Becoming a Job Coach for the Neurodivergent Community

As a single mother to an autistic teenager, I’ve learnt a lot about patience and being curious about exploring the hidden meaning behind words, gestures and behaviour. Whilst I had recognised that my parenting experience had been and continues to be my greatest teacher, I hadn’t realised that the skills and insights I had gained would be useful to others.

Parenting an autistic child requires you to be open-minded, able to pick up on subtle clues, and meeting your child where they are with compassion and openness. I’m sure it’s similar with most children and adults, but meeting someone where they are – with acceptance and an openness to try and understand the world from their standpoint – does wonders for helping them move forward with greater confidence.

As a job coach for the neurodivergent community, I have taken this insight and combined it with the skills I have acquired over 25+ years in the business world. My business experience has been gained predominantly in the world of public relations and communications and culminated in my Managing Director role at a fashion/luxury brand communications agency in London with a staff of 160. I ultimately found such a high pressure and demanding role completely unsustainable with my situation at home.

Since 2017, I have worked as a business consultant, mentor and coach for small businesses in the fashion/luxury sector but it wasn’t until last year, during lockdown, that I recognised that my combined experience at home and work could be helpful to neurodivergent adults who were struggling to find and keep secure and rewarding work. I have found it hugely rewarding to be able to offer support and guidance to this community as a job coach through Exceptional Individuals. I’ve had some wonderful candidates and great results, some of them securing dreams jobs after being out of work for two years. I provide practical support with CVs, covering letters and interview practice, in addition to coaching, all of which serves to boost their confidence and widen their field of possibilities. My hope is that our sessions together help them value their unique contribution and believe in themselves, as well as guide them on how best to present themselves to potential employers. It’s often the highlight of my week.

Five tips for CVs

  1. Your CV should be no longer than 2-3 pages.
  2. Don’t worry about CV gaps and focus on your strengths, talents, achievements, and impact.
  3. Put your profile at the top of your CV which should be a succinct description of who you are professionally, a sense of what’s important to you, and where you want to go in your career.
  4. In your employment history, place the most recent role at the top, and for each role focus on your achievements, your contribution, and your areas of responsibility with no more than five clear and concise bullet points. Make sure to include months and year for more recent roles.
  5. Reread for spelling mistakes and ask someone else to read it to ensure it’s clear and easy to read.

Caroline Cooper
Business Mentor and Accredited Life Coach

Caroline can be found at the following places:
Caroline’s Linkedin
Caroline’s Instagram

Lead image by Lukas, used under creative commons.

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