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4 Ways for Graduates with Disabilities to Get Started in the Job Market

October 26, 2017

You did it! You’ve worked hard and you’re ready for the next step in your life. Now it’s decision-making time: which career path is best for you? Finding the right job can be frustrating and stressful for anyone – but especially if you’re living with a disability.      

Here are four ways for graduates with disabilities to get started in the job market.

1)    Put yourself first

Finding a job is all about setting goals and working hard to achieve them. Make a list of companies you’d like to work for and career paths that excite you. Consider your strengths as well as your limitations. Visualize your ideal workplace scenario. Set a long-term goal for where you’d like to be in 10 years. Talk to a Vocational Rehabilitation counselor about your passions. Remember, this job search is about finding the right fit for you and your goals. If you’re not excited about an opportunity, don’t settle. Keep looking.  You’re interviewing them just as much as they’re interviewing you.

2)    Cast a wide net

Workplace culture is important to everyone, but especially to individuals with disabilities. If you’re interested in working for a larger corporation, check out this list of Top Disabled-Friendly Workplaces in 2017. Want more options? Try disability-friendly job search engines like  Getting Hired, Hire Disability Solutions and ABILITY Jobs. Depending on your skillset, you might also consider connecting with temporary employment agencies or even starting your own business.  The important thing is not to limit yourself. It’s okay to think big. This is your career we’re talking about!

3)    Lead with your strengths  

Research the company you’d like to work for, and then submit an application that focuses on your strengths and abilities. Include any references you have from previous employment – and a resume with a cover letter if applicable. Wondering how to address a disability on your resume? Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you’re not required to do so. Some experts recommend that, in the interest of getting your foot in the door, it’s best to wait until your interview. Whatever you choose, make sure your application focuses on your unique ability to make a difference for your potential employer.

4)    Be confident   

You’ve done your homework, found a great opportunity, submitted a spectacular application and landed the interview. What now? Remember that confidence is key. If you don’t believe in yourself then the interviewer won’t either. Prior to the interview, do as much research as you can about the company. Learn as much as you can about their products, customers, competitors and more. If you have any questions about accessibility or special accommodations for your interview, now is the time to ask. Once you arrive, be prepared to answer questions about your disability as well as your qualifications for the position. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. What might he or she be concerned about? Write down answers to any possible questions that might arise and practice your responses with a friend or family member. 

Good luck on your job search! For more interview tips, check out this article from Career Trend

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