Job Hunting Is Hard Work
The numbers of unemployed people with disabilities in the U.S. have always been higher in comparison to those without. Among the blind and visually impaired (B&VI) the numbers are bleaker.
According to the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), 75% of the approximately 4 million B&VI persons are unemployed. Compared with 3-4.4% unemployment of our sighted colleagues.
Creating a job search plan can help you overcome many of the hurdles in your path.
14 Steps To Help You On Your Road To Employment:
- Familiarize yourself with Title 1 Employment ADA guidelines.
- Title 1 essentially prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified people with disabilities throughout the hiring process. “The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including State and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations.” For more information see A Guide for People with Disabilities Seeking Employment
- Check with your local Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). OVR counselors have a number of services to offer job seekers.
- Research mentors/mentoring programs for PWDs. A quick internet search will yield a number of results. Here are just a few:
- Enable America
- DO-IT – Mentoring and Peer Support for People with Disabilities
- National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC)
- Expand your network on LinkedIn.
- Clean up your social media accounts. Employers Google potential candidates to check their digital footprint.
- To disclose your disability or not is up to you.
- Rehearse through mock interviews to become more confident.
- Be sure to have both electronic format & hard copies of your résumé.
- Do in-depth research on each company. To check out the culture and develop questions.
- Get the lay of the land. Prepare ahead of time by visiting the employer’s location.
- Dress professionally and leave the perfume at home.
- If you plan on taking notes or recording the conversation ask permission first. Or if you prefer, use your braille note taker or other technology to for notetaking.
- At the interview stay focused on your qualifications needed to do your job.
- My favorite tip is to interview the interviewer. The interview process should be a two-way communication. Come ready with questions about the company.
Job hunting is not for the faint of heart. It will take time, effort, and disappointment. Know your worth, sell yourself, keep moving onward, and above all, keep it professional.