and ensuring everything can be kept virtual, to keep our service accessible for everyone. This is why we are still running our job coaching service virtually, to continuously support our job-seekers.
Yes – More remote opportunities:
More and more companies are choosing to work from home. This is emphasising the need to create a strong, remote workforce both now and in the future.
Research suggests that over the next year, the importance of a remote workforce will significantly increase. This should favour the autistic community, as more opportunities should offer flexible, home working opportunities, making employment more accessible for neuro-diverse employees.
However there will be delays to the recruitment process, as we move from office working to home working, so try and be patient with your search. If you need any extra support, contact us.
Yes – Not every industry will suffer:
Despite the economy being unstable right now, there are industries that will be able to get through this hard time. These include, nonprofits, governmental organisations, cleaners, medical practices and delivery services to name a few.
Some industries and companies may be requiring extra employees and its important to keep an eye out for emerging trends, as they could be great opportunities.
No – The uncertainty:
It is clear the Coronavirus is causing significant levels of uncertainty for employers. Some employers are putting off hiring completely, which will in effect slow down hiring.
On the other hand, this can mean employers may have previously posted a job, but are taking their time to sort out their recruitment processes before making big decisions.
If you’re an autistic job-seeker this could make you feel anxious and unsure about where you’re at. It is so important to put your health a priority and keep yourself safe.
Things you can do instead:
Work on your skills:
Now is a fantastic time to learn new skills. There are lots of free courses, youtube videos and webinars out there to help you learn. Examples of websites to use include: Open University, Coursera, Teachable and Skillshare.
If you want some time away from your computer screen, you could also develop your interests, such as a sport, an art form, website development, coding, music or dance! Remember, interests are a great way to show employers who you are as a person and show them what interests you!
Develop your CV:
Your CV is one of the key tools that helps an employer understand who you are and what experience you have. On average, an employer spends approximately 30 seconds reviewing each CV when someone applies for a role. This is why its so important to have it updated and presentable.
If you need extra support or are not sure where to start, contact Stack and we can help you develop your CV and provide valuable feedback.
Get a Linkedin profile:
If you’ve already got a LinkedIn profile, great! If not, its a really useful tool to have to not only search for jobs, but connect with employers and professionals.
Its very easy to set up, and the search for jobs feature is simple to use. You can even select specific filters, such as distance away from where you live, entry level roles, job types and industry.
Send your CV to Stack Recruitment
Despite all this happening, we are fully operational. If you are an autistic job-seeker, we will help you start your job search through 1-1 virtual weekly meetings.
However, we understand that some people communicate differently, so we are also able to help through emails, phone calls or WhatsApp!
Get in touch today at email@example.com.
Safe say and stay positive!
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.
For more useful tips visit our blog.
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 offering 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 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.
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 practising 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 neuro types 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, practising 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 other useful resources visit our blog.
When searching for autistic-friendly jobs, the physical layout of an office space can also be a critical consideration. Open office plans are common in many workspaces today, even though they are proven to make it harder to be productive. They’re even more challenging for #actuallyautistic people, however. A divider-free layout can easily become a boundary-less sensory minefield. Here are four tactics you can use to avoid sensory overload and make your job autistic-friendly.
1. Re-arrange your workspace
Let’s say you arrive for your very first day of work and your manager shows you to a desk in the middle of a crowded workspace. Think about what types of physical elements help you focused and centered. There’s nothing wrong with bringing in a mini divider or using fabric to create a cubicle effect. Also, take as much ownership over the color scheme and object orientation of your workspace as you can. Some employers put office supplies or other objects out as a default; don’t be afraid to bring in stimming toys, move things around, and make the space yours.
2. Always keep a pair of headphones at your desk
Communication tools like Slack mean that you can get a colleague’s attention without physically going up to them to ask a question. A pair of noise-canceling headphones can make the difference between a productive workday and an exhausting one. You can also try the noise-isolating option, which reduces the amount of sound you hear. If you have regular headphones on you, try playing a type of music that blocks out outside noise without breaking your focus. For some people, that’s classical; for others, it’s music in a different language, movie scores, or techno.
3. Practice setting boundaries with coworkers
If coworkers are frequently interrupting you, encroaching on your workspace, or doing anything else that’s preventing you from being productive, let them know! A polite way to do so is to be clear, calm, and direct in stating your need, e.g. “Would you mind sending me an email? I’m on a roll right now and would love to finish this project.” or “I’d be happy to connect with you about this afternoon – feel free to put some time on my calendar!”
4. Ask HR or your boss for accommodations
When asking for accommodations, especially in companies that don’t have a formal HR department, it’s best to be as specific as possible about what you need. Try asking for adjusted hours if you just can’t focus in an open office and you need to come in earlier to get work done. You can also ask for the use of a backup space, such as a spare office or an area of your workplace that isn’t too crowded.
