If you’re a job seeker living with a disability, searching and applying to positions can be a daunting task. For people with disabilities, challenges to employment — including limited support, inaccessibility and the stigma still attached to disability — compound the already stressful task of finding a new job.
As employment experts, we write about employment and finding a new job on a regular basis. So, let’s look at how you can improve your chances of landing your dream job in our guide to finding employment for people with disabilities. Let’s get started!
Evaluate your skills
When looking for a job, keep in mind the range of skills you have and the value you can bring to a position. Think about your education and any work experience you have. What soft skills did you develop in those jobs? What responsibilities did you have? How can these be applied to future jobs?
Try framing everything during your search for work in a positive light. For example, when you get to the job interview, don’t focus on what you can’t do. Instead, think about the things you can do. If you need assistance in certain areas of work, tell your hiring manager that you can carry out certain tasks effectively as long as you have access to special equipment or support. This keeps the attention on the tasks that you are able to do, rather than framing your disability as a hindrance that will negatively affect your work.
How to enter the workforce
Now that you know what mindset to take when looking for work, it’s time to think about the process of finding available jobs and landing a job. Here are our top insider tips to ace the job-seeking process if you’re a person with a disability.
Process of finding work
Start by following the standard process of looking for work. A great place to begin is LinkedIn and online job boards where you’ll be able to browse job postings and filter them by location, salary and skill set. On most job search websites, you can even look specifically for remote work, something that’s increasingly popular among people with disabilities.
Just looking for jobs isn’t enough in 2021. The most powerful way to find a top job is to develop a strong personal brand. This helps you get noticed on social media sites like LinkedIn, and massively improves your chances of being contacted by recruiters and managers who are looking for people with your skills and experience.
Next, prepare your standout resume. Include relevant information and tailor your resume and cover letter to each individual job that you apply for. This can be done by scanning the job posting for keywords, and then adding those keywords into your resume to show the hiring manager that you’re a good fit for the job. For example, if a job asks for someone with advanced Microsoft Excel skills, include that in your resume if it applies to you!
Here are the main elements that you should aim to include in your resume:
- Name and contact information
- A brief summary or professional objective
- Work history or volunteer and internship experience
- Formal education, certifications, professional memberships and training
- Soft skills and technical skills
- Professional achievements and awards
- Additional information (special skills, professional interests, etc.)
Once your resume is ready, start applying! After you set up your first job interview, prepare yourself for the interview by researching the company, practicing common interview questions, and thinking of a few questions you’d like your interviewer to answer so that you have a better idea of the role. These days, virtual job interviews are very common, so make sure your internet connection and computer are all running smoothly before you get on Skype or Teams. If you need any accommodations for your interview, let your recruiter know beforehand so that they can provide the appropriate supports.
Get help from staffing agencies
Finding a new job can be hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Enlisting the help of a staffing agency can make finding your ideal job a lot easier, especially if you’re struggling to get replies and land interviews.
Adecco has years of experience helping people with disabilities find positions that suit their abilities. Not only do we look for great jobs for you, but we can also help you fine-tune your resume, prepare you for your interview, and secure a salary that’s aligned with your needs and expectations. If you’d like us to work closely with you to give your job search a boost, contact us today!
Use job seeker resources
There are plenty of resources out there to help individuals with disabilities find work, so take full advantage of them to optimize your job search. Check out the Adecco Canada blog for a library of constantly updated tips and tricks that will transform you into a skilled job seeker in no time. The Canadian Government also offers support to job seekers with disabilities through different institutions and platforms like the Job Bank website where you can search for disability-friendly opportunities.
Should you disclose your disability?
Fear of discrimination means that many people don’t disclose their disability when looking for work. There’s really no “correct” approach regarding disclosure of a mental or physical disability, so as long as you can perform the job safely, it ultimately comes down to whether you feel comfortable disclosing your disability. If you think that telling your hiring manager or recruiter about your disability will help them set you up for success with support and tools, then it might be a good idea to let them know. If you don’t think that your disability will have any effect on your job and will not need any accommodation from your employer, then perhaps you’d feel more comfortable not disclosing that information to them. Think about it and do what feels right for you personally.
Volunteering and internships
If you’ve recently started your professional career and have limited work experience, you might be wondering exactly how you’re supposed to get a job right off the bat. This is a concern for young job seekers all over the world, so you’re not alone!
One of the best ways to get some experience under your belt is with an internship. Virtual internships, especially, are a great opportunity for people with disabilities to work alongside seasoned professionals from home, and it gives you some insight into what working from home will be like in a post-pandemic world. If you perform well at your internship and you get along with your colleagues and supervisors, you might even be offered a full-time or part-time job afterwards. To learn how to make the most out of your internship, check out our 2021 virtual internship guide here.
Volunteering is also an amazing way to get real-world experience in charities, non-profit organizations, or even branches of government. Virtual volunteering is on the rise, with opportunities to work all over Canada as a mentor, a marketing assistant, a data assistant, and much more. For a full list of virtual and in-person volunteer vacancies, check out the Volunteer Canada website.
Volunteering and interning not only give you valuable work experience, but also show future employers that you take initiative and actively seek opportunities. Employers will love seeing how you took control of your career from the very beginning!
Think about your needs as a job seeker
Finally, think about your needs as a job seeker with a disability. When you’re searching and applying for jobs, you should aim to prioritize the support you need and the opportunities you think will open doors for you in the future.
This means communicating clearly with recruiters about the help you might require in a certain position, as well as being clear about the new perspectives and experiences you bring to the company as an employee with a disability. This will help them set you up for success, which in turn will improve your chances of becoming the best professional you can be.
Thinking about your needs also includes your financial needs, which may be different than those of other job seekers. If you receive an offer that simply doesn’t make sense financially, then consider talking to your recruiter or hiring manager about this to see if you can negotiate a better salary that will not have a negative impact on your life.
Be confident in your ability and value as a candidate
Even if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the job-seeking process, don’t give up! The value that individuals with disabilities bring to companies all over Canada is impossible to measure, and you should feel confident in your ability to do an amazing job once you land the position that you’ve been looking for!
If you’re having a hard time finding jobs and getting invited to job interviews, remember that Adecco Canada is here to help you. Whatever industry you want to work in, we’ve got the experience and contacts needed to get you a job. Kickstart your job search with us today!