The Top Tips for Finding Jobs for People With Disabilities
The above picture is of a man in a wheelchair speaking with a co-worker looking at writing on a glass door.
The Top Tips for Finding Jobs for People With Disabilities
What if your dream job was within reach but then you lost it?
It's hard enough for anyone and everyone to land a great job. And it can be even harder for those with disabilities.
Fortunately, we've put together a solid guide to finding jobs for people with disabilities. Want to know the secret? Keep reading to learn the answers!
One of the biggest keys to disability employment is to use all of the resources at your disposal. And while we'll dive more into that in a few minutes, we wanted to first shine a spotlight on selective placement.
Many federal agencies have a trained Selective Placement Program Coordinator who helps find jobs for people with disabilities. Such people typically handle everything from recruitment to hiring to accommodations.
These coordinators are most useful if you are trying to land a government job for disabled individuals. Keep them in mind and you may be able to discover some great jobs that you weren't previously aware of.
Confidence is Key
There are many key differences when it comes to getting disability employment. However, one way this is similar to more traditional ways of getting a job is that you must project confidence from the very beginning.
Don't worry about them asking embarrassing or probing questions. In fact, they may be forbidden from asking some of the very things that you are worried about answering!
Instead of acting like someone who wants a job, act like someone who already has the job. That means providing concrete plans, asking specific questions, and otherwise showing how you speak their language.
Plus, we'll let you in on a little secret: pretending to be confident is one of the only ways to achieve actual confidence. Employing a "fake it 'till you make it" attitude for early interviews will help you gain the confidence you need for later interviews.
Part of that confidence is asking for reasonable accommodations. And that means you must have a very firm grasp of what "reasonable" means in this context.
Basically, any accommodation is reasonable so long as it helps a person with a disability perform a job requirement. Some people may require ergonomic furniture, for example, or a computer with a screen magnifier.
Now, there is an obvious "catch" when it comes to reasonable accommodations. Namely, that your employer cannot provide them if they do not know anything about your disability.
This is why it can be useful to be completely upfront about any disabilities at the time of the interview. It will show your employer that you are forthright and also allow them to make any necessary preparations before you begin working there.
Know Your Rights
Because of things like reasonable accommodation requests, many people with disabilities get confused. What do you have to disclose to an employer and what do you have to keep a secret?
It's important to know your rights (such as the American Disabilities Act). Fortunately, it's pretty easy to understand the answer to this question!
When applying for a job, you are under no obligation to disclose your disability. And if your disability will not affect your job performance, then you never actually have to disclose anything to your employer.
So, when do you need to disclose a disability? Simple: you must disclose whenever it will keep you from performing a necessary duty.
Someone in a wheelchair may need to request a ramp be added to a stage when they are required to give a speech. And someone with vision issues may need to have modifications made to their computer monitor and tablet to ensure full readability.
If it helps, don't think of disclosing a disability as sharing a shameful secret. Instead, look at it as being honest with an employer about what you need to succeed.
Your success is the company's success. Therefore, your employer should have no problem taking care of the required accommodations.
More Pros Than Cons
Sometimes, those with disabilities worry about their ability to perform at a job. Eventually, they start to underestimate their skills and their ability to accomplish various tasks.
That's why we offer this advice that every job seeker should hear: you need to focus on your skills and ability rather than your disabilities.
At the end of the day, an employer sees new hires as tools in their toolbox. To stand out, you need to be able to demonstrate that you can do things that other hires cannot do.
Start by honestly assessing your strengths as a worker. If you need any help, then call your previous managers and ask them what they saw as your strengths.
As with acting more confident, playing up your strengths has some powerful long-term effects. For example, knowing everything you can accomplish may push you to challenge yourself even further in the coming years.
Experience Makes the Difference
Earlier, we talked about playing up your strengths during applications and interviews. We've got some bad news, though: your employer will want to see how you can quantify these particular accomplishments.
For instance, anyone can say they are good at sales. But can you discuss how many sales you made in the previous quarter and how your sales compared to others at your job?
Alternately, it's not enough to say you have soft skills such as "leadership." Can you highlight specific examples of when you successfully spearheaded various company projects?
Ultimately, this approach works well because you are leveraging your accomplishments and experience (such as prior military service) in a way that makes you look good to your employer. Don't forget to tailor your resume and cover letter for each job you apply for!
Jobs for People With Disabilities: The Bottom Line
Now you know more about finding jobs for people with disabilities. But do you know who can help you find the job you've been dreaming of?
At disABLEDperson.com, we specialize in helping people with disabilities find employment. To see which resources are available to help you successfully land an awesome job, check out our disability resources today!