By Adam Kaplan
Despite an unemployment rate nearly double that of their non-disabled peers, people with disabilities can look forward to a bright jobs future—provided that they approach their career activities the right way.
Both experienced job seekers as well as those new to the world of employment can follow these five tips, culled from our conversations with hundreds of disabled individuals and other job seekers searching for work over the past few years.
1 Dare to Dream
When we speak to candidates who tell us they want a job, the first thing we ask is, “doing what?” Know what you want and why you want it before hitting the job market: this is essential to your eventual success. Most individuals have enough self-awareness to know what work activities they enjoy performing, and these usually correlate with what they are actually good at. When skill and interest are combined they are usually also accompanied with passion, which a recruiting or hiring manager can plainly see.
2 Identify In-Demand Skills
While perfecting your skills is essential, knowing how they fit in the market for talent is also important. Demand for certain skills is always evolving—yet some are consistently in higher demand than others. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that such diverse jobs as computer programmer, actuary, and market research analyst fit the bill. Matching your interest to those of talent managers can be the key to getting a good job.
3 Let Everyone Know!
The best way to find a job is through networking. Tell your friends, families and people you meet about the job you are seeking. Go to networking events. Promote your interests on social media.
4 Getting a Job Is a Job; Treat it as Such
Getting a good job is usually a marathon, not a sprint, especially for recent graduates and those who have been out of the job market for a while or are making a career change. Set aside certain hours for networking and research. Filling out applications is OK, too—just remember that answering help-wanted ads is usually the least effective way to find work. Use job boards to identify open positions, then network to identify the hiring manager.
5 Practice Makes Perfect
If you follow the first four tips correctly, you will have good leads to jobs that will lead to interviews. To have the best chance of translating those interviews into job offers, you need to practice, practice, practice. In fact, never go to a job interview without practicing beforehand. Ask the recruiter what to expect on interview day. Have someone you trust play the interviewer. Give him or her some questions to ask or have them ask their own. See where you can improve your answers. Use the practice interview to ace the real one, and get the job you want!
About the Author
Adam Kaplan founded Kaplan Executive Search, a retained executive search company. He partners with CEOs of middle market and emerging growth companies to recruit top talent, including COOs (Integrators), CFOs and VPs of Sales.
Adam also has a personal passion for workforce diversity, especially in creating opportunities for talented professionals with hidden and visible disabilities. He was appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to serve on the Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services.