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Guest Blog by Patrick Young
According to government sources, the jobless rate for people with disabilities continues to exceed that of those without, reflecting the challenge of breaking into the job market or advancing a career for employees with disabilities. However, utilizing technology to adapt to your work environment, find the right opportunity, and sharpen and share your skills can help you get ahead.
Sharpen Your Skills
One of the best ways to improve your employment chances is to sharpen your skills. You can take online courses in subjects that range from improving your writing skills to computer programming. Another alternative is to earn a business degree in business administration, business management, leadership or marketing that can prepare you for a variety of careers or help you start your own business.
In addition to beefing up your technical skills, CashMoneyLife suggests polishing your soft skills, such as improving your writing skills, communicating clearly, learning to actively listen, learning business etiquette and being a team player. If you have a disability that makes interaction with others challenging, work with your employer to find ways to remove discussion barriers. Consider utilizing communication aids and alternative strategies, such as nonverbal exchanges.
Share Your Skills
Having the skills to do the job isn’t enough. You have to make sure that other people know about the skills you have. Traditional networking is still a valuable tool, but you can also utilize the internet as a social platform for jobs. Whether you use a service that’s specifically designed for career networking, or build your social network on sites such as Twitter and Facebook, you can make valuable connections that can land you job leads or get you an interview.
The laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission make it illegal to discriminate against employees with disabilities. However, you will likely still face challenges when it comes to getting employers to see you instead of your disability. Throughout the job-seeking process, be open and professional, find ways to turn your challenges into strengths, seek out jobs and companies that are a good match for you and brush up on your interviewing skills. Your focus should be on demonstrating to potential employers why you are the best candidate for the job without making any attempt to hide or apologize for your need for accommodation.
Make Your Workspace Work for You
Whether you are a student looking to sharpen your job skills or you are already in the workforce, assistive technology can help you transform your workspace to meet your needs. People with visual impairments can benefit from technology such as Google Chromebook’s built-in screen reader.
If you have a hearing impairment, consider using wireless devices that can communicate directly with hearing aids, making it easier to interpret sounds in noisy classrooms or office spaces. People with cognitive or developmental disabilities may benefit from VR experiences, such as Microsoft’s Immersive Reader. Mobility challenges can be overcome by utilizing flexible furniture, such as adjustable height desks and wobble stools.
Do Your Own Thing
Working for someone else isn’t the only option for remote work. Many businesses can be conducted out of the comfort of your own home. Any successful home-based business starts with a good idea. Try brainstorming some ideas based on your skills and area of interest, or look online for ideas. Many businesses, such as social media managing, freelance writing or data entry can be run without ever leaving your house.
Technology has made the tools job seekers need to sharpen and share their skills, build a career network and overcome workplace challenges more accessible than ever. Whatever your challenges are, these tools can help you conquer them.
Author, Patrick Young
Patrick Young is an educator and activist. He believes people with disabilities must live within a unique set of circumstances. Patrick created Able USA to offer resources to others with disabilities to help them navigate the various aspects of life as a person with a disability.
Ableusa.info | patrick@