As someone who once operated the New York City metropolitan office of Best Executive Marketing and Resume Service, founded and directed the Employment and Tutorial Services Division of the Yours, Ours, Mine Community Center (Y.O.M.) on Long Island, New York where, acting on my own initiative, I established Y.O.M. as a branch of the New York State Employment Office, I may be able to offer a few suggestions to others on the autism spectrum.
First, the downside: There is high rate of unemployment by persons on the autism spectrum, and a lot of us live in poverty, working at very low-paying jobs or relying upon disability. Now, the upside: Many persons on the spectrum have some really admirable traits, such as a strong sense of social justice and an ability to think critically and rationally. These virtues can be applied to many employment settings. The key, of course, is landing the job and keeping it.
Searching for a job is almost inevitably a stressful experience. Few people take courses in how to effectively find a position well-suited to their education and skills. Due to a lack of knowledge, many people get jobs for which they are overqualified. Fortunately, low job satisfaction is often avoidable. With a little preparation, one's career can be much more meaningful.
As the former owner of the New York City area office of Best Executive Marketing and Resume Service and the former director of the Employment Office of a large suburban New York City private agency, I have helped many people secure jobs matched to their interests and qualifications.
Before starting, one must get over the idea that employment agencies or classified ads are a necessary part of the job search process. Simply stated, the better jobs are not typically listed with employment services or in the newspapers.
If you want to get a good job, you need to go out and market yourself to the key people in that industry. Get comfortable using the Yellow Pages. Locate companies you are interested in, and throughly research each of them. Know as much as you possibly can about each of them (especially their problems). Find out the names of the people who make the hiring decisions. Phone them directly and try to make an appointment.
When meeting with the individual, tell her or him what you can do to help their company, and how you can help to solve their problems. Present your strengths, and think of ways (in advance) of how you can rephrase any weaknesses (experience, education, job history, etc.) so that they also sound like strengths!
Networking (speaking with friends or acquaintances who may know of jobs in your field) can also help. However, there is no substitute for your own research.
Avoid, as much as possible, personnel offices (which is where companies typically tell a prospective employee to go). Do not send out blind resumes. Often companies ask for resumes as a way of getting rid of a person. (If you are interviewed, then, if you like, you can give a copy of your resume to the person you spoke with.) Try not to give much information to secretaries (whose job it is to find reasons to screen-out callers). All you need is the one key person. Save your best for her or him.
Please bear in mind that companies typically see your interest in working for them as your career. Do not allow yourself to be absorbed into this way of thinking. (But don't tell them that!) To you, a job may be just a step along the way. Your career may consist of many jobs. (And, if you are typical of most people, it will.) Always leave your options open.
Some companies are listed in the links I have provided. Check them out, but try to look at all of them with a grain of salt. And, again, please don't fall into the resume trap.
What I suggest is, first, to go to the Job Hunter's Bible site, based on the book, What Color is Your Parachute? Read what it has to say. Buy a copy of the book. (It is updated every year.) Then, use the information on the web site (and in the book), along with what I have said, as the basis for your job search - and to evaluate what you read in the other sites I have listed.
Copyright © 2008- Mark A. Foster, Ph.D.