Five Job Seeking Tips for Disabled Workers

media-fieldsNeed some inspiration? Look no further. According to Next Avenue, Kate Williams, runs an employment program in San Francisco.

The 72-year-old blind woman told the site, “I have an opportunity to let people know that life is not being defined by your disability, but your ability.”

Here are several of her recommendations for disabled job seekers, in particular for the blind and visually impaired.

1. Start with a positive mindset. In the piece she said, “You have to get out of the ‘I can’t do it. I’m not capable’ mentality.”

2. Target a company where you really want to work. Next, network to find someone you know who works there.

3. Find a mentor. Her advice? “It’s best if you can connect with someone who is blind and doing a job that interests you. Ask them how they got their job and how they make it work with their disability.”

4. Disclose your disability to a potential employer. After landing an interview, Williams emphasized letting the interviewer know about the disability prior to the interview (so after it’s been set but before it happens.)

“If I walk in with cane or guide dog, all the person will be thinking is blind, blind, blind…I want the hiring manager to look at my skills and my talents. If they’re prepared ahead of time, they can focus on that when they meet you.”

5. Make eye contact. Pointing out this isn’t so easy when you’re blind, Williams trains job seekers to connect with interviewers to “look at the voice.” This tells them where the person is. Then, you know that about three inches above the voice, there are going to be a pair of eyes.”