How to Find a Job When You Have a Disability
If you have a disability, you may feel (or fret) that you won't be able to get a job---a good-paying and well-deserved job. First of all, put that fear far from your mind. There are lots of companies that are happy to hire people with disabilities, and the ones who aren't? Well, there are discrimination laws that protect you from those kinds of business as well.
So, before even starting your employment search, one of the main things to keep in mind is that having a disability is something that you live with, but it's not all of who you are. Confidence resonates no matter what a person's situation may be, so when you're attempting to go out into the workplace, make sure to believe in yourself. It's highly convincing and contagious.
That said, when it comes to finding a job when you have a disability, here are five tips to make your search much easier:
Be realistic about what your disabilities are. We all have had moments when we wanted to apply for a job that we just didn't have the credentials for. It may have been that we didn't meet the education requirements, or we didn't have the kind of experience that they were looking for. So, if there's a job that interests you, but you know that realistically, it's not something that you can do, don't feel down and out about it. One will come along that will prove to be your perfect fit.
Look for a specific icon. Did you know that there is an actual icon in the United States that makes it known that certain companies embrace hiring people with disabilities? It's called the "Positive About Disabled People" icon and not only does it mean that they're open to interviewing and hiring people with disabilities, but they also have and/or will make accommodations at their offices to make it easier for those employees to come to work.
Consider telecommuting. There are so many businesses that are actually going viral and this can be great news to someone with a disability. Working a telecommute position is not about being ashamed of who you are, but it's actually about finding a job that may be more convenient for you. Basically all job search websites from Monster and Career Builder to Freelancer.com and MediaBistro.com have job opportunities that are specifically for people who are interested in working at home and by using your home office, there's also another bonus: You can get a deduction from Uncle Sam.
What are government agencies in your area? State employment offices and local vocational rehabilitation centers both tend to have leads on jobs that people with disabilities can do that may not be posted on more commercialized search engines, so don't hesitate to contact them.
Put it out there. A lot of times, we're online to chat with our friends or to do research on things that we might need (for instance, if you're in search of a new wheelchair, cane or walker, you might spend some time on the 1800WheelChair website). But don't hesitate to use your online resources to also look for employment. Let your Facebook friends know that you would like a job and ask them if they are willing to pass along your resume. As it relates to companies that specialize in dealing with disabilities, use their "contact us" form to see if they are aware of any positions that are available. It also can't hurt to email local churches, schools and non-profits, either. The job hunt isn't easy for anyone, but don't let your challenges deter you. Someone out there is looking for your skills and your disability will not distract them.