A Neurodivergent’s Guide to Taking Charge of your Career
By The Mentra Team
Taking Charge of your Career
Careers are a fundamental part of modern life; not only do they provide a stream of income, careers provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment while working towards a goal. An increasing number of forward-thinking companies are looking for a diverse pool of applicants to fill their open job roles. However, traditional career counselors, job coaches, and government support programs don’t always have the capacity to serve this talent pool and connect them with inclusive companies.
Luckily Mentra, a platform designed by a neurodiverse task force, is pioneering the way for neurodivergent talent to find their dream careers with an AI driven algorithm that matches highly individualized applications with roles that best suit each career seeker. It’s been so successful that 100% of applicants that have found a new career through the platform have chosen to stay 1 year later and continue growing within their organization.
Mentra prides itself on being more than just a platform; it is a community with resources engineered to empower each user to take their career and their future back into their own hands. If you’re ready to take that next step, here are some clear, actionable steps you can begin implementing today!
Step 1: Consider your Unique Strengths
It is easy to ignore your unique talents. Neurodivergents often find themselves caught in a negative self-narrative. This is natural as many have suffered after years of being exposed to a non-inclusive environment with huge pressure to conform and ‘mask’ their differences to the point of feeling inadequate.
However, when thinking about your career, ‘thinking differently’ can be hugely beneficial to companies. That’s the reason why many companies such as Microsoft, Walgreens, and Goldman Sachs are recognizing this value and beginning to tap into this talent. It’s time to understand what you bring to the table and tap into, what Mentra calls, your “neuro-exceptional strengths”. Some examples of these strengths include: long term memory, creativity, integrity, precision & detail, deep subject matter expertise, as well as laser-focusing ability. To learn more about what strengths are out there, you can read Mentra’s “Top Ten Neurodivergent Strengths” article as a possible template to help you explore strengths that might resonate with you.
Another way to continue discovering, understanding, tracking and communicating these skills is to use the Mentra platform. The Mentra sign up process asks questions around what your “neuro-exceptional strengths” are. Just the process of signing up, and seeing the variety of neuro-exceptional talents that exist help you track and communicate your value to employers better in the future.
Step 2: Advocate for Yourself & Consider what Accommodations you Need.
It would be a mistake to think that being a part of the neurodiverse community doesn’t present challenges; however, 21st century America continuously grows more understanding. Accommodations, once a luxury, are now a legal right, and in the foreseeable future, with a community that’s expanding in numbers and awareness, progress will only accelerate in pace.
In order for this progress to continue, it is important to be vocal and honest, not only about your challenges, but also about how you can improve with the help of your manager. A good employer should listen to your needs. The act of creating a Mentra Profile allows students to reflect on and communicate their support needs which prepares them to advocate for themselves in the job search – at Mentra we call this “Inclusion Essentials”.
Advocating for yourself begins at the very beginning of the job search process; create an accommodation list before you even start interviewing. It is important for you to feel comfortable in interview settings and in your workplace to perform at your best. Signing up on the Mentra platform helps you with the process of understanding and consolidating the variety of accommodations that you can ask for.
Anything from having interview questions sent ahead of time to asking for frequent breaks and being in an office space with natural sunlight or no loud sounds are all potential accommodations you can ask for. Having heard the challenges directly from the community, Mentra has compiled a list of commonly requested accommodations.
Once you have assembled your list of strengths and accommodations, it is time to create a profile to start applying for relevant jobs. While resumes can be a great place to start, the Mentra profile is a more holistic and comprehensive tool to share your unique strengths. Along with allowing you to add in your required accommodations and unique skill sets, you are able to personalize your application with video responses that go beyond a traditional resume format.
Step 3: Connect with career opportunities
More and more aspects of our lives depend on the internet. Hiring is no different. Jobs are posted everyday, and the most accessible place to find them is through search engines. The majority of job postings can lead to rejection, which can be especially hard for the neurodiverse to deal with. Some experts argue that Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria is a common problem among members of this community. It is advisable to persevere through the discomfort of some doors being shut (if necessary consult with a professional). Eventually some doors will open, and getting a job in today’s economy is usually about applying to a wide variety of postings.
To help ease the process of disappearing into the “resume balck hole”, Mentra matches neurodivergents directly to open job roles with employers looking for a diverse talent pool and notifies you via email when you’ve been matched. Some of the benefits of entering a new company through this approach can include interviews with individuals experienced in working with neurodivergents, positions that take into account your accommodations, and the opportunity to join understanding communities and employee resource groups that can offer advice and mentorship.
By completing and submitting your profile on Mentra you ensure employers will be receiving a complete look at you and your strengths as an employee. You will additionally be able to speak directly to employers who are aware of neurodiverse needs and are happy to provide accommodations.
Step 4: Join Neurodivergent Communities
As they say, be the change that you want to see in the world. Every movement for a good cause needs to be consolidated by social change. Join your fellow neurodivergent peers across the community. Make some noise!
Advocate for a more inclusive work environment; in this process, you’ll also gain invaluable assets such as: new friends, experience, advice throughout your career, and a chance to help other neurodivergents through your own experience, both online and in person.
Mentra hosts panel sessions and guest writers on their blog to advocate for voices within the community. Sign up to Mentra to continue being updated on the latest community events and resources.
Your dream career awaits. If you need a little extra help taking these steps, feel free to reach to the Mentra team to help you sign up to create a profile. The Mentra team can ensure that you have the resources to be on your way for a bright future ahead!
Mentra is a neurodivergent-friendly talent platform that intelligently matches neurodiverse individuals with employers that value their strengths. Mentra puts recruiters in front of candidates rather than forcing them to navigate through the challenging process of finding a job. How? Through humanistic AI and community-driven design. For more information visit www.mentra.me