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    Poor verbal communication skills, crap at interviews, and seeking work...
    • #1
    • 6th Apr 09, 11:17 PM
    Poor verbal communication skills, crap at interviews, and seeking work... 6th Apr 09 at 11:17 PM
    Hello everyone,

    Firstly I apologise for the long post.

    I am 28 and have never been employed. I am a shy and quiet individual and can be somewhat anxious in social situations. This could be Asperger Syndrome, it could be Social Anxiety Disorder – who knows?! I have seen Psychiatrists, Psychologists, etc and no help from that angle. In fact I was misdiagnosed as Schizophrenic based purely on the presence of what is known as negative symptoms such as apathy, lack of emotion, poor or nonexistant social functioning – combined with the fact my mother and her father both had Schizophrenia. (For those interested “positive” symptoms are hallucinations, delusions and so on). So that didn't exactly help matters. It's just the way I am and always have been. If I could wave a magic wand and change me, then I would. I suspect if I got a job it is something that may improve over the years.

    I left school without any GCSE's and then applied for various jobs. But having no GCSE's and no references I got very little interest - one interview, and a thick pile of rejection letters was all I had to show for it. I did some NVQ training courses but never completed any. The first one ended because I could not find a work placement – in my opinion the stumbling block was the interviews. I again applied for jobs and collected a fresh pile of rejection letters.

    Eventually I went to college and picked up some GCSE's and A levels. I then went on to University leaving with a first class honours degree. I spent a year applying for jobs – both jobs corresponding with my qualification (such as research assistant posts) for which I had a few interviews – and also jobs with no requirement for qualifications, such as supermarket type jobs. I applied for jobs across a very broad geographical area and was prepared to move if offered a job. A year on with no success I felt I had to do something. I did some voluntary work – working on a website for a charitable organisation, which ended because the organisation unexpectedly shut down. I decided to do a Masters which I passed with merit. My thought at the time was that perhaps in the jobs I had interviewed for before, having the masters might have given me the edge against other applicants. I also hoped it may help with the shyness and anxiety, but it didn't – just like my 3 years doing the undergraduate course didn't. All the time at college and two different universities and I have only made one “friend”, which I hope expresses how profoundly my difficulties interacting with people affects me. So here I am now. Some qualifications, with no job to show for it, and loaded down with a career development loan.

    What next?

    For general jobs such as supermarket ones, picking/packing etc, I have either been unemployed forever (12 years) and have no references, or if I mention my qualifications I am overqualified. For jobs commensurate with my qualifications, ALL specify a requirement for good verbal communication skills. Even if the job is a desk-based one with little interaction with others. This is something I just do not have - and will be plain as anything in an interview. Even if there was a job which did not list this as a requirement – I would stumble at the interview stage for this reason – if not because they thought it made me unsuitable for the post, then because I did not manage to describe my abilities well enough in the interview, or answer the questions well. Plus whatever way you look at it, no-one really likes a shy person. Especially an interviewer who is no doubt there because they have particularly good communication and social skills. Plus they obviously want to feel the person sat opposite them is someone they'd feel comfortable working with.

    I'm not expecting a job to be handed to me on a silver platter. I am putting in effort. I am looking for and applying for jobs. When I go to interviews I am wearing an ironed suit along with an ironed white shirt and blue silk tie. Freshly polished shoes. Hair cut, freshly shaved, clean etc. I spend plenty of time reading things about the post, the job description, the organisation and go to the effort of looking for as much information relevant as possible. I consider the questions I may be asked and prepare answers for those. I have been to the University careers department and asked for help regarding interviews – mentioning my difficulties, but they provided no useful help (let me watch a DVD which showed a bad and a good interviewee, and gave me a leaflet – both telling me everything I already knew). Putting Asperger Syndrome on the application form in the disability sections does not help either. If I put in I was in a wheel chair then they'd provide a ramp and suitable desk and so on.

    I could do voluntary work – but this would not do little to help what is primarily preventing me getting a job. Although it would give me a reference other than a University one and show that I am not the sort of person who does nothing. I guess I was just unlucky with the one that closed down unexpectedly. That's all I can think of really.

    Does anyone have any useful advice?

