Job hunters everywhere are facing challenging times in the uncertain economic climate, but jobs for people with disabilities somehow always seem just a bit harder to come by. While no business can operate with the wrong people on staff, disabled persons often infuse their work environments with creativity, innovation, and community spirit. Supporting everyone in ways that allow them to make a meaningful contribution is as critical to the well being of America today as it was in better times. The good news is, jobs for disabled people can still be found today, but it might take a little more creativity or resourcefulness on the part of the potential applicant. Here are some tips:
Don't be false, but before letting anyone else try to tell you what you are and are not capable of, be sure that you know your own strengths and weaknesses. Make the confidence you have in your personal abilities and in your ability to contribute to a place of work the first characteristic that recruitment and hiring personnel know about you. Smile, speak assuredly, and use body language to convey a sense of certainty.
Focus on the Positive
Focus on the skills you have, and not on those you don’t have or can’t attain. This will lead you to apply only for those positions that you can reasonably hold, and steer you away from those you cannot, thus boosting your confidence. Be sure to always share your visions with the person interviewing you and help them understand how the company can support you, by making statements like, “As long as I have access to an elevator, I will be able to visit those parts of the building that the job requires.”
Every person has strengths and weaknesses, and in much the same way, everyone’s past experiences can help them land an appropriate position. Use your performance at past jobs, or in internships or volunteer positions, to reinforce why you are the perfect candidate for the job you are seeking. Make your merit speak for you, and provide references that know your abilities and can accentuate your experiences.
Discuss Only What’s Appropriate
You need only mention your disability inasmuch as it will affect the quality of your work, which means you may not have to say much about it at all. That doesn’t mean secrecy or lying is the answer, but there is a line between secrecy and privacy that employers and co-workers must respect. If you have a physical disability that is visible and that may lead to questions, it is best to acknowledge it and return focus to the position you seek and why you are best qualified to fill it. You can help control the lightness of the situation.
Research Your Community
Chances are, there are individuals and organizations in your area that recognize your value and potential and want to serve you. It’s best to look into local non-profits that might be rich resources of information and that can help you tap into your local job market. However, there are also a number of national organizations that offer valuable advice as well. Websites like www.jobaccess.org have been designed to help secure jobs for persons with disabilities.
Above all, remember that you should only focus on those jobs you want to perform, not those you feel you have to. There is no one in the world that can succeed without perseverance and passion for their job, and there is no reasonable hiring manager who would ignore those qualities in anyone.