I hope this most wonderful time of year brings you the feel of cold air against your flushed cheeks; the scent of pine wafting from your living room; and the taste of warm gingerbread cookies, still half-melted from the oven.
I hope this season also provides you the time to reflect on 2015, and you look back with gratitude. I hope you are inspired to look forward to 2016, and you feel moved to press in to your career dreams and goals.
If a successful job search is your 2016 goal, utilize the following advice to step up your job search, no matter your age:
- Take advantage of services offered from your local Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. You can receive assistance on structuring your resume, rehearsing for a job interview, learning blindness-specific assistive technology necessary for job success, and locating a job. To make the most of your time with a vocational rehabilitation counselor, come prepared with specific questions, concerns, and career goals.
- Ask those who know you well and those you’ve worked with (Teens, ask your Teacher for Students with Visual Impairments, Transition Specialist, sports coach, and/or mentor) for constructive criticism on your social skills and ability to work well with a team; heed the advice by setting related goals. Keep in mind a hiring team is looking for more than a task-completer; they are looking for an employee who is a good fit for the team. Too often job seekers focus on perfecting technical job skills when preparing for employment, and forget to focus on refining their soft skills including general “people skills”.
- Build your work-related confidence through volunteer work and paid work (even if it’s not your ideal job). You’ll learn “hard” and “soft” job skills; you’ll be able to add content to your resume; you’ll be given the opportunity to identify your strengths and capabilities; and you’ll build relationships with many people who can help each other land future jobs.
- Become a member or leader in a community organization that is important to you. Not only will you interact with many potential employers and coworkers, but you can also benefit from becoming more proactive; engaging in group problem solving; feeling satisfied by contributing to a worthy cause; building your leadership skills; and by demonstrating your passion and hunger for change to potential employers.
- Contact a headhunter or job recruiter. If you’re searching for a senior-level position or a career requiring an advanced degree, contact a headhunter to let them know the type of job for which you are searching. This phone call should be well planned and you should be prepared to answer relevant questions and be engaging. A headhunter will only provide your resume to a company if he thinks you are a good fit for the team (refer to #2).
For additional job-search resources, read AFB CareerConnect’s Getting Empowered with My Top 12 Job Search Tips as an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired, Tips for Exploring Careers as a Job Seeker Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired, and Conducting a Job Search.
Happy Holidays and Happy Job Hunting!