When looking for autistic friendly jobs, don’t let an open office deter you from doing work you really love! With a little bit of creativity and proactivity, you can make your office space work for you.
For other useful resources visit our blog.
This article previously appeared on LinkedIn.
In the article, Microsoft Wants Autistic Coders. Can It Find Them And Keep Them?” Vauhini Vara reported:
“ . . . millions of adults with autism often find themselves in a difficult bind. They struggle to get and keep jobs because of the disability, but if they disclose it so they can seek accommodations while applying or working—just as someone in a wheelchair, for instance, might request a ramp—they risk facing discrimination from managers or colleagues who mistakenly believe autism, because it affects the brain, must make them less able workers.”
The Virginia Commonwealth University website states: disclosing “may be a major cause of anxiety or concern for people with disabilities as well as those who assist them when looking for a job.”
It’s important to understand the sensitive subject matter of disclosure.
In a recent phone conversation I had with Adam Glass, the Career Path Coordinator at The Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM), Glass noted that some students state something along these lines:
I don’t want to be treated differently. I don’t want to be associated with autism . . . I don’t want to be seen for my weakness.
Despite the college students’ justifiable trepidation, as part of the AIM program at Mercyhurst University, Glass encourages the students to disclose their disability.
He explains they don’t have to necessarily disclose autism upfront but can choose to disclose a symptomology disclosure. In other words, to disclose a coexisting condition such as sensory integration challenges or a subset of a condition such as over sensitivity to specific uniform fabrics.
Glass takes time throughout the year to explain what disclosing a diagnosis of autism can and cannot do, and poses all options, including what happens if you do and what happens if you don’t.
He asks each pupil to choose what feels right for you and advices to follow your dreams not stay in a bubble. He informs students of their legal rights and advices if you don’t disclose, you won’t know what options and accommodations you might have access to. He helps students to interpret the law and to understand their employment rights. When Glass and his colleagues travel to meet with employers, who have autism hiring initiatives, they bring some of their students along. And quite often, meeting face-to-face, the potential employees ask the autistic students, “What do you need from us?”
What Glass is doing is inspiring, and something that ought to be implemented on high school campuses and college campuses nationwide.
His primary goal is to empower and encourage. And part of this goal is achieved through teaching the basics of disclosing. He teaches autism is an integrate part of you, but it’s never you. He emphasizes the divide between individuals who push onward and those that don’t. What I would call resilience. And what autistics can offer that others cannot.
When an individual is considering whether or not to disclose a diagnosis of autism several factors come into play:
· How self-confident and knowledgeable about autism is the individual?
· Does the individual have a mentor or support person?
· Is the individual aware of disability rights?
· Is the individual able to ask for reasonable accommodations, if needed?
· Is the individual resilient and able to face probable stereotyping, assumptions, and misinterpretations?
· Is the individual self-empowered?
Before setting any person, whether young or old, on the path of disclosing in the workplace, we must be realistic.
Most autistics, after disclosing on the job, face some form of discrimination, myself included.
Take for example what an audiologist from the UK wrote:
“If I choose to disclose my AS (Aspergers) at work, management is initially understanding but then put me in difficult environments due to my experience and end up refusing to make any environmental or procedural adaptations for me. This leads to increased absence, anxiety, rigid thinking, inflexibility and ultimately meltdown (which occurs outside of the workplace, negatively affecting friends, family and romantic relationships). I usually resign before I meltdown at work. I am concerned that I will become unemployable, if I develop a reputation for unreliability in such a small industry . . . We don’t ask for ‘special’ treatment. We ask for certain conditions to allow us to function at the same level as the rest of the workforce. Once these conditions are met, you will find you have the hardest working, most loyal employees around.”
A day trader with Asperger’s Syndrome had this to say, “I don’t know what’s worse, being judged because no one knows you have autism or knowing that if you tell people you have autism that action alone is going to come off as extremely strange. In theory, I won’t only be judged for my autism, but for the mere action of disclosing.”
A 30-year old autistic man, who wished to remain anonymous, wrote:
“I deeply regret sharing my diagnosis. My coworker thought Aspergers was an extremely awful disability that makes people uncomfortable. He had no reference point. And nothing was ever the same again. It resulted in the end of our working relationship. If I was ever to go into another job, the last thing I would ever do is tell them I was autistic . . . because they are just going to misinterpret it. I mean it’s a deal breaker for all NTs (neurotypical/non-autistic); they are never going to look at you the same. It’s not that I am afraid of what they think. I just know that once I tell them that it can never be undone. That’s not just in the workplace. It’s with doctors, family members, even my own parents . . .”
That’s the thing about an invisible condition: sometimes we have a choice of whether or not we want others to know. And for good reason, some of us choose not to disclose at all.
