Useful Job Hunting Tips and Resources for People with Disabilities
Guest post by Eva Benoit. Eva is a life coach helping people with anxiety and other ailments. She was in no way compensated for the publishing of this post. Harvester Solutions has not tried or used any services provided by Eva’s company.
While disability benefits can help people living with disabilities make ends meet, most don’t want to rely on them as their sole source of income. On top of that, people with disabilities desire and deserve to have fun, productive, fulfilling careers as much as anyone else. Job hunting with a disability can be tricky and frustrating, however. Here are some useful tips to get you started.
Consider How You Can Work from Home
As someone with a disability, you shouldn’t believe that you cannot hold a typical job in a typical work environment. There are plenty of professions and companies that value accessibility, and unless your disability prevents you from fulfilling one or more major roles of the job, you are just as fine a candidate as someone without disabilities. However, logistically, working from home can be easier, more flexible, and just as lucrative.
Disabled World notes that jobs like medical transcription, affiliate marketing, call center work, and freelance writing are all solid options. Many traditional employment settings may allow you to work from home by telecommuting (online video conferencing). And, of course, the internet offers a wide variety of ways to build a from-home career, including tutoring, consulting, teaching online, selling goods, and more. Some of these gigs may not be permanent, but they can help you earn cash and build your resume while you search for something better.
Be Upfront About What You Need
You must go into any hiring situation with the confidence to know your disability does not define you, and it only limits you as much as you allow it to. With that in mind, you must be able to articulate what kind of accommodations you need from an employer. As long as it is a “reasonable” accommodation — a modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that will enable an employee with a disability to perform essential job functions — the Americans with Disabilities Act protects you from discrimination.
Prioritize Your Cover Letter
Oftentimes, a cover letter can be just as important as a resume and even tougher to get right. You should use your cover letter to express who you are, what your best qualities and skills are, and why you are the perfect fit for said job. Note, however, that you can or cannot disclose your disability. You are not required to. If you’re having trouble, try an online cover letter builder. These tools allow you to choose professional templates and get step-by-step help on writing the perfect letter.
Ace the All-Important Interview
The key to acing any interview is to be prepared. You should be able to talk about yourself, your accomplishments, and your skills in a confident manner. You should be able to ask questions of the interviewer and negotiate things like salary, hours, and more. The interview is your chance to show someone — really show them — why you’re right for the job.
As someone with a disability, there are a few extra interview-related items to consider. Understand that you can discuss your particular disability as much or as little as you feel comfortable, but if you’re going to need accommodations, it’s best to be open and honest. You shouldn’t put your disability on display, nor should you hide from it.
Access Helpful Resources
You don’t have to do this all by yourself. There are platforms and agencies that can help.
- Job sites for people with disabilities like AbilityJobs.com and Disability Job Exchange.
- The US Government’s Department of Labor Disability Hub and the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work site
- This tool that locates American Job Centers near you (there are more than 3,000).
The best tool in your job-hunting bag is confidence. While the law may protect you from overt discrimination, it’s your confidence and ability to adapt that will make you a strong candidate that companies simply cannot say no to. Be realistic about your disability, but don’t let it define you. Once you figure out that balance, you’ll be an applicant that’s easy to say yes to.
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