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, realistic, and time-sensitive.
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 our conditions. With a routine in place for taking medication if needed, engaging in daily physical activity, eating healthfully, and having positive relationships, we can manage.
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.
Years ago, I was reluctant to “connect” on LinkedIn with other people. I’ve changed my tune on this. If you want to connect with me as one peer to another on LinkedIn, send me a request on that site to do so.
Add a personal note to the request with the message: “I read your Career Corner column and would like to connect with you.” I will respond when I see this note.