Pursuing employment can be quite intense as jobseekers prepare to highlight occupational skills and potentials that supersede those of other applicants. The job search requires thorough preparation such as proper attire, anticipating interview questions, and doing researching on the company and/or leadership team. People with disabilities may face other challenges along with the normal stressors involved in seeking work. Unfortunately there are instances were employers stereotype people with disabilities, making it difficult for some individuals to find fulfilling jobs. As a result some people prefer not to share their disabilities for fear of humiliation or disqualifications of potential job openings. Sadly such individuals are deprived from the deserved opportunity to share his or her given potential in the workplace.
The United States Department of Labor defines The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) as follows; “The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. The ADA also establishes requirements for telecommunications relay services.” Employers cannot discriminate when providing employee trainings, promotions, or benefits. Also, upon hire employers must provide suitable accommodations for people with disabilities to meet job requirements. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) advises jobseekers to determine if job duties can be performed with adequate employer accommodations when seeking employment. Doing so decreases the burden of applying to numerous jobs and ensures protection under the ADA.
The EEOC comments further on how the ADA defines disability noting:
To be protected under the ADA, you must have, have a record of, or be regarded as having a substantial, as opposed to a minor, impairment. A substantial impairment is one that significantly limits or restricts a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, learning or working.
TIPS FOR JOBSEEKERS WITH DISABILITIES SEEKING EMPLOYMENT:
1. Research your employment rights. The EEOC and The United States Department of Labor offer resourceful information on ADA and related topics.
2. Partner with organizations in your area for employment opportunities and other available services for people with disabilities.
3. Focus on your strengths. We each have unique skills and abilities to share with others. Highlight individual skills and qualities that will be of positive contribution to the related job position. For instance: “I am excited to apply for the administrative assistance position. I feel confident in my potential to not only meet but also exceed company expectations. I am great with people skills and love to help others.” If the opportunity allows you can share your vision and potentials with the interviewer.
4. Work with a human resource or staffing personnel who can provide sound guidance and assistance throughout the hiring process. Staffing professionals are experienced in the field and can assist with resume tips and interview preparation. Human resource personnel can also suggest how, when, and to whom to address personal accommodations and disability questions.
5. Never feel inferior to other applicants. Career success is highly influenced by our mental attitude to follow through goals and aspirations with confidence. You know your individual strengths better than anyone else. Tap into your personal gifts and talents, seeking employment opportunities that align with your skills, abilities, and career goals.