Thriving at Work: Employment Tips for People with Disabilities
In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Easterseals is sharing articles, tips, blog posts, and more on employment for people with disabilities. Check out Thrive's list of job search and interview tips below; you can also share your own by tagging #ThriveJobTips on social media, or leaving a comment below.
Getting started is one of the hardest parts when searching for a job, but having the best resources can make the journey easier.
- Make sure you have a strong resume, even if you don’t have much (or any!) work experience. Include some tasks you know you are good at (like a fast typer, well organized, etc), as well as any organizations you belong to.
- To beef up your resume even more, look into internships, or start a project such as a blog. There are also tutorials online for different programs like Excel, Photoshop, and Word; take some time to learn them, and include that skill in your resume.
- The Office of Disability Employment has put together a list of fantastic resources for individuals with disabilities looking for work. Check out their What Can You Do? Campaign for more information!
- If it’s easier for you to work from home, ask if a potential employer will accept telecommuting, even if it’s not included in the job ad. This is especially true for work that is mostly computer based.
- Perseverance is important. You may not get offers from every job you apply to, and it can be easy to give up hope when no one is calling you back. But keep trying, and keep putting your experience and skills out there – it will eventually pay off.
First interviews can be scary, and being prepared is key for a positive experience.
- Be confident! Easier said than done, but when you are positive about your skills and work ethic, it makes a lasting impression on your potential employers.
- Research the job and the company before you get to the interview. See if they have a mission statement, and figure out how your skill set can fit into that mission.
- Easterseals on resume and interview tips for people 55 and over - though this is good advice for everyone!: “Organizations are constantly changing and evolving, so it's wise to show an openness to grow and learn with that change. During the interview, go out of your way to show that you are open to new ideas and practices. Acquiring a new job is a great way to push your personal limits.”
- If you have a phone interview (and are nervous on the phone), make a list of what you want to say and keep it nearby. If you have an in-person interview, practice beforehand by talking to yourself (or someone you know) about why you’d be a good fit for the employer.
- Get as much rest as possible before the interview. Again, easier said than done - but coming in refreshed always helps.
- “[People with disabilities] can talk about the abilities that they have as opposed to the disabilities” – Carol Salters, an Easterseals AVP who specializes in disability employment.
- Don’t know what to wear? According to Teen Vogue, "business professional doesn't have to be boring." Check out their quick style guide for some ideas.
Need More Resources?
Easterseals has a wealth of information and services for people with disabilities looking for work.
- Check out a recap of a Facebook chat we held on Navigating the Workforce with Disabilities.
- There's a Storify of Easterseals' latest Twitter Q&A on Employment.
- Browse the various employment services Easterseals provides for people with disabilities.
Have your own tips? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, or Tweet us @ability2thrive with the hashtag #ThriveJobTips!
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