Career Corner: Tactics for Getting a Job
Persons diagnosed with mental illnesses have held jobs from cashier in Rite Aid to CEO of a company. Any honest job labored at with pride can give you dignity.
The most important criteria for getting a job is to remember this: “I want to get a job” is not a goal. A goal needs to be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive. As in: Send out ten resumes each week to job boards.
What type of job appeals to you? What kind of skills, traits, and experience do you have that a potential employer would need? Can you be trained in these skills if you don’t have them? The intersection of solving an employer’s needs and satisfying your own needs is where career success hits the bull’s eye.
The severity of your symptoms and your temperament and personality are the key factors in figuring out what kind of job or career you might be suited to. Individuals who have residual symptoms (like hearing voices) have held jobs and been successful long-term.
You might have a degree from NYU or another school. Maybe you can’t hold a full-time job even though you graduated college. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Finding a job, you love and would be good at is possible. It could be part-time work or a volunteer position. That’s a great way to feel productive and contribute your talents too.
If you’ve had a job or two before examine which position you liked the best and why. Is there another job you can get that uses these skills that you can transfer to? Do you lack experience, that is, haven’t had a formal job before? Doing an internship or volunteer work is a great kind of job to put on a resume. Featuring an internship or volunteer work (or even two or three of these positions) on a resume can help you stand out from other applicants that don’t have work experience either.
To find an internship, log on to www.internships.com. To find volunteer work, log on to www.idealist.org or www.volunteermatch.org.
Doing an internship or volunteer work related to the paid position you’d like to get is an ideal way to segue into formal employment. According to a Deloitte study, 85 percent of hiring managers think volunteer work is impressive. Skills-based volunteering is even better. More than anything, your ability to handle stress will determine what workplace environment you will thrive or flounder in.
As far as stress goes, individuals living with mental illnesses need to be able to manage their condition. With a routine in place for taking medication if it’s required, engaging in daily physical activity, eating healthfully, and having positive relationships. The degree to which you can manage your condition well will determine the degree to which you can succeed at a job.
Job search websites exist for individuals with disabilities. Try: www.abilityjobs.com, www.gettinghired.com, and disabilityjobexchange.com. If you don’t have a computer at home, you can use a computer (with your library card) at a public library to upload a resume from a flash drive to job search sites.
Today for obtaining employment you need to create a LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com. You can use this professional networking website to connect with other people. You can search for jobs on LinkedIn. Employers search for candidates here too. People living with disabilities are prized for their traits like creativity, problem-solving ability, and loyalty. Employers value these skills.
Added fuel for hiring peers: A recent Accenture study indicated that companies that hire, retain, and promote individuals with disabilities outperform their competitors: “Revenues were 28 percent higher, net income 200 percent higher, and profit margins 30 percent higher.” Companies like these are also “four times more likely to see higher total shareholder returns.”