5 Job search tips for school leavers living with autism

If you’re in the final years of high school, now is a great time to think about your next steps after you graduate. You might want to do further study at university or TAFE, gain some work experience in a field you’re interested in or find a job straight away.

There are many benefits to finding a job when you leave school, even if it is a part time job. You’ll get to earn your own money, meet new people and learn new skills. Working can also give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your confidence.

Here are 5 job search tips to help you find work after high school:

1. Seek career advice

You might already know what career you want in the future, or you might be wondering what jobs would be a good fit for you. Before you start applying for jobs, it can be helpful to get advice from an employment consultant or careers mentor.

If you already have a career goal in mind, a consultant can help you think through the steps you might need to take to get there. That might include things like undertaking more study, gaining qualifications or getting hands-on experience in the field. Breaking your long-term goals up into smaller short term goals can help you stay focused and motivated.

If you don’t know what type of work you want to do, a consultant can help you think through the different options. Your consultant will get to know what you’re interested in, what skills you already have and what challenges you might face when it comes to work. They might even be able to connect you with work experience opportunities so you can try out different types of work.

2. Gain work experience

If you’ve never had a job before, work experience is a great way to learn about the workplace and gain skills you can put on your resume. In some cases, work experience can lead to job opportunities in the future.

Another great reason to do work experience is to see what kinds of workplaces and jobs would be a good fit for you. During your work experience, you’ll get to see what people in that field do in their day to day. It’s a good chance to learn more about yourself and what you want in a job in the future.

Your school might be able to organise work experience opportunities for you, or you can try approaching a local business in your area about doing work experience with them. Volunteering is another great way to learn about the world of work while giving back to your community. There are also a number of government-funded autism employment support programs that can help you find work experience opportunities.

3. Access employment support

There’s a lot to think about when you’re looking for a job, especially if it’s your first time. Having support can help you feel confident about the job search process. And it can open up opportunities you may not have discovered on your own. 

In Australia, there are a number of government-funded employment services to support young people. If you’re a school leaver living with autism, you could be eligible for support through Disability Employment Services, Workforce Australia or the NDIS.

Your employment service provider can help you with things like:

  • Accessing work experience opportunities
  • Employment skills training
  • Career advice and mentorship
  • Writing your resume and applying for jobs
  • Preparing for job interviews
  • Workplace support
  • Funding for accommodations

Find out more: Employment programs for persons with disabilities for school leavers

4. Create a resume that stands out

Your resume is often the first impression you’ll make with a potential employer. It can mean the difference between getting called in for an interview or not. On your resume, you should include information about your education, qualifications, experience and skills. 

It’s a good idea to customise your resume for every job you apply for. Try and see things from the point of view of the employer. Ask yourself, what are the most important things they are looking for in a candidate? Read the job advertisement carefully to find important keywords and do some research into the organisation to guide you.

A cover letter is another important document you usually need to submit when applying for jobs. In your cover letter, you can explain why you’re applying for the role and why you think you’re a great fit for the position.

To make a good impression, you should think about how your resume and cover letter look. They should be neat, easy to read and not over crowded with text. If you’re printing your resume out, make sure you use good quality paper. Double check your documents for any spelling or grammar mistakes.

5. Find job opportunities

There are many ways to find a job. It’s a good idea to try a range of different methods. Many people search online for job opportunities. Most online job boards allow you to create an email alert. So when a job that matches your criteria comes up, you’ll get a notification. That way you can apply straight away and not miss any opportunities.

A lot of jobs are filled by word of mouth. Try asking friends, family members and people in your community about job opportunities. You can also approach local businesses in your area directly. Be sure to bring your resume along with you.

Some people get offered jobs after completing work experience or an apprenticeship. Others decide to start their own business providing services or selling products. An employment services provider can also help you find job opportunities that are a good fit for you.

Next steps

Leaving high school is a big life change. It can be both exciting and overwhelming to think about your next steps. It’s important to ask for help and get support along the way, whether that’s from parents, mentors or employment service providers. When you start a new job, don’t forget to ask for any accommodations or support you might need at work to make sure it’s a success.