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Job seeking annoyances, advice welcome

SallyHSallyH Member Posts: 31 Courageous
edited September 2020 in Employment and careers
A little bit about me as this is my first post here. 
Hey there, I'm Sally, I have ADHD (Combined type) that was only diagnosed just over a month ago. I also have chronic clinical depression and anxiety that I was diagnosed with at 16. I'm 25 and currently working a job I really dislike. 

As for the meat of this post:

Is anyone else here really, really irritated with LinkedIn? I am so tired of Job hunting advice by 'experts' on there. I spend so much time on LinkedIn due to my job, and I've read so many posts meant to motivate job-seekers that I can say with certainty that they all boil down to 'Just apply, it's not your fault if they don't choose you. But it's also definitely your fault because you're just not good enough and being too picky. But also don't take it personally! Just work much harder than you ever would on anything ever then maybe you'll get it :))))' And also self congratulating recruiters who can't wait to post how amazing they are because they hired one disabled or disadvantaged person. 
Then there's the awful job postings on there wanting 3+ years experience for an entry level job with wages barely above minimum wage (if announced at all), and a list of responsibilities longer than my arm.

So, I decided to look into ADHD specific job help, and it feels even worse. Most of the places just list jobs good for people with ADHD (Like teaching or hairstylist...) and how ADHD people need to follow their passions and make their special interests a massive part of their work. But nowhere do they have advice on how to get those jobs, or how to build a career. They have advice for if you land an interview or if you need to talk to your boss once at the job, but not a single word about what to do to get the actual job. It frustrates me no end that I now know more about how ADHD people are allowed in the American Military than how to make a CV or cover letter that will help me move into a career that surrounds things I'm interested in.

I signed up for Scope's Support to Work, and emailed them straight after putting in my application to say that even though I haven't got a hearing impediment I would rather be contacted through email due to the anxiety I feel with phone calls, and how I find them very difficult to follow. I then received two phone calls from StW in the space of five minutes which I didn't pick up due to said anxiety and now I'm worried I've messed up my chances of getting the support due to this. I'm also so anxious about applying to jobs in companies that talk about wanting to employ more disabled people. I understand the good meanings behind it, but it feels very much like an excuse to hire a token disabled person to make their company seem more diverse...but that might just be the cynicism installed in me by fruitless job hunting. 

I'm so sick of job seeking. 
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Replies

  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,135 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @SallyH Welcome to the community glad you have joined us.

    Have you given your feedback to Linked in, maybe they should know how you feel, also if your not happy on there then there are other options available.

    I worked in recruitment for over 30 years for various companies and agree some out there only employ disabled for their diversity profile, however others do employ for the right reasons and to give everyone a chance of a work opportunity and they can be a most valued member of the workforce.

    Have you had any contact with the job centre as they often have disability work advisors who can point you to the right companies, also registering with some agencies like reed for example

    I hope you have more success with your jib search
  • SallyHSallyH Member Posts: 31 Courageous
    @janer1967 thank you for the reply!

    I haven't gotten in touch with LinkedIn, I didn't even know I could. I'll have to look into it a little and see if I can get in touch with anyone. 

    I haven't spoken to the Job Center due to a worry that I'd be seen as a waste of their time. I'm already in employment, however the job I currently hold causes my metal health to get a lot worse, and as all of my work experience (Not including my degree) is in retail and admin I'll be pigeonholed into those types of jobs rather than being helped to move into the industries I'd like to work in. I could be completely wrong in this assumption however. Do you have any experience with the job center?

     
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,135 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi again

    Yes I have had experience of the job centre  as I was out of work a couple of times due to redundancy, however I wasnt disabled at the time. They did try to encourage me into other areas of work but I wanted to stay in HR 

    It may be difficult to get help from them as you are in work and their priority is getting people into work

    What type of work are you looking for maybe the agency route would be the best option. 

    Indeed is a good website to use you can set up your profile and preferences and get job alerts based on them.

