What do I have to offer an employer?

You might not realise how useful your skills can be to an employer or what your strengths are.

Different skills will lead you to different types of employment or jobs. If you are really good with numbers and maths for example, you might be happy working with money in a shop or bank, as an accountant, or as a mathematician.

Your interests may well lead you towards working in a specific sector

If you are passionate about animals, for example, you might want to be a dog walker, work in a pet shop, or train as a vet. You might not want to work directly with animals but might like to work with a charity such as the RSPCA where your passion shows how committed you will be to your employer.

The National Careers Service has information about jobs in different industries.

Transferable skills

During your life to date, you will have developed skills, knowledge and experience; for example doing your special interest, undertaking voluntary work, playing sport, through education or going to clubs. Some of these skills will be really helpful at work. They are called transferable skills because you can transfer them from one situation to another. For example, the attention to detail that helps you research and collect stamps can help you to make sure that you collect data from every department in a company, and to know what is missing. Transferable skills are useful in employment. They include:

  • Communication skills
  • Numeracy
  • English
  • Digital and online skills
  • Planning and organisation
  • Team-work
  • Collaboration
  • Customer focus

These types of skills and experiences are what you offer an employer in return for payment or an opportunity to develop even more skills.

Using an assessment to help understand your skills

The following assessments are free to use. You may want to ask someone who knows you well to talk about the results with you.

Be aware that assessments are not usually autism-specific

National Careers Service

The National Careers Service have assessments on their website which can help you understand yourself:

  • Skills and Careers – This online test can help you understand what sort of work you might like. It takes at least 10 minutes, possibly longer. You will be presented with a number of statements – for example “I like taking responsibility for other people” and you have to decide whether you Strongly Agree, Agree, It Depends, Disagree or Strongly Disagree.

At the end of the assessment, it will recommend some job sectors that might suit you. It may ask you to answer 2 or 3 further questions about each sector. It then provides you with information regarding career and job types that could be suitable for you.

  • Skills Health Check – These assessments are slightly more in-depth and take between 15 and 25 minutes each. There are 2 groups
    • Personal Skills, which assess Skills, Interests, Personal Style and Motivation and
    • Activity Skills, which assess how you:
      • Work with numbers
      • Work with written information
      • Check information
      • Solve mechanical problems
      • Work with shapes
      • Solve abstract problems

You don’t have to do it all in one go. Sign in, and you can go back to finish the assessments when you want. Once you have completed the assessments, it will produce a report for you to download and use to help you decide what might work well for you.

University of Portsmouth

The University of Portsmouth offers profiling assessment tools for autistic people with mild or no learning disabilities. These assessments are funded by the University of Portsmouth and provided free of charge.

It includes 4 types of assessment:

  1. An Employability Profile – to help you find a suitable career or job.
  2. Cognitive Profile – produces a tailored report on your strengths and weaknesses in social and communication skills; flexibility and planning; and sensory sensitivities. It includes a tailored support plan including recommended workplace adjustments.
  3. Full Employment Profile – designed for people taking part in job programmes and looking for work placements. The profile includes both an employability and cognitive profile
  4. Student Profile – designed to discover the student’s cognitive profile and provide tailored recommendations on how to communicate your needs to others at university.

Alternatively, you may have a diagnostic report which contains a profile of your cognitive skills. If really detailed, they can form the basis of areas you need to consider in finding your reasonable adjustments, but they can be hard to interpret and so are best done with the support of a job coach.

Jobcentre employment assessment

Jobcentres also have Work Coaches who will help develop an ‘employment assessment’ to find out what kind of work will suit you best.