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Original story location:
Reintegration & Recovery - I Need a Job

I Need A Job

How to find work

What kind of job is right for me?
How do I gain the skills I need?
How do I create a resume?
How do I apply for a job?
What is a job interview like?
How do I get to work?
How do I succeed at my job?
How do I interact with co-workers?
How do I treat customers?

A Job Means Fairwinds (a clubhouse) has helped me feel better about myself, and they have helped me keep my job. Overall Fairwinds has helped me expand myself. Now I am ready to pursue my goals and education."
- F. Reed

A job means many things to many people. Having money to pay for expenses is only one reason that people work. Having a job can mean accomplishing goals, meeting new people, learning new things and staying active. Having a job means you are reintegrating.

Many people with mental illness are able to return to work. Working can help provide independence by providing the financial capability to become more independent.

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What kind of job is right for me?
The first thing to do is to think about your work skills and decide if you are able to get a job. There are a number of sources for assistance. There may be a Clubhouse located near you that can offer guidance and assistance in determining the kinds of jobs that might be right for you.

For example, Clubhouses can help you prepare yourself for employment, identify the best job possibilities for you and often help put you in touch with prospective employers. Many Clubhouses provide Employment Counselors that can assist in making sure there is a good match between you and your employer and help sustain a good relationship once you've started to work.

Clubhouses can also help you make sure that you do not lose any support to which you are entitled such as essential health benefits.

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How do I gain the skills I need?
The first thing to do is to think about your work skills and decide if you are able to get a job. There are a number of sources for assistance. There may be a Clubhouse located near you that can offer guidance and assistance in determining the kinds of jobs that might be right for you. You may wish to consider the following opportunities:

Vocational programs:

  • Food services - preparing meals and other related services
  • Clerical assistance - typing, taking phone messages, mailing information and other types of correspondence
  • Maintenance services - doing repair work, painting, cleaning and landscaping
In some areas combined living and job programs are available. In these programs people reintegrate by living together and also working together as a team to operate a business. Some of these businesses have included restaurants, lawn care services, photo developing and carpet cleaning businesses.

If you are receiving disability or Social Security Income, make sure to check the guidelines about earning additional income. In some cases, if you work too many hours (or earn too much money), you may lose your disability or social security benefits.

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How do I create a resume?
A resume is a brief summary of your experience, knowledge, qualifications and personal interests. Employers use resumes to help identify the people they feel might be best suited for a particular job.

To create a resume it is a good idea to start by simply listing all of your experiences that might relate to the type of job you are seeking. This could include your education, any previous jobs or responsibilities and any special training or volunteer activities. Once you've identified the attributes that you wish to include in your resume, you can begin to layout your resume using a computer. If you are not familiar with word processing on a computer you may wish to have someone assist you.

A resume will generally include your name, address and phone number at the top of the page. Often, a resume will also include an objective, which simply states the type of work you wish to do. (But not all resumes include an objective.)

A resume will usually include separate areas listing education, experience, accomplishments and personal interests. There are many variations for resumes. Generally, a good resume is targeted at a specific employer.

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How do I apply for a job?
Once you've identified a job that you feel might be right for you, you'll need to apply for that position. A good way to begin the process is to write out the requirements for the job as you know them. Then list your qualifications compared to the job's requirements. For instance, if the job requires someone who pays close attention to detail and you feel you are such a person, then the job might be right for you.

If you feel that your skills and interests match the job's requirements the next step is to apply for the job. This often means going to the employer and filling out a written job application form designed to help the employer learn more about you. This form will usually ask your name, address, telephone number, and Social Security number. You will also need to provide information about the schools you have attended and what you studied.

Applications also usually ask for information regarding your previous work experience. Before going in to fill out an application, prepare to provide this information. Often, you can pick up a job application and fill it out at home; some employers will even mail an application to you if you ask them.

When you fill out the application be neat. Make sure your handwriting is clear and legible, and provide all of the information requested.

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What do I do about references?
Many job applications ask for references, or people who know you and who can provide information about the type of person you are and work you have done. Many people can serve as references former teachers, religious leaders, parents, former employers, your physician, or your Case Worker, for example.

Talk with the people who can serve as references before filling out the job application to let them know that you will be listing them. Also, be sure you have all the needed information on your references such as addresses and telephone numbers.

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What is a job interview like?
During the job interview you will often be asked to describe any skills and experience you have. Be prepared to discuss your education and any previous work experience you may have. You should be prepared to describe a work situation in which you feel you have been most productive.

Also, the employer will often want to know why you want the job. Again, be prepared to answer this question. You may wish to practice explaining why you feel a job is important. For instance, if you feel it is important to have a job so that you can earn money and gain greater independence, then be prepared to explain this during the job interview.

Be brief in your answers. Most job interviews are not lengthy. And, most importantly, be honest and be yourself. There is no benefit in trying to pretend to be different than you are.

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How do I get to work?
Another important consideration in applying for a job is transportation. Many people don't feel safe driving a car - they say their symptoms get in the way, or that their medicine makes them feel drowsy. Some people can get a ride from family members or friends. Others live close enough to work so that they can walk. Those who live in group homes may ride-share with others in a van.

If you don't have any of these options, you may have to take a bus or train to get where you have to go. This can be confusing it's a good idea to try a route with a friend or family, until you become comfortable taking it. It's also a good idea to have your Clubhouse and a family member's phone number with you at all times. That way, you'll be able to call someone if you need help.

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How do I succeed at my job?
Doing well on the job usually means fully understanding what you need to accomplish. Often, this takes a while to learn. Your supervisor or manager can help you understand the things you need to do in order to do your job successfully. When you begin working, ask your supervisor or manager how you are doing and how you might be able to do your job even better.

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How do I interact with co-workers?
Communicating with your co-workers is an important part of the job. Talking with others can help you do your job better and make the job more pleasurable. Most work environments rely on teamwork. That is, a number of people working together each doing their part as required. In order for teams to work effectively they must be able to communicate among themselves.

However, many people with an illness such as schizophrenia have a hard time understanding what others are saying. They also have a hard time expressing their thoughts and needs. Learning a few skills can make it easier to get what you need and want. Four skills are necessary for good communication.

Look - Look directly at the person you're talking to. That's a friendly way of showing you care about what the person is saying.

Listen - Listen carefully to what the other person is saying. If you didn't hear something they said, ask them to say it again or in another way.

Share - Let the other person know you've been listening - share your own thoughts and feelings about what's been said. It shows that you really were listening!

Ask - Get what you want and need by asking for it. Most people are happy to help once they understand your needs.

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How do I treat customers?
Most businesses and organizations depend upon customers. Customers are the people who purchase or use the products or services the company or organization provides. It is always important to always be polite and friendly to customers. Businesses rely on customers since they are the ones who purchase the goods and services provided.

When you are dealing with customers it is important to:

  • Be polite and pleasant
  • Be responsive. If a customer asks a question try to provide the answer or find someone else who might be able to help the customer.
  • Be attentive. Pay attention to customers; don't ignore them.
One of the best rules in working with customers is to treat the customers as you yourself would like to be treated.


Hope & Help


Approaching Potential Employers

Mental Illness and the Workplace

I Need A Job

Back to Work


Tips on Approaching Potential Employers

Finding Meaningful Work

Baer Reintegration Scholarship

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