Tips for Disabled Job Seekers Ready to Control and Start a Career

The above picture is a woman in a wheelchair sitting at a desk shaking the hand of a male.

Tips for Disabled Job Seekers Who Are Ready to Take Control and Start a Career

 Millions of people live with a disability, whether it’s one that impairs their mobility, hearing, or vision, or it’s a disability related to a chronic disease, an injury, or a mental health issue. Unfortunately, as common as it is to be differently-abled, many individuals find that entering the workforce is more difficult. Disability benefits make it possible for you to live and thrive, but having a disability certainly doesn’t mean you can’t have a lucrative, rewarding career. If you are looking to enter the workforce, here are several tips from disABLEDperson to ease the transition and help you find the job that suits you best.

 Starting Your Own Business

 Instead of seeking a job from someone else, why not embark on your own exciting journey toward business ownership? Although the idea of starting a new business might sound intimidating, people around the world do it all the time. What you need to do first, of course, is put together a business plan; without one, you won’t be able to convince others to back your idea. And when you’re starting out, you’ll need that backing, unless you’re flush with cash already. To get your business off the ground, look into the many different funding options available to you, such as term loans, Small Business Administration grants, and funding specifically for disabled entrepreneurs.

 You’ll also need to take care of other startup tasks such as forming your business structure, submitting your EIN application, registering your business with the state, and creating a business bank account. These steps protect your personal assets as well as ensure you’re running your business according to local code.

Set Yourself Up with the Right Tech

If you’re like most, a lot of your job search will be conducted online using an online job board, which is why there’s some tech you can’t do without. For starters, a reliable and smooth internet connection is key, so look to upgrade to a fiber-optic network. You’ll also need a high-resolution webcam for remote interviews whether you’re using Zoom or GoToMeeting. And if your laptop is a few years old and not functioning as well as it once did, it may be time to purchase a new model.

 Seek Professional Guidance

 You’ve probably heard about or seen an advertisement for an employment service provider, but are you aware that there are thousands of them who specialize specifically in helping those job seekers who have a disability? A disability service provider not only helps you find a job but offers helpful resources such as resume and interview tips, on-the-job training, and assistance with disability accommodations at the workplace. Many offer continuing support long after you’ve landed a job. When you’re ready, seek out a disability employment service provider.

 Craft the Perfect Resume

When you begin applying for jobs, it is guaranteed that an updated resume will be a requirement of the application process. Before you begin, remember that you are in no way required to disclose your disability on a resume, and waiting until the interview ensures your potential employer doesn’t pass you up due to intentional or unintentional biases or preconceived notions. Your resume is where you list your skills, qualifications, education, and past work experience. Be sure to keep it simple and clear with a uniform font and layout throughout. If you’re having trouble getting started, find a resume builder online that can guide you through the process of putting together something sharp and professional.

Nail the Cover Letter

While a resume is pretty easy to put together, a cover letter can be a little trickier. After putting together your resume and filling out an application, you might be wondering, “What else should I include that this employer doesn’t already know at this point?”

 According to Alex Twersky, the vice president of career consulting firm Resume Deli, a cover letter provides “a narrative opportunity to emphasize your grasp of the job's requirements and how your particular skills and accomplishments map to the job." This is where you can personalize and sprinkle in your personality as well as demonstrate an understanding of the company for which you are applying with specific examples of how you can meet their needs. Again, you aren’t required to disclose your disability. If you are struggling to piece together your cover letter, use an online cover letter builder. This type of platform lets you choose a template design and walks you through the entire process.

Ace the Interview

The job interview is where you will let your potential employer know you have a disability, and depending on its nature, it may already be known once you enter the room. However, keep in mind that unless you need some sort of work accommodation, you don’t have to discuss your disability at all. Job interviews are a little nerve-wracking, so make sure you do your research ahead of time on the company, and look up potential interview questions so that you can practice your answers. You will also want to prepare answers to any questions or concerns about your disability as well as how you will address any gaps in your employment, disability-related or otherwise.

You’ve never been one to let your disability stop you, so who’s to say you can’t have a career? Taking that next step can be a little scary and there are several unknowns, but you are more than capable of handling this. You’re a doer, and entering the working world is nothing more than the next item on your can-do list.

Written by Jillian Day