Employment for people with disabilities has historically run 6-10 percentage points lower than for non-disabled persons, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We’ll get into the BLS’s most recent comparisons illustrating this statistic in a bit, but it’s worth mentioning here because it prepares you for what you’re up against in the job sector.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can start taking today to greatly improve your chances of finding the right job. To be precise, the following article will focus on nine tips. Let’s have a look.
1. Learn the Resources at Your Disposal
Finding employment for disabled persons begins with knowing what resources are available. You can find many on social media. We’ll discuss that more at length in a moment.
But to start, you should gravitate towards the professional organizations that have your best interests at heart. Much of what you hear on social media can be anecdotal and misleading, so go to the experts.
2. Seek Guidance
Of course, none of these organizations will be able to do their jobs if you don’t actually seek them out for support. Unfortunately, many don’t.
Veterans can be especially standoffish because the military emphasizes self-reliance. For some, admitting the need for help is like admitting failure. In those scenarios, it’s imperative to enlist other veterans who can serve as support units.
But this isn’t a problem exclusive to veterans. If you have someone in your family who is too proud or reluctant to seek the help they need, reach out to any of the aforementioned organizations for guidance.
3. Search Specialty Job Boards
Finding jobs for people with disabilities is easier if you know where to look. Traditional career sites are often a starting point. But maybe they shouldn’t be.
Checking out available job boards from professional organizations that provide services for the disabled are better bets. Locations such as this website have already handled the vetting process in many regards, and they can save you a lot of time.
4. Leverage Your Existing Connections
Specialty websites and social media can help you interact with others in your position. It also can connect you to individuals whose mission is to find jobs for disabled people. The more connections you have, the more opportunities will come your way.
5. Follow the Job Trends
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a good place to stay abreast of current career trends in jobs for individuals with disabilities. The government agency notes a downward employment trend since the 1990s, and they’ve done much to spotlight the problem to help improve some of the numbers.
In 2016, for example, it released findings that disabled workers were “more likely to work in production, transportation, and material moving occupations” (approximately 15 percent versus 12 percent). Almost one-third, or 32 percent, worked in management and professional types of occupations. For non-disabled, the number was higher at 40 percent.
6. Target the Right Type of Employment
What can you learn from this? On one hand, companies that hire disabled adults focus on blue-collar types of jobs. These make for good “ins,” if you will.
But as the data also shows, management and other white-collar types of jobs aren’t off the table. Connect with individuals employed in these capacities if you’re interested in following their footsteps.
You can learn from your connections how they got where they are. Did they work their way up from a blue-collar job? If not, what educational background do they possess?
You also may consider a position in which your disability could be an asset. For example, if you were a high-functioning autistic person with a propensity for teaching, then teaching autistic children might be the perfect career.
7. Assess Your Strengths
No successful career starts on a wing and a prayer. As the old saying goes, any overnight success is years in the making.
To move beyond your disability, you have to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Where could you provide value to a company or client?
Once you’ve tapped into that, it’s easier to look for the right courses, jobs, and people. And that’s how you turn dreams into reality.
8. Join Social Media Groups
The groups of colleagues and recruiters that are out there are too many to list. You can find several just doing a search on a site like Facebook or LinkedIn. or both available support groups on social media will cut through much of the clutter. It also will give you a clear indication of what employers want and expect from you in the application and hiring process.
9. Be Prepared to Address Disability Accommodations in the Interview
We often focus on the finding employment part. But that’s only half the equation. When you secure an interview, you have to expect competition as well as a certain amount of bias, intentional and unintentional, that can affect your chances of receiving an offer.
If a company is looking to give preference to a disabled person for a position, you’ll be up against other individuals with disabilities. In this scenario, it won’t matter if the company is seeking a disabled candidate. You have no real competitive advantage.
Therefore, you need to be able to show in your application package and the interview how you can be a great asset and how the disability would not hinder your abilities to meet the demands of the position.
And while interviewers cannot target your disability with a series of interview questions, they can ask about any accommodations you might need to meet the demands of the position. Be prepared to answer that.
It’s not your job to make people have the right attitude about your disability. But you will come much closer to getting a job if you can address the issue in a way that doesn’t detract from your ability.
Finding Employment for People with Disabilities Brings Unique Challenges
Disabled workers definitely face more challenges than their non-disabled counterparts, but with the right amount of planning, resource management, and effort, it’s possible to find a fulfilling career.
And whether you’re looking for employment for people with disabilities or additional job-training skills, make sure you browse ULearning’s available courses for helpful tips and information on a variety of fulfilling careers.