    I never used linked in for job searches but I would try and give them some feedback maybe not in the form of a complaint but more constructive feedback


  • SallyHSallyH Member Posts: 31 Courageous
    @janer1967

    I would love to work in the creative industry, I have a degree in illustration and I'm a volunteer set painter at a theater. However, due to mental health issues, I haven't really kept up to date with portfolios and my website is long overdue a rework. 

    I have very specific work place culture 'needs' that may cause issues too, especially with the trend of co-working spaces or hot-desking. Unfortunately it seems the arts, culture and creativity fields have taken these ideas and run with them. This brings a lot of anxiety when applying because I dislike being seen as 'needy' or 'difficult' even if I truly need these things to help manage my disability. 

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,989

    Scope community team

    Hi @SallyH! Welcome to the community :)

    I'll refrain from sharing my thoughts on certain LinkedIn posts, but rest assured that you're not alone in being frustrated with some of the posts on there!

    I'm sorry to hear that your job is making your mental health worse at the moment. What kind of work are you looking to get into?

    I know you've only recently been diagnosed with ADHD, but are you currently accessing any support for it, or for your anxiety and depression? 

    I agree that a lot of job advice for people with ADHD centres around deciding what kind of career you want, and tips for when you're already in a job you enjoy. I've bookmarked your post, and I'm going to have a look around to see whether there's any specific advice I can signpost you towards.

    I'm glad to hear that you've been in touch with our Support to Work service. I've sent them an email with a link to your post so that we can try and work together to make sure you access the help you need. Try not to worry too much, we're all here to support you.
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  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,135 Disability Gamechanger
    Maybe try and get your portfolio and website more up to date.

    You may also find that employers are more open to people working from home now after the results of the pandemic so there could be opportunities to explore there for you
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,990

    Scope community team

    edited September 2020
    Hi @SallyH

    I'm sorry you were contacted by the Support to Work team by phone.  You can email them on: [email protected] to feedback what happened to you and express that you still want support.  I am sure they will completely understand and be apologetic about the miscommunication. 

    As for your LinkedIn gripes, I hear you.  Too often it seems like employing a disabled person is a diversity box ticked and that's a sad reflection on the organisations.  It sounds like you are especially qualified and would be a real asset to the industry so I really hope your luck changes.  Please keep us updated with how you get on.

    As an aside, your experience might help us better understand the experiences of disabled people looking for work during the pandemic.  We have a survey on this if you would like to take part.
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  • SallyHSallyH Member Posts: 31 Courageous
    @Tori_Scope
    Hi there! I'm glad I'm not the only one who dislikes those posts, some of them are so bad they make me want to scream!

    I would really like to work in the arts, culture, and creative industry. I graduated just over three years ago with a degree in Illustration, I do creative writing as a hobby and I volunteer to paint sets for a local theatre. Sadly, due to the pandemic, I've not been able to do any set painting since last December and I'm not completely sure if the theatre will open its doors for a long while. 
    At the moment I'm working in an accountants as an admin. It's a job I've only been able to get due to my parents working at the same company. I only planned on being here for a few months (I had to leave my job at a pet store before this one due to not getting along with my manager along with mental health issues) while finding a new 'better' job. The fruitlessness of the search has started making every day feel worse than the day before, as I feel trapped. 

    I've tried to access some support for my ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression but I haven't had much luck. I'm medicated for them, but I haven't had access to a therapist or counsellor due to long NHS wait times. I have considered seeing a private therapist, my only worry is money at the moment. 

    Thank you for having a look for me, and I'll be over the moon if you find anything. The lack of practical advice for people with ADHD as adults really worries me and I have become upset before at the state of some of the British ADHD websites as most have out of date links and seem mostly abandoned. 

    Thank you again for sending the Support to Work team an email! I was so worried they'd write me off since I didn't answer the phone
  • SallyHSallyH Member Posts: 31 Courageous
    @Cher_Scope

    Hey, 
    Thank you for the message! I'm going to send them an email now. I'm sure it's probably a busy time for them and things like that sometimes happen. 

