Finding a Job that is Right for You

Employment Tool Kit

August 27, 2018

It is important to understand your strengths and interests when you are looking for a job. We all hope to find a job that we are very good at and that we can truly enjoy doing for a long time – our dream job!

But being realistic is important, too. Sometimes we need to realize that what we are good at is not always something we can do as paid employment, or there may not be a job available that matches our top interests. That’s ok! A good approach is to list your personal strengths and interests, and then search the job market to see what positions are available that match up most closely with those ideals.

Assessing Your Strengths and Interests

Having a formal assessment of your skills and interests will help you choose the direction of your job search. There are many useful tools that can help determine these factors for you. Some of these tools can include functional and community-based vocational assessments and interest inventories. Vocational assessments can be administered by your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) office by a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Each state has a VR agency that provides employment service supports to people with disabilities (including autism).

Click here to find contact information for your state’s VR office. In addition to assessments, your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation office offers a variety of other services and funding. Click here for additional information about funding options.

For more information on assessments, visit these websites:

  • Do2Learn.com
  • Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI)
  • Occupational Information Network (O*Net)

Volunteering

In addition to formal assessments, volunteering is a great way to learn about your interests and abilities prior to paid employment. There are many organizations that offer volunteer opportunities where you are not paid. Do not pass up a chance for work experience, as you will learn from all types of opportunities. Even learning that you do not enjoy a particular type of work is information that will lead you to the right career path in the future. For more information on volunteering and to find volunteer opportunities in your area, visit these websites:

  • Volunteers of America
  • Volunteer Match Note: Many states have their own volunteer agencies – try Googling it!
  • TIP: Always make sure that you get a recommendation letter from your supervisor when you have had a good work/volunteer experience. Update your resume with each work opportunity you have had so that it is always current. Don’t forget about work experience that you may have gotten while you were in school or during the summer. All work experience is important and could help you get that next job.

Internships and Apprenticeships

A paid or unpaid internship is another way for you to learn vocational skills and gain valuable work experience. Your school should be able to assist you in finding internship opportunities. Some internships can offer you college credit for your work. An apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation or trade from experts in the field. Apprenticeships can teach you skills for a trade that is in high demand in the job market. This may make it easier for you to find a job. For more information on apprenticeships, visit the U.S. Department of Labor.

Read more in the Autism Speaks Employment Tool Kit.