Job Searching Tips

Supporting Job Seekers With Special Needs

By: Aidan Smith
May 28, 2021 • 5 min read

Special Needs, Job Searching, and Applications – Let’s Talk About Advocacy!

Job searching can be difficult, stressful, and even overwhelming at times for everyone. It is even more so for people on the autism spectrum, with down syndrome, ADHD, and other diagnoses in the range of what is often referred to as special needs – or simply living with a disability.

Do you have a disability or know someone with a disability? Here at JobGet, we believe in you. We feel you are more than capable of finding your sought-after career or helping someone accomplish their own career goals. This article compiles a list of tips and advice to refer to when searching for and applying to jobs. Although these tips are primarily intended to benefit individuals with special needs and their families, career profile websites, resume, cover letters, and networking can also apply to neurotypical individuals. Neurotypical individuals are people without a diagnosis of autism or a developmental disorder.

So, without further ado, let’s explore ways in which you can advocate for yourself and your loved ones when job searching!

job special needs

Family, Friend, or Social Worker Assistance

People with special needs find success when job searching with the assistance of neurotypical individuals who can help when things get too difficult. Support is crucial when taking on a new and challenging task so that confusion and frustration can be avoided. This confusion can cause them to lash out verbally or physically when the situation does not go the way they intended.

Help can come in many forms. Reading important information in a calm voice, going through websites and applications in a step-by-step process, and providing positive encouragement are all good ways to help make this process easier for someone with special needs.

This assistance is best when provided by a family member, close friend, or trusted social worker. When this happens, the person with special needs is more likely to trust the helper. Trust is everything, especially when embarking on a new and daunting task!

Career Profile Websites

Career profile websites provide easy access to opportunities for potential employees. Here are a few sites you can explore when beginning your career journey.

LinkedIn

Handshake

WayUp

JobGet

By setting up career profiles on these websites with the aid of your family or a close friend, you will not have to deal with the frustration of going to multiple different sites to apply for a job. It is important to set up profiles on multiple websites to maximize the number of job opportunities.

Resumes

Resumes are necessary for creating a career profile and submitting job applications. A resume can be a confusing and difficult subject to wrap your head around!

Often, to cope with this confusion, someone with special needs will repeat information about experiences or over-emphasize them. To someone with special needs, these actions make sense at first, as repetition helps them get points across their own learning and work. Of course, this repetition is not necessary for potential employers. At that point, a trusted neurotypical individual should help.

This help should primarily focus on structured, targeted advice with key areas of the resume. Helping someone determine what experiences best fit the resume, revising phrasing and wording to make it less literal, and answering questions are all key. When these areas are focused on, confusion will be lessened, and the resume will look less cluttered and repetitive. This ultimately helps the document become more appealing to potential employers!

job special needs

Cover Letters

At some point, you or someone you know will need to write a cover letter when applying for a job. While this process can be long and tedious for neurotypical individuals, it can be more so for people with special needs. Cover letters require specific phrasing, formatting, and styling. This can be difficult for people with special needs to understand.

Family members or a close friend should help the applicant work on cover letters, too. Unlike a resume, which is usually used for all job applications, the changing format and content for a cover letter will more easily confuse someone with special needs. Changes to addresses, dates, and relevant experiences are details that a person with special needs will need help with recalling and revising.

Help should focus on document length and language use. This is to keep revisions to one page and resolve any repetition that may occur in each first draft.

Networking and Connections

Your family or friends might know people who can help you find a job or be willing to hire you. While this is great for anyone to keep in mind, it is essential for people with special needs. Sometimes, the normal paths to getting a job just don’t work out. This can be due to unclear application processes, confusing application requirements, or a lack of easily accessible information about available jobs.

If you or someone you know has connections to an employer or a position that would be well suited for someone with special needs, act on it! Let the person with special needs know about those connections. The sooner, the better – as these positions usually do not last long. While networking may not always ensure a successful application, it is a viable option to consider when job searching.

job special needs

Autism Rights Advocacy Organizations

Autism Rights Advocacy Organizations provide resources for helping individuals with special needs. Particularly, this resource assists those with autism find and apply for jobs. They also aid in self-advocacy, legal advice, and general life advice for people with special needs. See below for a list of some of the major Autism Rights Advocacy Organizations and their website links for easy access. Some are based in the United Kingdom. So, if you or someone you know lives there or in Europe, they might be a better organization to contact!

Aspies For Freedom

Autism National Committee

Autism Network International

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network

National Autistic Society

Other Advocacy Organizations

Other advocacy organizations exist as well. Focused on Down Syndrome, ADHD, and more, they all provide similar resources to Autism Rights Advocacy Organizations and often work with them. This work is all largely done under the greater social umbrella of special needs advocacy. See the list below for some of the links to these other major advocacy organizations.

The Royal Mencap Society

National Down Syndrome Society

LD Online

TotallyADD.com

Ideal Job Sectors to Search For and Apply To

The U.S. Department of Labor recently released their 2020 report on people with special needs and disabilities in the job market in the U.S.A. The results for people with special needs are promising about some key industries.

Their report found that individuals with disabilities or special needs were more likely to get jobs than those without part-time work or self-employed. The Department of Labor also reported that people with special needs or disabilities were more likely than those without to work in the service industry (hello, JobGet app!) and governmental roles. Other areas include production, transportation, and material moving sectors and occupations.

The higher prevalence of employment implies an easier time searching for and applying to these positions and types of schedules for people with special needs and disabilities. With this information in mind, we strongly recommend that people with special needs focus on these key industries!

job special needs

Online Application Processes, Quick and External

Depending on the website, the online application process may be a quick application or an external one. Quick applications can be found on all career profile websites. These often require only a resume to be submitted. A trusted individual should go through this speedy application with special needs to ensure no confusion or complications in the application.

External applications are a different process. While their links and essential information can be found on career profile websites, they take the applicant to the company’s website. This alone may be confusing for someone with special needs. Therefore, a trusted individual should go through this external application process with the individual with special needs. This should be done slowly and step by step.

In Conclusion

This information should prove to be invaluable, regardless of the career path chosen. The road to a career is long and difficult for people with special needs, but it’s certainly not impossible. We know this article will be beneficial to you as you start your career journey. Remember, we believe in you and the people who support you!

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What You Need To Know If You Want To Work in College

How To Apply For a Job You Feel Unqualified For 

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