    I've been put off even looking at some jobs due to their recruiting staff re-posting, linking, or even writing those kinds of posts. It makes me feel -and I'm sure others feel the same- that if I got employed by those people they'd use it as an 'uplifting' post to fake how much they care about disabled people. Their motivational posts are somehow even worse! 

    Thank you again, and I'll fill out the survey! 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,989

    Scope community team

    Hi again @SallyH!

    Me too :D Coincidentally, I had a big rant about those kind of posts with some friends yesterday. I'd try and limit the amount of time you spend of there if it's worsening your mental health. It can be good for searching for jobs and making new connections, but try not to spend too much time endlessly scrolling through posts that make you feel worse.

    Time has run away from me a bit, but here are some of my initial thoughts. I'll continue to search for more resources over the coming week.

    1. Cool degree! The arts in general, especially theatres, are really struggling at the moment, but try not to lose hope. I agree with @janer1967 that you should definitely try and work on your portfolio and website if you feel able. Frustratingly, the things that can help to improve our mental health, such as working on something we enjoy, are the exact things that our mental illness stops us from doing. Don't put any pressure on yourself, but perhaps you could try and set yourself little goals each day or week to start to chip away at it. You can't force creativity, but you can allow yourself the space and time to let your creative juices start to flow again.

    2. CVs and cover letters can be a bit of a nightmare. I don't know what stage you're at, but this is what I did when I felt overwhelmed:
    • Make a spider diagram of all of your experience. Jobs you've had, hobbies, volunteering roles, education, whatever you think could be useful!  
    • Group those notes into sections: employment, volunteering, education, hobbies etc.
    • Next to each bit of experience, write the main things you achieved and/or learnt. Don't undersell yourself, and try to be specific as possible by writing things that are measurable where applicable e.g. profit made, grade achieved, specific skill learnt etc.
    • Plop all of that into a Word document, and start to pretty it up and add the other information you'll need, such as specific date ranges, your name, your contact details, a references section etc. There are CV templates you can find online which'll help you check-off each bit of information you need. Let me know if you need help finding any
    • Cut it down, or bulk it up where needed
    • Adapt your CV and cover letter for each job you apply for, you want to tailor it towards the role
    • The Scope website has a good page on writing cover letters, which I think you should read. Basically, this is where you want to sell yourself and highlight the main skills and experience you have that makes you a great candidate 
    • Get someone (or multiple people!) to read your draft CV and cover letter! 
    That obviously isn't exhaustive, but it might help you get started?

    3. Try not to feel too anxious (a terrible phrase, I know...) about speaking to a future employer about needs or adjustments you might need to have in the workplace. You can read about reasonable adjustments on this page of the Scope website. You deserve to succeed at work, just like anyone else :) Asking for reasonable adjustments doesn't make you 'needy' or 'difficult' at all

    4. Therapy waiting lists can be pretty disheartening, but don't give up! I'm glad that you're on some medication at least, is that helping? Don't forget that you can speak to your doctor if you feel as though the type or dosage of medication you're on isn't working for you. I'm sorry to hear that you feel trapped, but hopefully we can help

    5. I'll let you know when I hear back from the Support to Work team, I'm sure that they won't have written you off

    Oof, that ended up being pretty long. Hopefully this helps a bit and, as I say, I'll try and find some more precise resources for you going forward :)
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  • SallyHSallyH Member Posts: 31 Courageous
    @Tori_Scope

    Sorry that I took so long to answer! 
    Thank you so much for the long answer, I'll definitely try and get my portfolio and such up to scratch. I have a few paintings that can go up pretty soon. The ebb and flow of my creativity output can be very...unpredictable at times. But hopefully if I see myself doing stuff I'll be able to keep pushing myself along. Some of my worries with art do come from the lack of jobs I see going at the moment, and how competitive they seem to be. 