There is still a lot of misinformation out there surrounding the autism spectrum condition, still a high likelihood of facing the wallop of discrimination, once an autism diagnosis is mentioned.
Ironically, today’s business and university leaders often denote autism with an aura of less than, using the words ‘they’ and ‘help them,’ and implying, and even stating, workers on the autism spectrum are incapable of leadership and management—even as large numbers of autistics are the very ones entrusted to educate our children as teaching assistants, general education and special education teachers, and college professors.
Furthermore, some of us ‘with autism’ are in highly influential positions, serving as civil servants, defense lawyers, oncology doctors, and pediatric nurses. Whether we publicly admit our autism/Aspergers or not, we are out there in much larger numbers than currently reported.
It’s common knowledge that Silicon Valley and Bellevue, WA hubs, and other technology city centers, are overtaken by professionals with autistic attributes and traits—but maybe by another name—gifted, geek, nerd, genius.
To this day, five years after my diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, I ponder the pros and cons of being out of the “autistic closet.” In considering whether someone should disclose they are on the autism spectrum, a marching band of pros and cons arise.
Anyone who is autistic can easily venture into the feasible benefits and risks of disclosing on the job. We all know, and some have lived at some level, the risk of backlash from supervisors and co-workers. And some of us are fortunate enough to know the benefits of an inclusive and accepting work environment.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer to disclosing autism or Aspergers on the job. Still there is a potential threat—it’s always there. And there are ramifications, regardless of any precautionary measures taken.
In reality, autism is a baby in the realm of marginalized minorities. Swarming is false, outdated, and unsubstantiated information about autism spectrum disorders. Beginning to fly, queries of whether or not autism is even a disorder. And false information certainly abounds. When paid professionals in the field of psychology are mistaking sustained eye contact, empathy, imagination, and ability to make friends as markers against feasibly having autism, how can we expect that the average non-autistic will get it? When “sensitivity” trainings and conventions about autism are saturated by educators and presenters who are non-autistics, how are we heard? And how many immediately box us into constricting conclusions of less than, needs special treatment, fragile, or a charity case? How many think us to be like the one autistic they already know or have heard about?
How many of us lose who we are and become something we are not, in the eyes of another, with the mention of autism?
“Disclosure provides opportunities to educate and inform other people about autism, and to advocate on behalf of those within our community who may not be in as good a position to do so for themselves,” stated Maura Campbell, a senior manager in the Northern Ireland Civil Service, and former board member of Specialisterne. “It allows you to challenge head-on the myths and misconceptions that abound about autism, partly due to its stereotypical portrayal in the media and popular culture. When people express surprise that I have Asperger’s (which is generally the case), I have an opening to correct some of the inaccurate impressions they may have about autism . . . ” But she is also a realist. “When I ‘came out’, I was asked a couple of times what treatment I was receiving. No matter how hard I tried to tell people that the diagnosis was a positive event, a confirmation of who I already was, they behaved as though I was conveying bad news. What I learned from this was that people do not always receive information in the same way as you present it to them. They often apply their own filters, overlaying what you have said with their own preconceptions and assumptions.” (source: Spectrum Women Magazine)
It is true disclosure during the hiring process or on the job can unintentionally lead to unfavorable consequences. Particularly, if a place of employment is not neurodiverse friendly or is not well educated in autistic culture, history, traits, and attributes. Whether or not to disclose is very much a personal choice.
Alternatives to not disclosing autism at a place of work:
- State subtle needs
- Work to blend in
- Establish a support network outside of work
- Find a trusted coworker to help interpret unspoken rules and workplace culture
- Reevaluate disclosing at a later point
- Establish own accommodations
- Practice self-care on the job
As a general rule, when weighing the pros and cons of job place disclosing, for either yourself or someone you know, keep in mind that the act of disclosing has the potential to lead to direct opportunities for employment success.
When an employee discloses on the job:
- Employers have opportunity to consider workplace adjustments and supports (reasonable accommodations, peer mentors, the establishment of a disability resource group).
- Job candidate can ask for reasonable accommodation during the job screening process (list of topics that will be asked during interview, an interview over the phone, an overview of the hiring practice, an alternative to resume, a portfolio or video that showcases skills)
- Springboard for other possible work opportunities within the company (customized job description, creating a new job role, being a neurodiversity trainer or peer-support person)
- Opportunity to present past workplace supports and how the employee previously excelled
- Working with a vocational counselor or other employment specialist to establish support measures
- Protected under ADA
- Platform to state needs and educate about disability or condition
- Lead to policy change and open new doors for others
- Avoid the possibility of an employer feeling mislead or misinformed
Yes, there are multiple ways that the act of disclosing a diagnosis of autism or Asperger’s Syndrome can assist a job seeker or an employee. I would definitely recommend disclosing at work (on my good days). Even so, as previously mentioned, the idea is very subjective and dependent upon multiple variables, including the workplace culture, one’s ability to state workplace needs and to stick up for one’s self, the individual’s own understanding of autism, and whether or not there is a support person available.
