This week, we spoke to Maxwell, an autistic individual who works as a Marketing Executive at the Autism Directory. Maxwell provided a fantastic insight into the world of marketing and has shared some brilliant advice for neurodivergent individuals about how to efficiently search for and find employment.
1. What’s your job and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?
“My Job Title is Marketing/Content Executive at the Autism Directory and I have been here for 1 year and a half, having moved from Northern Ireland to Cardiff in September 2018.A typical day involves checking social media, creating content and visuals using my graphic design skills, video editing skills and taking part in general marketing. I also like to research and come up with content ideas for social media.”
2. What do you love about your job?
“I love working with other people on the autistic spectrum; at the Autism Directory over 70% of staff are autistic. This means I work in an understanding environment, with people who share a passion for helping others through challenges we have faced ourselves. We also have a good laugh in the office and I have made some very good friends.”
3. Why did you decide to pursue a career in marketing?
“I wanted to start a career in marketing, as I enjoy using my creative skills and creating connections with people to tell stories. I would love to pursue a marketing or creative job at organisations like Scope or Amnesty International in the future, to help fight for more positive change and change the perceptions of people with autism.”
4. After you made this decision, what did you do?
“After doing a work experience placement at BBC Cymru through Remploy due to my interest in current affairs, one of my first roles in marketing was a Campaigns Assistant at NUS Wales, where I worked to encourage young people and students to register to vote for the 2016 Assembly Elections. My interest in politics and current affairs was one of the reasons why I applied for this role.
Though the interview for this role went well and I was able to communicate efficiently, interviews in general, have always been something I have found hard. It takes a little bit of time for me to build up my confidence before an interview and I am often still very nervous. Being rejected from roles can knock my confidence quite a lot.”
5. Do you think being autistic has impacted your career in marketing?
“I think that there are some negatives of being autistic within marketing. Sometimes people in marketing can have a pre-conception, either intentionally or unintentionally, that I might not be able to do certain things. Some people assume that I would find communication hard, but this also makes me very determined to succeed.”
6. Stereotypically, autistic individuals aren’t commonly associated with careers in the creative industry. How would you challenge this stereotype?
“I would challenge such stereotypes, as I have done through my work with The Future Is ND, by arguing that not only can autistic people be very creative but, like everyone else, not every autistic person is the same. We can be sociable and work as part of a creative team in the right environment.”
7. What has been your best moment within your career so far?
“One of my best moments in my career so far has been getting an article published in The Huffington Post about mental health and autism. I have also written articles for City AM and enjoyed working at BBC Cymru, where I got a researcher credit on an episode of the Week In Week Out investigative programme.”
8. After a long day at work, what do you like to do?
“I am very interested in films, particularly ones that have something to say about society, but I also enjoy the odd cheesy or scary horror film! I sometimes write and recently started learning salsa dancing to build my confidence.”
9. What do you think is the most important thing to consider when finding a job that you love?
“One of the most important lessons I have learnt is that it is easy to put pressure on yourself, but it is important to remember that everyone is different and we all take different paths. I still often compare myself to other people, but I try to overcome this by focusing on what I have achieved.”
10. What advice would you give to autistic job-seekers who haven’t yet decided what career path to take?
“Don’t put pressure on yourself to find the perfect career straight away; it’s okay to take time!”
11. What advice would you give to autistic job-seekers regarding the recruitment process?
“Regarding advice about recruitment processes, I would say that disclosing your autism is the best approach. There will always be employers who have negative pre-conceptions, but there also those who are more positive and open-minded. Remember, your greatest strength is what makes you unique and you should never be ashamed of who you are!”