The Best Job Possibilities for High School and College Students With Neurodiversity
Lucy Reed has been starting businesses since she was a kid, from the lemonade stand she opened in her parent’s driveway at age 10 to the dog walking business she started while in college. She created Gig Mine because she was inspired by the growth of the sharing economy and wanted to make it easier for entrepreneurial individuals like herself to find the gig opportunities in their areas
Neurodiverse individuals have a unique set of talents and skills to share with the world, but finding the right employment opportunities can be a challenge for many high school and college students with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or other types of neurodiversity. The majority of workplaces are built to meet the needs of neurotypical individuals, but those with neurodiversity may experience overstimulation in certain work environments and/or challenges interacting with others — making it harder for them to reach their full potential.
That said, there are plenty of great job possibilities to consider as a high school or college student with neurodiversity. Here are a few ideas.
Working as a library assistant is an excellent option for neurodiverse students, as these positions typically require strong attention to detail, organizational skills, computer skills, and excellent long-term memory. Plus, since libraries are usually very calm and welcoming spaces, they can provide a safe and comfortable work environment to individuals with neurodiversity.
To become a library assistant or technician, the American Library Association notes that applicants typically need a high school diploma or GED. However, some libraries hire high school students as well. Visit your local public library’s website and social media pages to browse its available positions, or stop by the library to check its bulletin board.
A job as a bank teller is another great option for high school grads with neurodiversity, especially those with excellent math and money counting skills, strong attention to detail, and complex computer skills. Just be sure to highlight these important skills on your resume when applying for bank teller positions, and make note of any customer service experience you may have.
Due to the likelihood of overstimulation and frequent social interaction, cashiering is not ideal for neurodiverse students. However, retail stocking is an excellent alternative for high school and college students. Previous retail experience is not usually required to work as a stocker, but the ability to count, lift, carry, and shelve products is crucial. A few places that hire retail stockers include:
The Kroger Co.
The Home Depot.
Regardless of age or education level, entrepreneurship is another great job possibility for students with neurodiversity. You may already be familiar with some of the other businesses owned and run by neurodiverse individuals, including Fabulous Fidgets, SMILE Biscotti, and Poppin Joe’s Gourmet Kettle Korn. These small businesses were all started by young adults with autism.
If you’re in high school or college and thinking about launching a business now or in the future, start by brainstorming some business ideas that would work well for you, whether it’s crafting, jewelry making, bike repair, or making and selling food products. Venzur points out that It may also be helpful to find a business mentor who can teach you a bit more about entrepreneurship.
Moreover, it’s important to think about how you’ll finance your start-up idea, develop the products or services you’ll offer, and structure your new business. There are many benefits of structuring your startup as a limited liability company (LLC), including tax advantages, liability protection, management flexibility, and a simpler filing process overall — especially if you enlist the help of a formation service.
Begin Your Job Search
Even if you plan on launching your own business, you may wish to get some work experience under your belt before moving forward with your startup plans. And fortunately, online resources can help you to find a job you’ll love. The Neurodiversity Network is just one resource for job seekers with neurodiversity, offering resume and cover letter writing tips, interview help, and links to neurodiverse job boards.
When applying for jobs, keep in mind it’s up to you whether you’d like to disclose your neurodiversity. But since a growing number of employers are actively seeking neurodiverse candidates, your neurodiversity could actually give you a competitive advantage. The choice is yours, however, and you should only disclose it if you’re comfortable doing so.
Also, as you approach employers, it’s essential that you have a good resume and well-written cover letter. Search online to find easy-to-use resume templates that can help you create a resume that fits your skills and industry.
The Bottom Line
The high school and college years are a great time for neurodiverse students to gain some practical work experience, as working can help them to build confidence and maximize their strengths. However, not all positions or work environments are ideal for individuals with neurodiversity, and it’s very important that they consider their interests, strengths, and weaknesses when choosing a job or long-term career path.