When in doubt about workplace disclosure, I suggest that those on the autism spectrum ask other autistics that have been in the same situation, research into the pros and cons, and make a personal decision that best fits the individual.
Founder & President of Spectrum Suite,Marcelle Ciampi (aka Samantha Craft) M.Ed. is the lead job recruiter for ULTRA Testing, an autism educator, the author of the blog and book Everyday Aspergers, Selection Committee Chair at the ANCA World Autism Festival and active in autism groups locally and globally. She serves as a guest speaker, workshop presenter, and neurodiversity recruitment specialist.
This disclosure article is an excerpt from Ciampi’s manuscript, Autism in a Briefcase, written to provide insight to employers and agencies about the neurodiverse talent pool. A former schoolteacher and advocate for children with special needs, she appreciates the skills and talents of autistics. You can reach her on LinkedIn, Twitter, and at email@example.com
For other useful resources visit our blog.
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This blog aims to highlight famous people who we’re most likely autistic! Autism is often overlooked in the world of fame; however there are often autistic people behind the worlds best inventions or movements.
Albert Einstein is a German theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity. Possibly the most famous mathematician of all time, Einstein had a number of interesting characteristics that indicated he could be on the Autistic Spectrum. This includes difficulties socialising and his delayed speech as a child. As well as this, he was evidently very technical, leading experts to believe that he may have been on the Autistic spectrum.
Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton was an English physicist, astronomer, theologian and author. Thanks to research by the University of Cambridge, it is thought that Isaac Newton had Asperger’s and often isolated himself as much as he could. Other traits he possessed was being ‘notoriously awkward’ and relying on strong routines in his everyday life.
A leading Trinity College professor and psychiatrist, Michael Fitzgerald, researched and published a scholarly paper concluding that Charles Darwin had Asperger’s. Using historical records, it was clear that Darwin was a very quiet and isolated child who avoided social interaction. It was revealed he communicated in different ways such as writing letters and reports.
Many experts believed Andy Warholl, the famous artist, was autistic. After all, a lot of his work focused on the repetition of shapes and colours. When conducting interviews, Warhol often gave short and simple answers suggesting he may have had verbal dyslexia. However, much of his personality traits have been said to ‘enhance a sense of mystery’ amongst his viewers.
Dan Aykroyd is a famous actor, producer, comedian and musician who is famous for his role in the film The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters. He was diagnosed with mild Asperger’s Syndrome as a child after struggling and being expelled from two schools. Since then, Aykroyd has been honest about his experiences with autism. He has spoken freely about how his diagnosis of asperger’s contributed to his character in Ghostbusters.
Over the past year, young climate change activist Greta Thurnberg has taken the world by storm. She has been responsible for the new climate change movement, where protests and meetings with world leaders have taken place throughout the world. She spoke out over her Asperger’s diagnosis after she was criticised for having it, saying it makes her ‘different’ but she considers it a ‘superpower’.
Susan Boyle is a Scottish singer and made her way to fame after her spectacular performance back on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 where she then went on to sell a staggering 14 million albums. Boyle was diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2012, which she revealed a year later, where she said she feels ‘relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself’.
Tim Burton is an American filmmaker, artist, writer and animator. He is best known for his fantasy films such as Batman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. Although Tim hasn’t been diagnosed, his long term partner actress Helena Bonham Carter once speculated that he was ‘possibly autistic’ during an interview. She revealed she had an ‘a-ha moment’ after she researched an autistic character for a film and compared much of the characteristics to Burton. Helena said ‘Autistic people have application and dedication. You can say something to Tim when he’s working and he doesn’t hear you. But that quality also makes him a fantastic father; he has an amazing sense of humour and imagination. He sees things other people won’t see.’
Temple Grandin has become possibly the most famous autistic person on the planet. A renowned author and professor who didn’t start speaking until she was 3 and a half, she communicated by screaming, peeping and humming. Doctors recommended she should be institutionalised. Fortunately, her parents didn’t agree with this conclusion. Grandin has gone on to be an autism-rights activist, animal science professor and named one of the TIME’s 100 most influential people.
Wall street actress Daryl Hannah first publicly revealed her autism 6 years ago. She is most famous for her staring roles in films including Blade Runner and Splash. She said her autism left her with a ‘debilitating shyness’ and made public events a terror for her. At the time of diagnosis as a child she said that medical professionals recommended she should be medicated and institutionalised, but thankfully she didn’t and persued her career as an actress. Since then, she has remained quieter within the industry and has instead decided to focus on environmental issues and other passions.
For other useful resources visit our blog.