Looking for work with no references or work history, mental health/disability background

occasional lurker, alt account for privacy. basically title tells it all.

I’m late 20s, never had a paid job. depression in my late teens and strongly suspected of being on the autistic spectrum. I got by on disability for a bit and college and university and student loans kept me afloat. However I didn’t complete it because of a relapse.

I’m not entitled to benefits because of savings over the threshold. I don’t want to go on benefits anyway, I want to start my working life.

how do I go about getting work considering my CV is nonexistent, I don’t have any references either? I can’t explain away all the years of not working. I have fairly poor social skills. I’m not some genius maths/coder type person either 🙂

I’ve deliberately limited myself to low level jobs, however I’ve been so disenheartened by lack of progress I’ve basically given up applying.



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  1. ‘Low level’ jobs can lead to good progression, e.g. it’s pretty easy to advance to supervisor and beyond in supermarkets, if you work hard and actively push to be trained. The same applies for more niche retail positions like building merchants or trade suppliers.

  2. Volunteer, it’s done wonders for me while at uni. Yes, it’s not paid work, but it’s letting me get experience, references and getting foot in the door.
    If you don’t mind me asking, what did you do at college and uni?

  3. > strongly suspected of being on the autistic spectrum

    Have you ever been formally diagnosed? You could ask your GP for a referral in order to properly determine this. With a formal diagnosis you would be entitled to further support, and there are multiple employers (e.g. some of the major supermarkets) who actively support initiatives to help people with autism into work, and that recognise the impact this has on people’s employment record.

    https://www.autism.org.uk/about/diagnosis/adults.aspx

    As you say, your history makes it difficult for you to apply for work in the traditional manner. But there are many resources out there to help people with autism or mental health issues into work.

    You can also contact SAMH for advice on career services that may be able to help you in finding work https://www.samh.org.uk/find-help

    And for more information about local services that might help, I would talk to the CAB. https://www.cas.org.uk/bureaux/glasgow-central-citizens-advice-bureau

  4. For some strange reason, my post didn’t’ show up. I’ll try again.

    ​

    Have a look at [Glasgow Guarantee]([https://www.glasgowguarantee.org/Account/LogOn?ReturnUrl=%2f](https://www.glasgowguarantee.org/Account/LogOn?ReturnUrl=%2f)).. all jobs are paid at the living wage rate and are specifically geared towards the underemployed/unemployed…

    ​

    Also might not be a bad idea getting some volunteering experience right now as others have mentioned.. retail charity shop, citizens advice (citizen advice direct is more call centre like), befriending/tutoring etc..you can have a look at volunteer Glasgow who offer employability sessions.

    ​

    Finally, have a look at Google training sessions at the Mitchell Library. they do some intro to coding / marketing /cv clinics if that’s up your alley..

    ​

    Best of luck!

  5. Like others have said, volunteering somewhere is great so you can put it on a CV. If you can think of anything you’ve done that involves organising or sticking to rules in the past, taken part in group activities or completed a project of some kind, put that on a CV and write a little list of the things you had to do. So say you went hillwalking with a group once:

    Hillwalking with Adventure Group
    – In this activity I helped organise the group by contacting potential participants and communicating dates and prices with the group.
    – We had strict safety rules that I had to follow closely and ensure others were following also.
    – I was responsible for taking the list of vital equipment and ensuring all group members had this list and one of each item listed.

    Honestly anything that you had a bit of responsibility doing, it doesn’t need to be a job or something “very important”, just somehting to show you can recognise and follow rules and get things done within a time limit.

    References can be from any figure of authority that has spent time with you, so even a doctor or nurse that has worked with you, or does your family know an ex-police man or a fireman that can say they know you and would vouch you are a good and sensible enough person. An old teacher, the boss at the pub you drink at, anyone that can put in a good word is fine. Obviously, if it is the local pub landlord then you say “a local, respected businessman that knows me well” and not “Jimmy form my local”.

    And be honest about your past and why you haven’t worked as much as you are comfortable, just make it clear that you recognise you don’t have the experience but will make up for that in hard work and commitment.

    All the best finding a place.

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