Tips for Getting that First Job

Entering the workforce can be an exciting yet challenging journey for anyone, but the path to finding and securing a job may come with unique obstacles for autistic individuals. Despite possessing valuable skills and talents, many autistic individuals face societal misconceptions and systemic barriers that contribute to their underrepresentation in the workforce. With the right strategies and support, however, individuals can overcome these challenges and find meaningful employment opportunities that utilize their strengths and abilities.

Below, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you and your child get ready to enter the job market and land that first job:

Imagine the ideal job

One of the first steps in the job search is to imagine the ideal job. Encourage your child to think about what they are passionate about and what they excel at. This may be a general skill, such as organization, or a more specific one, such as using HTML to make a website. By identifying their strengths and interests, they can narrow down their job search to roles where those skills will be valued and utilized daily.

Before applying for jobs, it is also important to think about what accommodations your child might need in the workplace to thrive. While these accommodations may vary depending on the job, considering them ahead of time can help you and your child determine whether a role will be appropriate.

Network, Network, Network

Networking is one of the most important tools when looking for a job. Speak with family and friends to see if any aspects of your child’s ideal job could be helpful at their place of work. Consider reaching out to managers of stores or places that your child goes to frequently, such as the movie theatre, bowling alley, or library. Managers are often more open to discussing a position for someone they recognize and have built rapport with.

Job fairs are also a good place to go when you’re looking for that first role. Lots of different companies are easily accessible in one location and can answer questions about the company and the roles available. Even if your child doesn’t end up getting a job from the event, they can get lots of practice developing their “elevator pitch” to promote themselves.

Additionally, getting involved with employment services at organizations in your region, such as Community Living, is a great way to build connections. These organizations have already developed relationships with employers and have experience matching individuals with appropriate positions.

Interview prep

When your child lands that first interview, it’s crucial to come prepared. Be sure to rehearse common interview questions. Some employers may provide the questions ahead of time if requested, so it’s worth asking when the interview is booked. At minimum, ask for details about the interview process (duration, who will be present, if there are any written or performance components) so that your child can be as prepared as possible. Lists of common interview questions can be found online to guide your rehearsals.

For individuals who struggle to communicate their skills, consider preparing a collection of video examples. These can be videos of your child performing common tasks relevant to the role (e.g., sweeping, folding clothes, making a coffee) or role playing how they would handle common social situations in the workplace. Be sure to highlight how your child would handle any situations which might be perceived as barriers for the employer. For example, if your child communicates using an Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) device, demonstrate how they would use it to speak with customers or answer questions. Being able to see your child performing the skills can give employers a better idea of how well it matches the requirements of the role.

Are you preparing to enter the job market? Reach out to us at to find out how we can help!