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Recently I've been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and it made me feel that I'm better in some specific things than other people. The point is that the ways to advertise myself which come to my head sound not too advertising. Let's take this sentence: "If you give me clear instructions, I will be your most precise employee". I think it can be true with quite high probability. But the point is that I have a feeling that this sentence says along the lines something like "I can't work without instructions" (which is true but I don't want to bring it up xD). My first question is: is my hunch correct? The argument would be that if I could work without instructions, I would just say "I will be your most precise employee, full stop".

My second question is: how to advertise strenghts of Asperger's syndrome when looking for a job? I'm a data analyst. These advantages are for example: ability to not get distracted with things outside of a plan, ability to find motivation more easily, honesty. The problem which I can see is that these advantages work only under certain conditions (the plan must exist, the activity to find motivation must be mental, the companionship must not be intimidating).

  • Can you be more clear what your skillset is? "data analyst" covers a heck of a lot of space. – Matthew Gaiser Jan 4 at 21:13
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    I don't think this is specifically a problem that Asperger's people have, it's a good question for anyone, really. How do you highlight certain qualities about yourself without seeming like the opposite are neglected. You may not need to include the Asperger's at all, unless you think it's particularly relevant. – stan Jan 4 at 21:13
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    What's wrong with highlighting your strengths ("very focused and accurate in meeting goals") w/o mentioning a diagnosis? – DaveG Jan 4 at 21:23
  • I linked this below and I thought you may be interested in it: journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/… – stan Jan 5 at 18:52
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Your hunch is correct that adding "If you give me clear instructions" highlights the wrong thing. You can just say "I am precise" or, "I tend to be precise". It is always assumed that the "conditions" are met.

I have Asperger's too, and I don't like making definite statements because I can't guarantee they will be always true. For example, to say "I am precise" is something I'm hesitant to do because, well, I'm a human being and will eventually mess up, or what is "precise" anyway, perhaps I'm not precise enough, etc.

What I've learned, is that usually when you say "I am precise" or "I am punctual", etc, you are not always promising to be precise and punctual always for the rest of your life. Everyone knows you are human and it isn't like they're going to hold you to it 3 years down the line when you are late one time and they're all like "you said your were punctual, how could you!". No one would ever do that.

If you really don't like saying "I am precise", you can say "I tend to be precise". I really like the "I tend to be..." phrasing, because it conveys a specific quality or trait without promising to always be like that.

Looking for a job, selling yourself is the name of the game. It feels like advertising because that is exactly what it is. You have to market yourself. That said, I still feel uncomfortable with pushing my own qualities and advertising myself, but I have had to learn that it's just how things are, everyone does it. I usually try to be as accurate and as honest as I can, and grit my teeth and advertise myself as best I can. Remember, being precise is an Aspie trait, and other people are probably not going to hold you to the same degree or precision that you hold yourself. Everyone else is a lot more blasé about this than we are.

So don't focus on the Asperger's, focus on the positive qualities. "I tend to be precise and work methodologically" is how I usually advertise my Asperger's traits. So don't think about the Asperger's, think about what traits you have you want to advertise, and focus on those instead.

(Also, I highly recommend running your CV/whatever by someone else just to check it, and also seeing a therapist for counselling on social situations to check stuff like this and answer these kinds of questions, if you haven't already, I've found it to be highly beneficial for myself to ask a professional these things).

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A person with Asperger’s should advertise themselves in exactly the same way as a person without Asperger’s’. That is, by emphasizing all the qualities that make them a good fit for the position they’re applying for.

The point is that whatever strengths you have, you don’t have them because you have Asperger’s. You just have them, period. There are plenty of non-Asperger’s people who are precise and good at following clearly given instructions. There are plenty of Asperger’s people who aren’t good at those things in the specific way that you’re good at them. An employer would not care (and has no business knowing) “why” you’re precise, and mentioning a medical diagnosis you’ve been given in a job application cover letter or job interview, without some obvious context like seeking a medical accommodation and in a way that makes it look like you regard your diagnosis as saying you have some kind of superpowers, would come across as strange and baffling. So I suggest not mentioning the diagnosis itself. Just focus on your strengths, as anyone else would.

As for what is the best way to market the specific strengths that you mention, I agree with your analysis about “clear instructions” being a double-edged sword. I suggest going for a more vague (less precise!) description, along the lines of “precise, analytical thinker who pays attention to detail”.

As for the other things you mentioned:

  • “ability to not get distracted with things outside of a plan” might work as “strong ability to focus”.

  • “Honesty” is probably not worth mentioning unless you’re applying for a job where it is expected that you claim this as a personality trait (in which case dishonest applicants would also say that about themselves, naturally). And again, please do not assume that being honest is in any way causally related to having Asperger’s.

  • “ability to find motivation more easily” - dunno, I find this a bit confusing and don’t know why you would think that having Asperger’s gives you such an advantage over other people. But perhaps you can say you are “highly motivated”. Of course, anyone can claim that, so be prepared to give evidence to support the claim.

Good luck!

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    “mentioning a medical diagnosis you’ve been given ... in a way that makes it look like you regard your diagnosis as saying you have some kind of superpowers“ To be honest, it sort of does. The brains of people with autism work differently to those of neurotypicals, and this has both positive and negative effects. – nick012000 Jan 5 at 2:52
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    @nick012000 everyone’s brain works slightly differently from everyone else’s, and “this has both positive and negative effects”, so what you said, while technically true, doesn’t say anything. My advice to OP was to explain what “positive effects” apply to them as an individual. The label “Asperger’s” is simply irrelevant, and I would be quite suspicious of anyone claiming that because they have that particular diagnosis then they have some specific abilities that supposedly “neurotypical” people don’t. Your claim about superpowers is quite misleading IMO. – Dan Romik Jan 5 at 3:17
  • I agree with this answer, particularly that the focus should be on the traits and not the Asperger's, and that it shouldn't necessarily be mentioned at all, but I would like to point out that studies do indicate that "[people with Aspergers'] skills of concentration during long-lasting routine work, identification of logical rules and patterns, processing visual information, and the ability to remember facts, surpass neurotypical individuals" (doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0100358). – stan Jan 5 at 10:19
  • So while I agree there are traits that vary from one person to the next, and an Aspergers diagnoses shouldn't be flung around arrogantly as some kind of "superpower" (it sure has its downsides, that's for sure), there is more deviation from the norm in certain traits that is more than just the variation from person to person. – stan Jan 5 at 10:20
  • @Stacey interesting link, thanks! Seems quite relevant to OP’s question. – Dan Romik Jan 5 at 17:58

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