You Wanna Work but You’re Disabled?

Written by Robert D. Sollars

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I hear far too many people that being disabled is all there is for them and they can’t work. While it is true, some of them can’t due to their disability. Many can work, but they refuse to try to do anything about it. They’re either lazy, give up too easily, or it interfere with their socializing online and other time-wasting activities.
So, what does the disabled person do when searching for that one perfect job that will provide them with the things they need, achievement, money, benefits, and so on? The truth is…absolutely nothing special. But, how do they get past the stigma of their disability? Simple, Apply online. Since so many job applications are online anymore…No matter what, you have to be better than other applicants. And I’m not talking about their experience or knowledge level, although that doesn’t hurt. Being disabled, we have to be better than other applicants because if we don’t then it can be easily explained as ‘Oh they’re disabled, they can’t…, and so why teach them that if they don’t already know?’ Simplistic… maybe, realistic…yes.
What the disabled have To Do:
There are certain items that you have to do to increase your chances. Here is a short list;
• Pick a job that you are qualified for. There is no sense in applying for a job you are not…you set yourself up for failure.
• Spell & grammar check your resume and cover letter! Unlike others, if it is error-free and grammatically correct you already have an advantage because it shows diligence. If necessary, hire a professional to write it or check it for errors.
• Polish your skills. From inter-personal to typing to everything in between. By polishing them, you’ll have another advantage on the application, interviewing, & training.
• Dress for Success. Wear the appropriate clothes for the job you’re interviewing for. It may seem overly simplistic, but hiring managers will judge you by the clothes you are wearing. There are many places that can get you the necessary business clothes for free, just check with a local non-profit.
• Show up on time AND alone, if possible. You should always try to show up for your interview or appointment time at least 10 – 15 minutes early. And if you can go it alone… Some of us may need help in getting around the office, but if you can, then do it.
• Don’t smoke, eat, or drink before your interview. To a non-smoker, it will hang on you like stink on shit. Then there is the breath it will cause. You really don’t want the receptionist or interviewer with breath that smells like stale coffee, digested food, or stale tobacco.
• Don’t fidget, play with paper, or use your phone. Sit as upright as you can and stay calm. Don’t mess with your hair, tie, or keep arranging your papers. As for your phone, ensure that it’s on either vibrate or turned off. Nothing will turn off an interviewer faster than having your phone ring in the middle of the interview. Most of us aren’t anywhere near to being that brilliant to have the interviewer overlook that irritation.
• Have all necessary papers in order ready to hand over. If you’re blind it should be easy, we have to be organized constantly anyway. But have your references, resumes, and other papers in order ready to hand over with no fumbling for them. Show the employer how organized you are.
For those of us that are disabled, the economy is still rebounding, with more than 8 million jobs open and no one wanting to take them because of government pay-outs. It may take a while to get our foot in the door, but it can be done without being overly persistent and irritating to the employer. Add to that, the fact that companies are looking for specific talent and being very selective about whom they even call for interviews, and therefore you have to present yourself better than your competition.
Unfortunately, underlying discrimination always raises its ugly head, because you’ll never know the real true reason, they turned you away, few companies will even admit to this nasty little secret, even to their own managers or employers.
The skills and pre-steps you need to take, are all the same, even for someone who is disabled. It’s not necessarily about the job or the competition. It’s all about how you present yourself. Something I learned while still in high school: “Walk as you have somewhere to go and something to do when you get there”
As much as you can, hold your head up straight, shoulders squared, & a confident demeanor & attitude, and try not to be arrogant about it. Whether they want to admit it or not, Perception is reality for any employer. What the employer perceives in your initial meeting is their reality and not much can be done to contradict it.
Getting a job in today’s marketplace is increasingly difficult, for those of us that are disabled, and the competition for skills & requirements escalating, leave many of us in the cold. We can still get a job doing what we want. We just have to do the little things a tad more impressively than someone else.
It happens to Anyone…Any Time…AnyWhere… For any Reason
I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear
Permission to share? Of course, with full attribution.
Copyright 2021 Robert D. Sollars

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