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Brad's Success Story: Tips for Aspies Who Can't Find a Job

Hey guys. My name is Brad. As a young man with Asperger’s, I was down and hard on myself for not being able to find a job …and in those rare cases where I actually did find a job – I didn’t keep it for very long (for reasons that I won’t go into here).

I kept on thinking, what the hell is wrong with me? I graduated almost near the top of my class! I volunteer! I (think) my resume and cover letter is O.K.! Then one day, I decided to contact a job coach for guidance. That man turned my life around. Here’s what I learned and what helped me find a “good” job (and yes, I’m still working there today):

As I was being coached, I constantly reminded myself of my prior accomplishments, skills and positive traits. I kept them in the front of my mind. My "failure to land a job" is NOT ME! It’s just a temporary setback. Everyone faces a setback at one time or another. That's a fact of life.

I contacted my local and state employment office, as well as my college career center for resources and leads. (Hot tip: Most job openings are not listed in the newspaper help-wanted section.)

Next, I forced myself to get out and about. I discovered that the most direct way to learn about job openings is to contact employers themselves. I targeted an area downtown, dressed the part, and stopped in at every appropriate business establishment, including employment agencies, to fill out an application.

I finally found a part-time, temporary job, which wasn’t something I wanted to do for very long, but at least it was a start. I reminded myself that ANY job that helps pay the bills deserves respect. But I didn’t stop looking for other opportunities.

During my spare time, instead of sitting around moping that I didn’t have a permanent job and wasn’t working full-time, I did some volunteer work.  

(Hot tip: Helping people in need is very satisfying and rewarding in itself, but helping those who are in a situation that's worse than yours can help put your own situation in a better light.)

Also, I discovered that, as with dating, "weak" personal connections are the best way to find a new job because they can expand your network beyond options you were already aware of. I wasn’t afraid to ask the friend of a friend or another slightly removed acquaintance for recommendations during my job search.

I also made sure that – as often as possible – I surrounded myself with people who tended to be positive and upbeat, not negative and downcast. 

(Hot tip: Network with like-minded people who are in similar shoes – online or offline (in my case, other people with Asperger’s). You will immediately see that you are not alone, and this can help put things in perspective. It also puts your self-esteem back on track.)

During the job search process, I made an ongoing effort to “spread the word.” I told everyone I knew and meet that I was looking for a job. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of opportunities I discovered this way.  

(Hot tip: Remember that you are not alone. The hiring personnel are not singling you out. Thousands are in the same situation, which is why it is taking longer than ever before in securing a job of choice.)

Thanks to my job coach, I found out that the best companies to work for tend to rely heavily on employee referrals. I made a list of all of my friends, relatives and acquaintances. I contacted them one by one and asked them if they knew of any openings for which they could recommend me.  

(Hot tip: Don't be too humble or apologetic when you do this. Tell them what you're looking for, but let them know you're flexible and open to suggestions. This is not the time to be picky about jobs. A connection can get your foot in the door, and you can negotiate pay or switch positions once you've gained experience and established your reputation.)

Then I finally found my dream job! You want to know where? At home! That’s right, I created my own home-based business. I’ve always had an intense interest in woodworking (ever since 8th grade shop class). So I started my woodworking business with no capital, a few shop tools, and lots of nerve in a 10 foot by 20 foot space in my garage. The kicker is, I was NO "expert" woodworker at the time – far from it (I pretty much am now though). Really, the hardest part was understanding how to turn a hobby into a real business that made money (I sell my crafts on Ebay). 

(Hot tip: The best type of jobs that you can do are the ones you do out of your home that you develop yourself. If you create a job to operate from your home, then you control what happens. When you are the boss, you can't get fired or laid off. You may lose clients or suffer from some business lows, but you can't lose your job.)

So, you may not be lucky enough to find a job coach like me. That’s why I wanted to share my story with you guys. I hope it inspires you to keep your chin up and find a job that you can enjoy the rest of your life. Not all people with Asperger’s have a miserable life – far from it!

Good luck,

Brad

P.S. Thanks to www.AdultAspergersChat.com for letting me post this!

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