Knowledge Center - Client Articles
Job Development Strategies for People with Disabilities
Job hunting is challenging for everyone, especially in a tough economy. And, sometimes, it can be even more difficult for people with disabilities to find the perfect job.
Work Opportunities Unlimited offers the following advice:
- Don't just apply to advertisements. Contact companies that fit your interests, whether or not they're currently hiring. You'll never know what's available unless you ask.
- If you're submitting applications in person, be ready for an on-the-spot interview.Be prepared in case a potential employer wants to ask you questions on-site. Dress professionally and be ready to answer questions about your skills and experience.
- Consider using an employment service that specializes in meeting the needs of people with disabilities. Approximately 20% of US adults have disabilities. Companies that are more inclusive in their hiring practices can significantly improve public perception among this demographic, their friends and family, and the general public.
- Think about when and how to disclose your disability to a potential employer.Is your disability visible? And does it impact your ability to do the job? If not, there's no need to disclose it. If the disability is visible, discuss it in positive terms and only present information that the employer needs to know. Emphasize your abilities - not your disabilities. Be upfront and honest about your situation and any accommodations you may need, but also be clear about how you can - and will - do the job effectively.
- Be confident.Reassure potential employers that you're up for the task and explain that you'll work hard, be productive and positively impact the company. Give examples of how you've successfully performed in the past.
- Know that employers can't ask questions about whether you have a disability - or the nature of the disability.All questions must pertain to the essential job functions and your ability to perform these tasks. But employers may be able to ask if you'd need any accommodations and, if so, what that would entail. Helpful information on this topic is available here.
- Practice spotlighting your skills and talentsBecome comfortable answering basic interview questions like "What are your strengths?" Determine what you'll say to showcase your skills, talents and experience. Reiterate what you can do well, and that you're open to feedback, willing to learn and committed to working hard.
- Find resources to assist and support you during your job searchThere are a variety of state and federal agencies that provide services and funding for people who qualify. Vocational Rehabilitation, developmental service agencies, and the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work program can be tremendously helpful. Search online for more information.
- Get past any misconceptions about what you can't doDemonstrate the benefits that you'd bring to the team. Just like any other applicant, focus on your talents, strengths, and experiences, demonstrate your ability to get the job done and show enthusiasm for the position.
With practice, determination and a positive outlook, you'll soon find a job that's a great fit. During the interview process and on the job, emphasize your abilities - not your disabilities - and demonstrate how they make you a tremendous asset to the company.