When you’re living with ADHD, finding the right job can be challenging. It’s common to feel bored at work and struggle with time management. You may even have a history of job loss or changing jobs frequently.
The good news is, help is available if you want to find work that’s a good fit for you. There’s also support to help you stay in and succeed at your job.
Check out these 11 tips for managing ADHD and finding a job where you can thrive:
1. Brainstorm your strengths and weaknesses
The first step to finding the right job is to take an objective look at your strengths and weaknesses. Start by writing down a list of both. It may also help to speak with a colleague or friend whom you trust about their opinion.
Don’t just focus on the technical skills you have, but also think about essential skills like time management, creative thinking, teamwork and leadership.
2. Research job types
It’s important to research jobs before you apply, as you might not know exactly what’s involved in the day to day. The best jobs for people with ADHD will amplify your strengths and minimise your weaknesses.
If you’re interested in a particular type of job, it might be helpful to speak with someone who already works in the field to get firsthand insights. Before you meet up with them, write down a list of questions you want to ask.
3. Speak with an employment consultant
An employment consultant is someone who can help you identify your work strengths and discover jobs and career pathways that are a good fit for you.
If you’ve changed jobs a lot in the past or are dissatisfied with your current position, talking with an employment consultant may help give you some clarity and direction. They may also have helpful tips for you about writing your resume, preparing for job interviews and accessing workplace support.
4. Analyse your job history
Due to symptoms like boredom, difficulty concentrating and impulsivity, many people with ADHD have a history of job-hopping or job-loss. If that’s you, take time to analyse why this might be the case and how you might improve things in the future.
Figuring out why past jobs weren’t a good fit for you can help you make better decisions about work moving forward.
5. Gain new skills
If your current skills or qualifications are limiting the types of jobs you can apply for, consider undergoing study or training to make you more employable.
Before enrolling in a course, you should weigh up the costs of training, how long it will take and whether you will need to work while you study.
6. Get organised
Looking for work can be a long process and it’s natural to feel disheartened sometimes. Staying organised along the way can help you feel more in control and focused.
Create a list of short term goals such as ‘finish writing my CV by the end of the week’ or ‘apply for 1 job today’. Make sure your goals are measurable and have a time component to them.
Create a spreadsheet of all the jobs you want to apply for. In one column, record when you have applied. In another column, record if you followed up. That way you can keep track of the status of each job application.
7. Customise your CV
Your curriculum vitae or resume is a chance to impress potential employers and stand out from the crowd. Focus on the skills and experiences that show them why you’d be perfect for this job.
Instead of submitting the same CV for every job you apply for, customise it each time to suit the specific role. A lot of job search websites use algorithms to sift through resumes based on keywords. Use keywords and synonyms from the specific job application to make sure your CV doesn’t get overlooked.
8. Prepare for interviews
Job interviews can be stressful, but when you take time to prepare and practice it can help you feel more confident.
Keep in mind that if you’ve had a lot of jobs in the past, new employers may ask you about your job history. It’s important to be prepared to address it in an interview. You might explain lessons you’ve learnt from working in past roles or how you understand your own strengths and needs better now.
9. Decide whether or not to disclose
You don’t have to disclose about your ADHD unless it directly impacts your ability to perform the job tasks.
Some people prefer not to share because they fear it will change the way an employer views them. Others find that being open with their employer from the beginning improves communication.
Deciding to disclose or not is a big decision and it can be helpful to talk through the different possibilities with a professional.
10. Consider workplace accommodations
Workplace accommodations are changes in your job role or the workplace environment which help you perform better at your job. Knowing what your options are may help you find ways to feel confident and empowered at work.
If you already know what changes might help you, you can bring these up in a job interview. For example, you might explain that you struggle with focus, but this is greatly improved when you use noise cancelling headphones and orientate your desk towards the wall.
Showing your employer that you know how to manage your symptoms is a great strength. If you’re not sure what adjustments you might need, you can speak with a professional or arrange a workplace assessment.
11. Ask for help
Searching for work can be challenging, especially if you’re not sure what jobs are right for you. You don’t have to do it on your own – support is available.
If you’re living with ADHD, you could be eligible for Disability Employment Services, a government funded program which helps people living with injury, illness or disability find and keep a job.
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