A checklist for the unemployed (and autistic)!

Having tried to find employment for people with autism in Great Britain, I’ve recently started the process of hoping I’ve managed to make a good impression on society and show how anybody with autism can function if they become an autistic employee.

I’ve joined the ranks of Britain’s unemployed and have remembered how it feels to be looking for employment. I’ve started the process of joining countless online recruitment agencies and I’ve started to apply for job vacancies again, but there is a difference this time.

Through understanding what my talents are in a way I haven’t experienced before and by finding the fire in my belly by setting up Autistic Achievers as a service which helped me to approach employers in a whole new way, I feel confident. I know what I need to do in order to find my dream job, and I know the checklist I have to follow!

Charisma, confidence and good looks (on the inside) could be my three key points towards covering letter and CV glory!

Charisma, confidence and good looks (on the inside) could be my three key points towards covering letter and CV glory!

I have to be upfront and sensible about my options, I have to remain positive at all times and above all, I have to be extremely gorgeous and irresistible to everybody I meet. Inside and out.

That third point to be addressed on my imaginary employment checklist may seem completely weird and if you are an autistic jobseeker, you may think it is a requirement now to have toned abs, blonde hair and cherry red lipstick, but it is just something I’m thinking of!

Okay, looks aren’t everything but when it comes to finding a job, they could be something an employer looks for. Think of good looking receptionists, PA’s, glamorous assistants on The Generation Game…all lookers!

I’ll go to the restroom, powder my nose and practice my pout after I’ve shared my little checklist with you but first, let’s get down to the practical points shall we?

Firstly, being upfront and being sensible. If everybody was upfront about how anything affects them in life, never mind a disability like autism which can be a minefield or a simple A-to-Z to follow if you give a little bit of time to speak to somebody who is high-functioning and autistic like myself, and if sensible choices are made, it can be easy to reach that dream goal of finding a job.

Conquering the covering letter, being intrepid enough to inspire during an interview and being overjoyed, yet calm and composed, when you get a job offer is the best way to be.

Telling employers about my life with Aspergers Syndrome and the positive skills it gives me, such as alertness, clarity, honesty, loyalty, passion and precision, is what I’m doing. I’m talking about what I’ve done through Autistic Achievers to try and help autistic people into employment through speaking to employers and showcasing what an autistic employee could do for them, if negative issues such as difficulties with communication and social skills are acknowledged, and I’m realising what I can and can’t do.

PR and social media are strong industries for me as I’ve developed skills through a university education and self-teaching. From attracting over 500 Facebook users to the Autistic Achievers Facebook page and over 1,200 tweeters to the Autistic Achievers Twitter account, I made Autistic Achievers a successful project. It was a labour of love which started from scratch and I’ve mentioned that because I feel it shows knowledge and understanding of how social media works.

Bringing people together for a common cause is something I love. I enjoyed meeting employers last year and realised there is nothing to be afraid of when applying for a job. If opening up causes an employer to back away, it isn’t a loss really is it?

Remaining positive ties into this nicely. For the first time, I’ve felt downbeat about job hunting while I’ve looked for employment this month.

Feeling this way was so temporary it passed in a couple of hours, but it made me realise any employer can see how you’re feeling through what you say.

There are dream jobs out there and every now and then, I’ve applied for a position which is perfect. You can wait forever for a bus before three come along at once, but imagine if those buses were beautiful beasts with ribbons and bows all over them? Imagine if rather than paying for your journey, you were paid to hop on and have a sit down? Imagine if you were given champagne and chocolate buttons for your trip?

Those opportunities are incredible and they reinvigorate me. They make me realise being unemployed isn’t so bad as you can find these great job vacancies and hey, imagine how it would feel to actually get one of those jobs?

Fireworks would go off and it would be like New Year’s Eve all again. Only in January/February!

Job hunting is tough but I’m not afraid to be open, I’m not afraid to be positive in hope I’ll get a great result after this journey is over, and I’m not afraid to put on my Sunday best and wear a massive smile. By following every point on the unemployment checklist, I can’t fail!

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