    The bullet points are super, thank you! I think the cover letter link might be the clearest instructions on cover letters I've ever seen. For a while I tried some online courses for cover letters and some of them were absolutely bizarre. One suggested tracking down the hiring manager's social network pages and basically steal their interests???? So, so strange. 
    I am wondering about how I could frame my work in Admin and Retail to get into the creative industry. In your opinion how do you think that might work? I'm a little concerned I've already made my bed in a way. 
    What's your opinion on trying to frame certain parts of a disability as a good thing that could help the company? 

    Currently I feel that I should have a rise in dosage of my antidepressants as I'm having more low moods recently. I'm hoping I can talk to my doctors soon.

    Thank you so much!

     
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @SallyH, lovely to meet you! I'm glad others have been able to provide some advice. It is completely up to you how you choose to discuss your disability, but here are some articles you might find helpful:

    Scope

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,989

    Scope community team

    No problem @SallyH!

    Yeah, I think that's the trick. Being able to physically see things you've achieved can be really motivating. I think having an unpredictable ebb and flow of productivity is pretty characteristic of ADHD. You can eventually try and learn to really harness those episodes of hyperfocus in a healthy way to produce stuff you can be proud of.

    Yes it's definitely a difficult time to be seeking work, especially in the arts sector. I think it's important to realise that the wider situation is ultimately out of your control, so it's more crucial than ever that you just concentrate on the things that you can control: start working on your portfolio and website again, keep an eye out for opportunities as they come up, and continue to get experience in other sectors. Reed have a webpage on transferable skills that you might find helpful to read. Pretty much all experience is good experience, and you might be surprised at how many of the skills you need for an arts job you already have, and can prove, through your work in other sectors. People move between different careers and sectors all the time, so you definitely haven't resigned yourself to having a job you don't want forever!

    No problem, I'm glad it was helpful. It was a bit of a brain-dump on my part, but I tried to make it clear and concise-ish! The Scope page is great, isn't it? I used it to get my job here :D Oh gosh, no no no. Be honest, and be yourself. Cringey advice I know, but recruiters can tell when you're lying a lot of the time! 

    I'm on a training call for a few more hours this afternoon, so I've set myself a reminder to get back to you about your other questions. That'll also allow me to give it some more thought, if that's okay?

    The only other thing that I did think of last night was to ask you whether you knew of any ADHD peer support groups local to you? I know there's one where I am. They might be able to give you some more specific advice and support on a range of things, including searching for jobs. I think it'd be worth having a look online and on social media to see if there are any near you. 

    Definitely speak to your doctor about your dosage! Make the appointment now ;)

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  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,989

    Scope community team

    Hi again @SallyH!

    I'd definitely second reading the links that Chloe kindly sent. I also agree that it's up to you how you frame your disability. I would say that people with ADHD do often have certain strengths, so you might like to highlight those if you want. Some I've read about are: 
    • creativity
    • drive
    • resilience
    • hyperfocus
    • spontaneity
    • energy 
    • passion
    It really depends on what your individual strengths are though. Try and reflect on what positive traits you think you have, and maybe ask your friends and family, or even colleagues, too? 

    I'm definitely not a careers adviser, and it really will depend on the job, but have a look at the transferable skills link I sent you (and do some Googling of your own!) to see what skills you might already have that could be useful for any job. For example, working in admin and retail could provide you with evidence of being:
    • organised: I'm sure you have to be organised in an admin role, so think of some specific example. Do you keep organised files? Do you help organise meetings? Do you keep organised spreadsheets? This'll be useful in any role
    • self-motivated: again, try and think of some examples. Have there been times where you've had to motivate yourself to finish a project, or to come up with creative solutions?
    • design: you've already got volunteering and educational experience here, but was there ever a time when you worked in retail where you had to design a display, or something similar? 
    • working independently/working as a team: I'm sure you've done both of these in retail and admin roles. Perhaps you've had the opportunity to work on something independently in your current role? And you've presumably worked as part of a team when you've worked in retail?
    • using your initiative: again, I'm sure you've done this in both retail and admin roles. Did you notice that something could be done more effectively, and implement a change off of your own back? Have you used your own initiative in a high pressure retail environment?
    I know these are quite vague, but hopefully you get the idea? You're the expert in your own strengths, weaknesses, and experiences.

