CV-Résumé writing for job candidates on the autism spectrum

by John Stuart

Please welcome John Stuart who is writing on behalf of CV Nation, a company that specialises in preparing job-winning CVs / résumés. John approached me and asked what HTWB readers might find useful in addition to what we already have here in terms of CV / résumé / job application and other job search writing advice.

CVs and resumes fr autistics

It’s up to you to show employers that you are the best person for the job. Not despite your autism, but because of it.

Given that Aspergers / high functioning autism is taking on such a vibrant and well-deservedly prominent role in our business world now, we need to think creatively to help people on “The Spectrum” to attain the high levels of success they deserve through the job application process. John has some useful suggestions…

Autism is not a negative: employers are realising this more and more

CV writing and job hunting can be difficult for everyone, but candidates with autism / Aspergers may face a few additional challenges. Your CV is your first chance to grab a potential employer’s attention and make a good impression, so it’s important you present yourself in the best possible way.

If you have autism, then you know it will more than likely affect a potential employer’s attitude towards you. It’s up to you to show employers that you are the best person for the job. Not despite your autism, but because of it.

Understanding of autism has grown in recent years, and more people who have been diagnosed with the disorder are getting work. Many potential employers are starting to understand how autistics tend to be very strong in one area but weak in another. They are also starting to understand how much of a value that could be to their business when they offer the right support.

When to declare your autism?

This is a complicated question and can be answered in different ways, none of which are necessarily wrong. It’s best to let a potential employer know about your autism as soon as it is appropriate during the application process. However, a CV is supposed to showcase your strengths and might not be the best place to tell an employer.

Of course, if you feel your autism gives you unique skills or traits that make you well suited to a position, then you should go into detail in your CV. It’s very much a “use your best judgement” situation. Most if not all job application processes will have a disability question section where you can mention it to be upfront with your potential employer.

Play to your strengths***

This is good advice for anyone who is writing a CV, but more so if you feel that your autism could be a potential negative to your application. Everybody on the autism spectrum is different and will have different areas that they excel or struggle in. It’s important to think about what skills you have, such as higher attention to detail, and focus on them in your CV.

Focus on your strengths and value as a candidate when writing your CV, not your potential shortcomings. However, living with autism will have provided you with some coping mechanisms for areas that you struggle in. Including these in your CV could re-assure a potential employer that you are a valuable candidate.

The right job

Finding the right position or company for you is an essential part of anyone’s job search. You need to find a career you can excel in and bring your strengths to. Autistics do well with a clear, well-defined job role with structure and predictability. A good workplace is relatively quiet and has a solid routine. Your manager should be prepared to give you tasks in advance and put them in writing. These are all things you should try to research during your job search so you aren’t applying to a position you wouldn’t excel in.

Find friendly employers

Obviously, employers can’t discriminate against you for being autistic or having any other kind of disability. But you don’t want to work for someone who is begrudgingly hiring you just to comply with the law, or worse, fill in a diversity hire. Look for potential employers who make an effort to understand candidates with autism, or may already have autistics working for them. They will already be aware of your needs or more prepared to make adjustments for you.

Request adjustments

Many parts of the application process can present a challenge for candidates with autism. Don’t be afraid to ask for adjustments if you need them to perform your best, such as asking for interview questions in advance to allow you to prepare for them. It is also a good way of finding out what kind of employer they are and if they are willing to make adjustments or try and understand your disorder.

Some thoughts from Alex Manners, author of “That’s Not Right: My Life Living With Aspergers”

Alex Manners new book about autismNote from Suze: I asked Alex, with whom I have been working closely and whose book is out April 22nd 2019, how he views John’s advice…
“The only thing that I would say is that under the heading ***“Play to your Strengths” it mentions adding your coping mechanisms to your CV. Personally I would not do this as I don’t think it would necessarily be of any value on a CV. On my own CV I say I have Autism but I don’t list my traits, challenges or coping strategies.
These things would be discussed later down the line if an employer wanted to hire you.
Also as everyone with Autism is different, the process may need to be altered or tweaked slightly depending on the individual.”

John adds … CV Nation is the UK’s leading CV writing service and has helped thousands of people progress their career.
Our specialist writers are experienced and trained and can provide a bespoke CV writing service that will work with any special circumstances, like autism, and help you achieve your career goals.
Start your journey to your perfect job by trying a Free CV Review.

What experience do you have of autism / Aspergers in the workplace?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

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