Over the years, we have found that it can be beneficial to initially work with families to help them develop strategies at home that are conducive to the nurturing of future employees. When those strategies are in place—and working well—the individual is likely to be much more “employment-ready.” Whether you are looking for employment, know someone who is, or are celebrating your own successful employment, here is a list of the strategies we believe are some keys to success in employment:
1. Know yourself, and be prepared to market yourself. Be aware of your personal strengths and challenges, and continue developing and utilizing tools for maximizing your abilities, and minimizing (or eliminating) your challenges. Consider things you’ve heard from teachers, friends, family members, and former colleagues. You might benefit from accessing employment-ready tools such as interest surveys, career aptitude tests, resume-writing and interviewing classes, etc. Watch the jobs that people are doing around you as you go about your daily life, and pay attention to “help wanted” notices. As you become more aware of the types of jobs that are available, which ones appeal most to you, and the training/experience necessary to pursue a particular position, you can make decisions about what to study, who to ask to job-shadow, where to gain additional experience, etc. Let people know you’re looking for work, as employment often comes down to “who you know” more than “what you know.” And pay attention to your “packaging,” or how you present yourself to others (including hygiene, dress, mannerisms, manners, voice volume, ability to talk about your attributes, etc.), as those will help others take notice of you—hopefully in positive ways that will lead to successful employment!
2. Get busy. Once you have a better idea of who you are, what you like, and what you might be good at, get out there and do something about it! Volunteering is a great way to gain experience, skills, connections with other people, opportunities for meaningful contribution of your time and talents, and potential professional work references, and it can help a person adhere to a productive schedule. Experience almost always looks good on a resume, and helps prepare a person for successful employment. Add to the list of things you are doing regularly and independently at home (laundry, cooking meals, budgeting, scheduling own appointments, etc.). Not only will this help keep a person busy, prepare for successful independent living, and contribute to the household, but it is also a great way to prepare for the rigors of employment. Read books and talk to people about the skills necessary for successful employment, and practice them regularly as you volunteer or work at home. Complete lots of applications… very few people get jobs without trying numerous times with a variety of employers. And remember, no one is likely to find a job while playing video games or sleeping all day!
3. Celebrate even small successes. Securing employment can take a long time, whether or not you have extensive experience or training—or help from a professional job developer. Be sure to encourage yourself over applications completed, interviews secured, connections made with new people, classes finished, certifications attained, etc. Hold onto hope, keep trying, and keep smiling!
That’s a very simplified list of things a person can do to prepare for successful employment. Do you have other ideas? Feel free to share those with us on Facebook, in the comments secti or connect with us via email!