    Maybe start by trying to find job descriptions for the types of jobs you're interested in, and compile a list of common skills they ask for. 

    Also, it's okay if you don't have amazing evidence for every single skill. It's never too late to start building up your skill set (and you should continue to do this throughout your working life), so if you notice that you don't have much evidence of being able to work independently, for example, then ask your line manager if there are any opportunities within your current role for you to do some work on your own.

    I will continue to search for ADHD-specific advice!
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  • SallyHSallyH Member Posts: 31 Courageous
    @Tori_Scope

    I'm so sorry for not answering sooner! I got unexpectedly busy! 

    Thank you for two long replies! I'm going to try and write a list of my strengths and weaknesses to keep myself on track. I'll also speak to my colleagues to see if they can help me with the list. I'm glad someone else thought the 'stealing someone's interests' advice was odd. If I remember correctly the person used the example of saying you've read the hiring manager's favourite book... but surely that's the easiest way to get found out! One question and they can see you're lying! I do sometimes wonder how the people who give such advice got jobs of their own. 

    I've got a doctors appointment for next week so hopefully I can have my prescription looked at and upped if need be. And I did have a look at the support group near me, but their site was rather confusing and spoke a lot about supporting parents and carers of children with ADHD. I'm going to reach out to them and ask if they do a group for adults with ADHD but if not I'll continue my search and see if there's maybe a online meeting group I could speak with. I've also sent out emails to private therapists to see if their waiting lists are a little shorter. 

    Sorry again for not answering sooner! Your replies have been amazing and Scope's very lucky to have you on their team. 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,989

    Scope community team

    No need at all to apologise for reply times @SallyH!

    Great, I think that'll give you a good start.

    Yeah, a recipe for disaster! If you've actually read the book then great, but stick to what you know.

    Good news about the doctors appointment. They might be able to let you know about local support groups too, it's definitely worth asking. They do exist! Let us know how you get on. 

    That sounds good. Some private therapists do a sliding scale (I think) where they take your income/situation into account, and can make the sessions a bit cheaper. I'm not sure though but, again, there's no harm in asking. 

    That's very kind of you, but it's really no problem at all! I'll reply back here if I manage to find any good resources or information.

    Feel free to have a look around the other categories of the community and get involved in the conversation. I look forward to seeing you around :)
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  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @SallyH, how are you doing? :)
    Scope

  • SallyHSallyH Member Posts: 31 Courageous
    @Chloe_Scope Hi there! Thanks for checking in.

    I've been okay, but I have yet to receive an email from Scope's support to work scheme after emailing them about not phoning me, and me not picking up two phone calls from them on September 2nd. I know some of your colleagues have very kindly contacted them too. So I'm feeling a little abandoned so to speak. I don't know if there's an issue with my email or I just haven't been contacted and It's not been all that great for my mental health. 

    Hope to hear back soon. Thanks!
  • mwila_scopemwila_scope Scope Support to Work service Posts: 52 Pioneering
    Hi @SallyH,
    I Hope you are well.
    Apologies in the delay in getting back to you. I have sent you an email in regards to getting you booked in for an email appointment with one of our employment advisors. 
    Please let me know once you receive this.
    I look forward t hearing from you soon.

    Mwila
    Scope Employment Advisor
    Phone: 0300 222 5742
    Email: [email protected]
    www.scope.org.uk/supporttowork
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @SallyH, just wanted to check in to see if you have been contacted. :)
    Scope

  • SallyHSallyH Member Posts: 31 Courageous
    @Chloe_Scope Hi there 
    I've been contacted, thankfully. Thank you so much! 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Amazing! No problem @SallyH. :)
    Scope

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,989

    Scope community team

    Nice one @SallyH! Let us know how you get on with the programme :) 
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