State of Illinois
Department of Human Services
Looking for a Job? Supported Employment can help you find and keep meaningful work.
How Does Supported Employment Help You Find a Job?
Supported Employment is a program sponsored by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Divisions of Mental Health and Rehabilitation Services. Supported Employment helps people with mental health conditions find and keep meaningful work.
It is Important to Find a Job that is a Good Match For You
Finding a job that is a good match for you helps you succeed. In the Supported Employment Program you and your Employment Specialist can develop a job search plan that is specific to you and meets your expectations.
Identify Your Most Important Preferences
Your employment specialist can help you:
- Identify the types of jobs or kind of work you want to do.
- Make a list of the things you think are most important to your success on a job.
- Keep these preferences in mind during all phases of your job search.
Identify Job Leads
It is usually best to use multiple strategies to identify job leads. Here is a list of strategies you and your Employment Specialist can use identify job leads.
- Contact family and friends
- Contact previous employers
- Go to your local Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) office
- Go to the Department of Employment Security
- Attend job fairs
- Locate openings on career-related web sites on the Internet
- Read newspaper want ads and other sections of papers that advertise job openings
- Contact employers for informational interviews
- Talk to someone employed in the same field of interest
When you begin contacting employers, it is important to be prepared. Your Employment Specialist can help you with this.
- Identify the companies you want to work for.
- Research those companies so that you are able to ask appropriate questions
- Prepare a list of questions to ask the potential employer about the company.
- Prepare answers to questions that you could be asked when inquiring about job opportunities.
- Ask to speak to the person who is responsible for hiring.
- Introduce yourself and explain the reason for your call.
- Ask about job opportunities and the hiring process
- If there are no openings, thank the person for taking the time to talk with you about job opportunities.
- Keep a record of the employers you contacted, and the outcome.
Prepare for Interviews
You will probably feel more confident during job interviews if you prepare for them. Your Employment Specialist can help you prepare.
- Prepare responses to common employer questions.
- Develop questions to ask employers. (e.g., What do they want their new employee to be able to do?)
- Prepare a statement about what you can offer in the position.
- Rehearse and role-play job interviews.
- Contact previous employers for references.
- Secure two forms of identification (e.g., birth certificate, Social Security card, state ID card).
- Fill out mock job application to have information ready.
- Choose an appropriate outfit to wear to the interview.
- Know the location of the interview.
- Plan transportation to the interview and the amount of time to get there promptly. Allow time for unexpected delays.
- Prepare a list of questions that you want answered related to:
- Job responsibilities
- Work schedule
- Ask the employer when a hiring decision will be made.
- Remember to thank the employer at the end of the interview.
- Write and send a thank you note to the employer.
- Call the employer to inquire about whether a hiring decision has been made.
- If the position was filled, ask about other people and employers to contact.
How Do I Get Started?
If you are interested in supported employment, talk to your case manager, therapist, psychiatrist, employment specialist or Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) counselor. They can give you more information or help you get started.
What Else Should I Know?
More information on Supported Employment can be found in the other brochures in the Looking For a Job?: Supported Employment Can Help You Find and Keep Meaningful Work series:
- What Is Supported Employment?
- How Does Supported Employment Help You Succeed?
Additional information is available at www.mentalhealthpractices.org.
- Everyone getting treatment for a mental health condition qualifies
- You will receive personalized benefits counseling
- Supported Employment is coordinated with your treatment
- You can begin looking for a job as soon as you say you are ready
- You will receive ongoing support
- We will help you find a competitive job that matches your personal preferences
To find out if supported employment is available near you, use the DHS Locator at http://www.dhs.state.il.us/officeLocator/ and look under Mental Health or Rehabilitation Services.
For more information
Call or visit your Illinois Department of Human Services' Family Community Resource Center (FCRC).
If you have questions about any Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) program, call or visit your FCRC. We will answer your questions. If you do not know where your FCRC is or if you are unable to go there, you may call the automated helpline 24 hours a day at:
You may speak to a representative between: 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday - Friday (except state holidays)
For answers to your questions, you may also write:
Illinois Department of Human Services
Bureau of Customer and Provider Assistance
100 South Grand Avenue East
Springfield, Illinois 62762
Visit our web site at: www.dhs.state.il.us
Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.
DHS 4615 (N-06-07) SE - Conducting Job Searches
Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois.
11,000 copies IISG07-35