Independent Living Skills and Cognitive Disabilities: Reduce Anxiety, Solve Problems

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Handshake icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The best way to get a job is through your personal network. Who do you know? Who do your friends know? Who do family members know? Who do your neighbors know? Who do those contacts know? Tell people that you want a job and ask them if they have any ideas for you. When they suggest a business or person for you to contact, ask if you can mention them. You would say something like, “John Smith referred me to you. I am looking for a job and John thought you might have a need for someone with my skills.”

Sell Yourself

Speaking of skills, do you know what you do well? Can you list a few things that you can do and that you enjoy? If not, spend some time reviewing your work history, volunteer jobs, hobbies, and group activities. What compliments have you received? If you can’t remember, ask your family, friends, or others who have worked with you. Include these skills on your resume and/or business card to help you remember.

Meet New People

If you have asked everyone in your network and you have run out of contacts to call, it’s time to meet new people. How? Networking is a great way. You might already go to events or meetings where there are lots of people. If not, think about joining a bowling league, trying out a new sport, going to a dance, going to a meet-up related to an interest that you have (www.meetup.com), or find a local networking group. Make a point of introducing yourself to someone new instead of hanging out with your friends.

How’s Your Handshake?

Smile, stick out your hand and give a firm handshake. (Practice if you need to, making sure that you are holding the person’s entire hand and not just their fingers.) Shake the other person’s hand for a count of two and then let go.

Say, “Hi, I’m –.” Listen for their name, and say, “–, it’s nice to meet you.”

Start a Conversation By Asking a Question About The Other Person

Ask where they work, and let them know that you are looking for work if they have any ideas for you. They might want to know what type of job you want or what you can do. This is when you need to say what you are good at and what types of jobs or volunteer work you have done in the past. If you have a business card with your name and number, hand them your card.

What other tips would you add to this list?

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