Rudolph’s Lessons in Rejection: How to Persevere As an Individual with a Visual Impairment

Snowflakes of different sizes on a red background

Dear discouraged job seeker,

I see you. You want and need a job, but it feels like no employer is looking your way. You’re starting to think you either aren’t cut out for the working world, other applicants are far more qualified, hiring personnel aren’t interested in you because of your visual impairment, or there are simply no good, available jobs in your field.

Whichever describes your situation or fear, it is not a barrier you can’t overcome. Here’s what I mean:

  • If you presume the problem lies with you not being cut out for the working world, it’s time to foster self-confidence. Watch how that newfound confidence (that develops alongside successful experiences) increases your employability.

  • If you fear others are far more qualified, consider your work, volunteer, and school-related accomplishments that will showcase how you will benefit the company at which you hope to be employed. Update your resume to include these accomplishments. Next, update your cover letter to reflect your personality and soft skills. I suggest this because there may be applicants more qualified than you, but if you are qualified and have a wonderful disposition, you may be the most desirable.

  • If you believe you are consistently overlooked because of your visual impairment, I suggest the following:

    • Make an effort to obtain a job where someone in your social network works and can vouch for you.
    • Consider disclosing your visual impairment at the job interview instead of beforehand; you will at least be given a chance to establish rapport face-to-face.
    • Remember to show and tell your strengths, skill sets, and accommodations in your interview.
    • Depending on the type of job for which you are looking, you may wish to volunteer at the agency. Getting your “foot in the door” is a wonderful way to demonstrate your skills and employability to the employer. Another advantage: many jobs are filled internally. [Meaning, if there is one who is successfully working or volunteering within the company, the employer is more likely to hire or promote him/ her then look elsewhere for a new team member. Keep in mind, the employer will likely still advertise the open position, knowing all along he will hire within.]
    • Make sure there isn’t truth to the employer’s fears by ensuring you have good skills in independent living, mobility, assistive technology, self-determination, and communication. If you don’t, find a local service provider to teach you blindness-specific skills today!
    • If there are no available jobs in your field, it may be time to consider relocating to a city with more opportunities and/ or expanding your job search to include related careers.

So, you have my thoughts, but what would Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer likely add?

  • Don’t give up the job search—Your unique characteristics will be an immense asset to your work.
  • Don’t give up the job search—Finding a suitable job often comes after many setbacks and much discouragement.
  • Don’t give up the job search—Keep doing your thing, working hard and shining bright; You just may get noticed by the employer himself.

Resources for Your Job Search

Finding Job Leads

Ten Steps to Start Your Job Search

The 411 on Finding Job Leads As a Visually Impaired Job Seeker

Conducting a Successful Job Search