8 Job Search Skills to Start Teaching Your Teen With Disabilities

The above picture is of a man and young woman sitting across from each other with the man looking at her job application.

8 Job Search Skills to Start Teaching Your Teen With Disabilities

It's finally time: your teenager is ready to get their first job. They want to make their own money and get a bit of freedom! But your teen has no experience in job searching and you're worried that they're in over their head.

We're here with a few basic job search skills that every teenager should know. Read on to learn more.

1. Finding and Analyzing Job Postings

To adults who have been working for years, this might not seem like an actual skill. For teenagers, however, finding and analyzing job postings isn't easy! There are millions of available jobs on the web, so it can be overwhelming for a young person to try to find the right one.

Let your teenager watch you navigate job search sites. Show them how you're filtering jobs and explain why you add each filter. 

You should also show your teen how to make sure that the job will be a good fit. Teach them how to identify the required skills and specific keywords that are included in the posting.

By narrowing down jobs and identifying key points in the listings, your teenager will have an easier time narrowing down jobs that will work for them and applying for those jobs when they're ready.

2. Resume Writing

Writing a resume is a skill. Most people need help when it comes to perfecting their resumes, but you can still help your child start off on the right foot.

If your teenager is still in high school, the "education" section of the resume is going to be simple. But what about the other sections? How can you fill up a resume when your child doesn't have any work experience?

Think of non-work experiences that your child has had. Did they do volunteer work? Are they on any school teams or committees?

Teach your child how to identify their strengths and apply them to the job posting at hand. Don't forget to incorporate the keywords from the first section for a great resume. 

3. Cover Letter Writing

Not all jobs will require cover letters, but it's a good idea to get your teen in the habit of writing them anyway. A cover letter will set your teenager apart, and because teen employment is so competitive, they may need that extra boost. 

Teach your child how to emphasize their strengths. Consider hiring a writing tutor to help your teen learn how to write concise and clear paragraphs.

Here are a few tips for how to write a cover letter that you can share with your teenager.

4. Interviewing

Interviewing is a skill, and it's a difficult one for teens to learn. This is especially true if your teen's disability impacts their social skills or speech. 

You're going to want to have "mock interviews" for your teenager. Run through the entire interview process as if you were an employer and they were someone applying for the job. Try not to be too "soft" on your teen; you want to give them a realistic experience. 

Teach your teenager how to make a good first impression. Have them dress well during the mock interview and take notes on the things that they have trouble with. 

Teach them about the questions that employers might ask as well as questions that they should ask employers. Remember, interviews are an opportunity for potential employees to interview employers as well.

Tell your teen that they don't have to disclose their disability. This is something that many teens aren't aware of, and manipulative employers use that ignorance to their advantage.

5. Self-Advocacy 

Self-advocacy is key for any teen with a disability. Even before your teenager gets the job, they're going to need to understand how to advocate for themself (and recognize when something is wrong).

Make sure that your teen knows their employment rights. Teach them how to ask for accommodations (if necessary) and how to respond if their request is refused.

Make sure that your teenager is able to assert themself (while remaining professional) so employers don't take advantage of them. 

6. "Soft Skills"

Soft skills are important for teens who are looking for jobs. Because they don't yet have the experience to gain "real skills," job soft skills are what make them employable. 

Soft skills are applicable to most jobs. They include things like writing, critical thinking, problem-solving, writing, and digital literacy. Your teen will learn many of these skills while they're in school.

There may be gaps, however. Try to find the gaps in your teen's soft skills and either hire a tutor or help them yourself.  

7. Accepting Rejection 

This is a tough one. Handling rejection can be difficult for all teens, but many teens with disabilities are at a greater disadvantage. Rejection can be challenging to any teens with rejection-sensitive dysphoria or various mental illnesses. 

Talk to your teen about what to do when they get a rejection. Help them understand that rejection isn't the end of the world and that most people experience at least one (and usually many) job rejection. 

8. Networking

At the end of the day, networking is going to be a game-changer when it comes to finding a job. It's not what you know; it's who you know. 

Most of the time this only applies to more "professional" careers, but many teen-level jobs are also easier to get into if you know the right people. Teach your teen how to connect with others and ask for help. 

Teach Your Teen These Crucial Job Search Skills

These job search skills will be instrumental in helping your teen find their first (or next) job. Job training isn't all about academics. Soft skills, social skills, and so much more will be helpful when it's finally time to apply.

Are you helping your teenager with a disability look for a job? Check out our job directory today!