Identifying the best research resources to support your job search.
Research is the diligent and systematic inquiry into a particular subject in order to discover something. The ability to conduct good research is a learned skill that takes practice and time to master. Once you understand the basics, you’ll find that research can be extremely valuable, not only in the job hunt, but also in many other aspects of your life, from making smart purchase decisions to finding a place to live.
Effective research is more about quality than quantity. If you gather a hundred resources, how likely is it that you will have the time to learn about each of them in order to fully use them for your purposes? A better way to frame your efforts is to ask the question: What tools, media, or resources can most effectively be used to support your job research? Below you’ll find a selection of commonly available resources, along with a discussion of what each has to offer. These resources are good starting points for the first phase your research.
In the Introduction, you learned about AFB CareerConnect, a free online resource for people who want to learn about the range and diversity of jobs performed by adults who are blind or visually impaired throughout the United States and Canada. CareerConnect is a great resource for job search information and tips.
Libraries are an important resource for any job seeker. At your local library you can find books in audio or other formats, access major online research databases, and find additional information and guidance. Most libraries are moving—or have moved—some or all of their materials onto the Internet. If you don’t have a membership at your local library, schedule an appointment to join and get a tour. If most of your library’s resources and research tools are online, you might even be able to do the majority of your orientation over the phone.
If you are a student at a high school, vocational school, community college, college, or university, your institution’s library may provide access to even more online resources.
Even if you’re not a student, many community and public colleges offer local residents access to their resources. Even schools that don’t offer access may be persuaded to do so with some negotiating, persistence, and a positive attitude.
Library staff are trained to help you find the information and resources that will support your research. Some universities and public libraries have staff trained to work specifically with persons with disabilities. Find out what is available at your local library or libraries and take advantage of whatever resources you locate.
Career Centers help people perform research to support professional goals. Colleges, universities, post-secondary, and vocational schools often have career centers, and many are available to the public. You may have to visit, call, or do some online research to find out what is available to you locally. Keep in mind that many of the career centers around the country maintain robust web sites accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. These sites may offer many free resources and materials. Career Centers are often underutilized and most are eager to have visitors. Some receive grant money to offer services to the community or state, and some actively recruit people with disabilities to use their centers.
Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies
Vocational rehabilitation helps people with disabilities prepare for entry or re-entry into the workforce. Your local vocational rehabilitation agency will offer a range of programs, resources, and services to help you get to work. The range of programs offered by these agencies varies from state to state, so research your local vocational rehabilitation agency, determine what programs and services you are eligible for, and get registered.
In most cases, these organizations exist to help you become job-ready and find employment. Some may also train you in independent daily living, orientation and mobility, and access technology. These organizations will also know about other available resources in your community and state. To find a local or state agency near you, use AFB’s Directory of Services.
The O-Net Online web site provides the latest statistics about a wide variety of occupational fields. The site is a part of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. For the sake of simplicity and accessibility, AFB imports O-Net information directly to AFB CareerConnect.
- AFB Useful Resources for Job Seekers
- Recommended Reading for job seekers from AFB CareerConnect