Editor’s Note: The upcoming 154th APH Annual Meeting will celebrate successful new products, services, processes, and initiatives. It will also be an opportunity to enjoy related meetings, network with new colleagues, and connect with old friends. This year’s Annual Meeting is hosted October 5-7th, 2022, and you’re invited! Its theme is emPOWERed, and we celebrate by updating Joe Strechay’s job search tips to empower individuals who are blind or low vision.
Job Search Tips to Empower Individuals Who Are Blind or Low Vision
Let’s get empowered! Put in the effort and you can obtain a first job, a subsequent job, or a dream job! Here are my top 12 tips to empower your job search as an individual who is blind or low vision:
12. Get your resume up to par which might involve having professionals in your field review it and provide feedback on the content and format. The formats need to be adjusted over time. You can learn more here: Tools for Finding Employment: Building a Resume.
11. Use searchable terms in your resume and cover letter that relate to the jobs for which you are applying. 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. You can learn more here: Creating Customized Resumes That Stand Out for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired.
9. Keep in touch with references, and don’t be afraid to set up a time to coach them on aspects you think might be relevant for potential employers. For those of us who are blind or low vision, 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 in. 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. But in fact, most people apply to many more jobs than they receive offers from—keep researching and applying!
7. Do your research on employers. 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 low vision, and I would say more important for us than our competition. Being prepared to showcase yourself in life can open up opportunities for your next job. It’s time to craft your sales pitch!
5. Keep records of when you applied, who you applied with, and their contact information. Along with this information, you should document and make notes about anyone you connect with from the organization. Keeping records will make following up with the employer so much easier.
4. “Mine” your personal network: If you are currently unemployed, don’t be afraid to let your friends and connections know you are looking for a specific type of work. Ask for assistance; you can network your way to becoming a brave and brilliant professional.
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.
Get empowered, and take your job search to the next level.
- Are You Interested in a Career as a Sourcing Specialist? – CareerConnect (aphcareerconnect.org)
- Beyond Vision: Creating Employment Opportunities and Building Confidence – CareerConnect (aphcareerconnect.org)
- APH CareerConnect and NSITE Connect Join Forces to Empower Job Seekers – CareerConnect
- APH ConnectCenter’s Transition Hub: Resources to Empower and Equip You for Adulthood – CareerConnect (aphcareerconnect.org)