    Thanks very much in advance.
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  • LindsayO
    • #2
    • 6th Apr 09, 11:59 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Apr 09, 11:59 PM
    I work part-time as an internet assessor for Lionbridge. They are not hiring in the UK at the moment, but that may change, so it might be worth checking their web page. If you google Lionbridge Internet Assessor you will find it.

    I suggest that as a job that does not require social skills or face to face interaction. The whole application process is done via email. There may be other avenues for work that do not require face-to-face communication skills that other people are aware of and can suggest.

    Good luck with your job hunt
  • l4ne2008
    • #3
    • 8th Apr 09, 3:11 PM
    • #3
    • 8th Apr 09, 3:11 PM
    Have you looked on the National Autistic Society website, they have a prospects employment service which may help. It mentions help for those who live in London, Glasgow or Manchester, do you live in or near these areas? I would ring them even if you don't live in these places as they should offer some practical solutions. I wish you all the best in your search for a job.
  • princessamy86
    • #4
    • 8th Apr 09, 3:23 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Apr 09, 3:23 PM
    I don't really have anything constructive to offer, sorry, I just wanted to say good luck. It sounds like you have a really positive attitude to finding employment, I hope you get something soon.
    Scar tissue that I wish you saw, sarcastic mister know it all, close your eyes and I'll kiss you cause with the birds I'll share this lonely view.
    • glossgal
    • By glossgal 8th Apr 09, 4:15 PM
    • 425 Posts
    • 744 Thanks
    • #5
    • 8th Apr 09, 4:15 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Apr 09, 4:15 PM
    OP, I think you're wrong to discount volunteering, in fact i think in the short term this is your best option. Not only would volunteering give you experience for the cv it would help improve your social skills a great deal because in my own experience there is a much greater mix of people old young, educated, working class, middle class etc than in the workplace where you tend to get similar types of people. Also there is less pressure on you to 'perform' if you aren't being paid for it and this would hopefully take out some of the stress for you. I know this won't help financially but in the long tern it definately could-how about volunteering in the public/charity sector?

    Also i wouldn't be so hard on yourself with regards making friends. I am not a good mixer myself and only made 1 friend at uni (I did have others on standby though ) -I agree that being shy is a social disadvantage but if you are a nice friendly person then that will always shine through. I disagree that you should avoid jobs with social interaction as to me that just makes it worse, a happy medium can be found Im sure.
    "I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself" -Oscar Wilde
  • GrammarGirl
    • #6
    • 8th Apr 09, 4:40 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Apr 09, 4:40 PM
    Have you considered doing something like writing freelance for your local magazine/newspaper? You seem to have a good writing style, good spelling and grammar... if you're interested in local history or culture, you could pen a few articles and send them to local publications, see if they're interested in publishing them? Then you could look into doing this regularly, on a freelance basis, and getting paid for it.

    I definitely agree with others - don't discount volunteer work as it will boost your skills and confidence as well as your CV.
    • tyroneshoelaces
    • By tyroneshoelaces 8th Apr 09, 4:51 PM
    • 194 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    • #7
    • 8th Apr 09, 4:51 PM
    • #7
    • 8th Apr 09, 4:51 PM
    i would have to agree with the above post, your writing and grammar etc etc seems very very good. I wish you all the very best in finding a job.
    • pinkshoes
    • By pinkshoes 8th Apr 09, 4:54 PM
    • 15,336 Posts
    • 20,897 Thanks
    • #8
    • 8th Apr 09, 4:54 PM
    • #8
    • 8th Apr 09, 4:54 PM
    From your post, you come across as a very intelligent, well balanced individual, who would be the ideal candidate for many jobs!!

    Have you thought about filming yourself trying to answer interview questions, and see how you come across? Is there anyone who could do a mock interview and allow you to film it?

    I would also consider doing more volunteer work, as it could lead to other things as you become more comfortable with it.

    Perhaps try forcing/challenging yourself to do socialising tasks that you find difficult.
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
    • mountainofdebt
    • By mountainofdebt 8th Apr 09, 5:13 PM
    • 7,425 Posts
    • 10,796 Thanks
    • #9
    • 8th Apr 09, 5:13 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Apr 09, 5:13 PM
    I would also recommend voluntary work, especially where there is some front of house help needed.

    I used to work for an organisation that had such a volunteer helping out in the reception and in the space of a year he hd become more comfortable with meeting the public so much so he left us as he had a job !
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