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You’ve Scored A Job Interview What’s Next?

Abby is on the job sitting cross legged in her PJs (gray bottoms & white top with a gray collar) with a teal Abby logo laptop on her lap. Sporting her signature explosive hairstyle, she is wearing a headset with microphone and her white cane is propped up next to her.

Abby Tackles How To Dress For The Interview

Interview Attire: Black Dress Pants; Tan & Black Tote Bag w/Gold Accents & Orange Tassel; Black Oxford Heels
Black Dress Pants, Tote Bag & Oxford Heels

You’ve done it!! You scored a job interview for your next dream position. There’s only one thing; as a blind or visually impaired woman, how are you going to make a great first impression? Let’s begin with these five tips:

  1. Understand your goals – know the difference between a job or stepping stone to a career
  2. Focus on your qualifications – keep the focus on your skills and abilities
  3. Know your worth – you are more than your disability, you are competent and valuable
  4. Carry yourself with confidence – your posture and how you walk, talk, and sit speaks volumes
  5. Dress the part – the way you dress tells a story so think about how you want to present yourself
Interview Attire: Tan Dress Pants; Tan & Black Tote Bag w/Gold Accents & Orange Tassel; Cream Pumps
Tan Dress Pants, Tote Bag & Cream Pumps

Generally speaking, today’s workplace environment is more relaxed than in years past. Likewise, depending on the position, interview apparel has followed a similar trend.

Before planning your interview outfit you need to take into consideration the company culture and how to dress for the specific role you are seeking. If you’ve followed a job search plan you’ve already researched the firm and/or spoke with the hiring manager to get an idea of what to wear.

Think of the word balance when it comes to dressing for an interview. You don’t want to be over the top like you’re going to a nightclub or so casual to qualify as raggedy. The same could be said for colors, fragrance, makeup, and accessories – balance.

Beginning with the basics a pair of black dress pants, black shoes and a tote bag can be paired with a tailored top, sweater or blazer. In the sample photos, I used the same tote bag with a pair of black and a pair of tan dress pants each with matching shoes.

Whatever you choose to wear make sure you’re comfortable and your mobility isn’t negatively affected by your clothing. For example, if you have problems walking comfortably in heels don’t wear them for the interview go with something lower yet polished.

Final Thoughts: 

If you have a guide dog or other household pets be mindful of any pet hair on your clothing. Keeping a small lint brush in your bag can be a lifesaver.

When you walk into the interview keep your head up, shoulders back and remember your reason be being there: you are competent and valuable. The only discussion about your disability should revolve around necessary accommodations to enable you to perform your duties. Now go out there and knock ’em dead! ~Abby

Additional Resources:

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Abby’s 14 Job-Seeking Tips For B&VI People

Abby is on the job sitting cross legged in her PJs (gray bottoms & white top with a gray collar) with a teal Abby logo laptop on her lap. Sporting her signature explosive hairstyle, she is wearing a headset with microphone and her white cane is propped up next to her.

Job Hunting Is Hard Work

Image is if a person icon standing and their reflection is the nationally recognized symbol of disability (wheelchair icon). White text says "not every disability is visible"

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.

Multi-colored post-it notes each containing a word or two like potential, mentor, coaching, ability, strategies, process, customer, guide, tactics, participation, team, projeects, development, etc.

14 Steps To Help You On Your Road To Employment:

  1. 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
  2. Check with your local Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). OVR counselors have a number of services to offer job seekers.
  3. Research mentors/mentoring programs for PWDs. A quick internet search will yield a number of results. Here are just a few:
  4. Expand your network on LinkedIn.
  5. Clean up your social media accounts. Employers Google potential candidates to check their digital footprint.
  6. To disclose your disability or not is up to you.
  7. Rehearse through mock interviews to become more confident.
  8. Be sure to have both electronic format & hard copies of your résumé.
  9. Do in-depth research on each company. To check out the culture and develop questions.
  10. Get the lay of the land. Prepare ahead of time by visiting the employer’s location.
  11. Dress professionally and leave the perfume at home.
  12. 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.
  13. At the interview stay focused on your qualifications needed to do your job.
  14. My favorite tip is to interview the interviewer. The interview process should be a two-way communication.  Come ready with questions about the company.

Final Thoughts

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.