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Finding a Job When You Have a Disability

Find a Job with These Helpful Tips

If you’ve been out of the job market for a while, or are looking for your first job, it can feel quite overwhelming. Am I up to date on the latest career trends and technology? Am I ready for a new job? What do I need to do?

There’s no better time than today to focus on your Ability—companies around the world are embracing diversity and the power of the inclusive workforce. We hope these tips and resources will help you find the employer that is perfect for you, and end in a successful job search.

1. Research, research, research

Before you begin your job search, start with a search for knowledge. You’ll want to take stock of the variety of ways that you can search for jobs, including websites like AbilityLinks that are devoted solely to helping persons with disabilities find jobs. You can also review job placement programs, local or personal contacts, and other sources. Be careful of sketchy websites that make false promises or that don’t seem focused on your goal.

2. Learn about the companies you’re interested in.

Looking at company websites can help you understand what each company does, how they are represented in each industry, and their attitudes towards inclusive employment. Pay special attention to things like mission statements and core values. There are many benefits to this research, including identifying which companies will be a good fit for you—plus, learning ahead of time how to show the company that your abilities are a perfect fit. This will also give you a clear advantage during the interview by showing you have invested time in learning about the company’s culture and goals.

3. Learn about the specific position you’re applying to.

Some things to think about while you are applying to jobs:

  • Is this job something I will enjoy doing or that I am passionate about?
  • How do my skills and specialties relate to this job?
  • Do I have any certifications or credentials that would help me perform this job?
  • What type of reasonable accommodations, if any, would I potentially need for this job?
  • Do I have examples of past work or experience related to this job that I can showcase?
  • What specific things about me will empower me in this job?

4. Leverage the power of technology in your job search, resume, and interview process.

For example, Microsoft provides a huge amount of accessibility tools for Windows computers, ranging from dictation, speech recognition, personalized viewing options to make things easier to see, a screen-reading app called Narrator, auto generation tools, Focus assist, Reading view, and loads more. Apple also takes accessibility very seriously with a variety of tools such as Magnifier, Zoom, Live Listen, FaceTime, VoiceOver, and Display Accommodations.

Make sure to take advantage of these powerful technologies as you complete your research, create your resume, and prepare for your interview. Also, showing your potential new employer how you use technology to maximize your Ability is a sure way to show off your confidence… and give you an edge during your interview.

5. Know your rights and protections under the ADA.

Be acutely aware of your legal rights—there are many resources online to help with this, including the US Department of Labor website page on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

6. Prepare examples of your work before the interview.

Gather examples of work you’ve done in the past, or relevant experience you have, and organize it in a meaningful way that you can show to the employer. Very few things are more convincing than a tangible example of your skills and experience that you can share!

7. Be warm, but firm, if an interview gets uncomfortable.

An unfortunate reality is that some interviewers may be uncomfortable during the interview and may indeed be making assumptions. They may use terms that you don’t prefer or may even ask questions that are not legal to ask. (The EEOC provides some guidelines and facts for job applicants with some examples.)

It’s understandable to get angry or frustrated if these things happen. But, remember that the interviewer may not mean any intentional disrespect! Responding in a warm and friendly manner—while remaining firm on your rights and your abilities—can help to educate the interviewer and make the interview progress much more smoothly.

8. Focus on Ability.

Ensure that you always focus on Ability. If you are asked about how you might complete a task, make sure that you say exactly how you’ll do it, and then shift the discussion to how your talents empower you to get the job done.