AFB CareerConnect® has been using the Department of Labor’s Office on Disability Employment Policy’s theme of “Expect, Employ, Empower” to help celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month. As we near the end of the month, I wanted to leave you with my top 12 tips to empower your job search as an individual who is blind or visually impaired.
Let’s get empowered! Here are my top 12 job search tips straight from Huntington, West Virginia.
12. Get your resume up to par. This might involve having professionals in your field review it, and also looking at the format. The formats need to be adjusted overtime. You can read more from a past post on this topic.
11. Use searchable terms that relate to the jobs you are applying for within your resume or cover letter. Many large companies or recruiters use keyword searches to find candidates.
10. Take the time to customize your resume and cover letter for the positions you apply for; the same activities or work experience might not be applicable to every position of interest.
9. Keep in touch with references and don’t be afraid to set up a time to coach them on aspects that you think might be relevant for potential employers. For those with disabilities, this could be a great opportunity for an employment reference to address how your disability did not negatively impact your work and address any misconceptions they might have.
8. Your job search is more than a full-time job, and you will get out of it what you put into it. It takes time and effort to land a first or new job. Many people think investing a small amount of time and then waiting on a position is the best bet. Most people apply to many more jobs than they receive offers from—keep researching and applying! Read more about how your job search takes time and effort.
7. Do your research on employers. You can read more about this from a recent CareerConnect Blog post. You want to be up to date on the organization that you are applying with. Know the organization’s current issues and learn about their competition.
6. Have your sales pitch ready, as this is so important for job seekers who are blind or visually impaired, and I would say more important for us than our competition. Being prepared to sell yourself in life can open up opportunities for your next job. Read more from a past blog post.
5. Keep records of when you applied, who you applied with, and contact information. As of this will make following up with the employer so much easier. Along with this information, you should keep records and notes about anyone you connect with from the organization.
4. Mine your personal network: If you are currently not working, don’t be afraid to put it out there to your friends and connections that you are looking for this type of work. Ask for assistance because we are often connected to people who either work in the same field or know people who do.
3. Have a LinkedIn profile and use it: More and more, businesses are using these profiles for research, background, and the recruitment of new employees. The more complete your profile, the better. Remember, this is not a resume, but it does provide an introduction to who you are and the skills and experience that you offer.
2. Research your connections to businesses of interest and contact them to get the inside scoop and possibly a foot in the door. Many businesses value when employees recommend or bring them trusted applicants.
1. Join professional organizations that will surround you with people who are influencers in your field. You want to be around and interact with people who do the work that you want to do. Often, talent will recognize talent and you might be recommended as a potential candidate. Open positions are often filled or employers have quality applicants in mind prior to the job’s advertisement.
I wanted to provide you with my top 12 job search tips, but I could have given you a lot more. Take the time to comment and provide me with your top job search tips. Get empowered and take your job search to the next level.