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Finding a Job or Internship with a Learning Difference

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Stanford as a university is committed to accessibility in the name of equity for all members of its community. If you’re a Stanford student with a learning difference, you may have accommodations in place that help you mitigate barriers at school. You may have identified ways of learning that work better for you, or environments you know help you to thrive. Perhaps it’s a quiet place to study or extended time on tests, software that helps you process information, or frameworks that allow you to self-pace your work so you can keep your anxiety at bay. If you’re starting a search for an internship or a job, you may be wondering how to find a company in which you’ll feel you belong. Read on for resources to help you, as you begin your journey towards finding meaningful work.

Networks that Match Neurodiverse Students with Companies:

When looking for an inclusive workplace, it can be intimidating to know where to start. One method is to begin by exploring companies that have a stated interest in supporting neurodiversity. The following recruiting networks are specifically aimed at matching high-potential university students who also have a learning difference, with companies who’ve partnered to recruit them. Many of the companies who partner with networks like these also participate in on-campus recruiting at Stanford. But by going through the network directly, your application will get highlighted and expedited to a recruiter trained to provide an accessible and inclusive hiring experience for neurodiverse students in the application pool. That means it will be easier to bring up any accommodations you may need during the interview process, as well as ask questions openly about inclusivity.

  • Lime Connect is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is “rebranding disability through achievement.”  They prepare and connect high-potential university students and professionals - who happen to have learning differences and/or disabilities, for scholarships and internships with partner companies. Lime Connect runs a Fellowship Program, and also helps place students in full-time careers with their corporate partners. Some of Lime Connect’s partners include Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Unilever, Bloomberg, and Goldman Sachs.

  • Empoly is another network where high-potential students with learning differences can find jobs and internships from companies interested in hiring them. They partner with Deloitte, Pinterest, IMG, and Venture for America, amongst others.  

Other places to explore, when looking for a job or internship:

  • Ability Jobs isn’t a full-service recruiting network in the same way as the organizations listed above, but it’s a useful place to search for jobs. Its online job board features postings from employers specifically seeking to hire people with learning differences or disabilities. You can search the listings, or you can post your resume and you’ll remain anonymous unless you give permission for an employer who’s interested to contact you.

  • Getting Hired is a job board "for job seekers with disabilities located in the United States, with more than 100,000 active listings." You can search by zip code. A local search we did recently for the Palo Alto are pulled up jobs at Facebook, Stanford, and more.  

Think about your strengths:

As a Stanford student, you have access to a team of career coaches, who lead hundreds of programs and events each year across campus. These coaches also offer career assessments, which can help you clarify your interests and provide a starting point for exploring the world of work.

One assessment you may find particularly useful is CliftonStrengths, which gives students insight into their top five talent themes, along with action items for developing them further. The assessment also provides suggestions about how you can use those talents to achieve academic, career, and personal satisfaction. Learning your CliftonStrengths can give you some new frameworks with which to describe what you’d uniquely bring to a workplace. It can also help you think through your talents, rather than focussing on your challenges, as you’re defining which roles and companies could be a good fit. If you’re interested in CliftonStrengths, please contact your Career Communities Coach. After completing the assessment you’ll be encouraged to schedule a coaching appointment where you’ll have an opportunity to debrief and reflect on the assessment 1-1 with a Stanford Career Education Career Coach.