Job-seeking tips for people living with disability

| June 24, 2021

Finding a suitable, well-paying job is never an easy task, but it can become even more difficult when you’re living with a disability. From a lack of accessible workplaces willing to accommodate necessary adjustments to a growing number of employers being reluctant to hire and actually retain disabled workers, the workforce can truly present a number of difficulties and unique challenges for any disabled jobseeker.

Fortunately, there are still ways to make progress on disability, as long as you are equipped with appropriate knowledge and resources. To that end, here are some essential job-seeking tips that will help any disabled worker start and build a successful career:

Be familiar with your rights

Among the most important aspects of job seeking is knowing the different rights you have as a disabled worker. While laws and regulations might differ depending on where you live, one right all workers with disability have is accessibility and protection.

For you, this means that all employers are obliged to provide reasonable adjustments in the workplace, whether that means accessible floors and entrances, documents in Braille and audiotapes, sign language interpreters, or any other adjustment you might require.

You might also have the right to qualify for disability support provided by your local government, which could include anything from finding appropriate insurance to providing necessary medical or physical assistance, depending on the specific program.

Consider job placement schemes

While it’s true that people with disabilities deserve equal access to information, learning more about your rights, personal requirements, and any specific laws and accommodations employers have to adhere to can be quite a stressful and time-consuming endeavour. For that reason, it might be beneficial to work with a specialised job placement program that helps disabled individuals to further their careers.

There are some great government-funded schemes such as JobAccess and the Disability Employment Services that connect disabled workers with suitable employers and provide advice and information about rights and workplace adjustments, while supporting disabled jobseekers throughout the entire process.

Find a good insurance provider

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is another program backed by the Australian government that provides support to disabled individuals in employment, education, as well as their health and well-being. Being an incredibly useful resource, the NDIS can be of great help when searching for job opportunities, assessing workplace standards, and providing career guidance to disabled jobseekers.

To that end, deciding on a great NDIS service provider that offers a customised approach and provides a number of services to help further your career can be one of the best decisions you could make as a disabled worker in Australia.

Focus on your job application

Once you have learned your rights and worked with helpful government programs, the next step would be to apply for suitable positions through CVs, cover letters, and job interviews. Apart from ensuring your applications are perfectly suited to the position, it would also be wise to highlight your previous experience, personal skills and abilities, as well as your goals, instead of focusing on what you can’t accomplish.

If you want to mention any professional challenges you faced in the past due to your disability, try to turn those experiences into employable skills rather than hindrances, by highlighting how they made you a great problem-solver and a more flexible and adaptable worker, for example.

Think about starting a business

Rather than looking for a job, you might also be contemplating starting your own business. This can be a great option for disabled workers as well, as it gives you the opportunity to avoid common workplace obstacles, set flexible personalised schedules, follow a career path at your own pace, and create the optimal working environment for your needs that might even help to encourage other jobseekers with disability.

While employee diversity can improve your startup in most cases, keep in mind that your business can also be further supported through local organizations and government schemes aimed at funding and supporting disabled entrepreneurs.

Stay confident and positive

Whether you are searching for jobs or starting your own business, building a career can be a difficult and challenging process. You should never be discouraged by job rejections, failed projects, or unsuccessful business meetings, as these are all common occurrences that could happen to anyone. Instead, you should be proud of the small steps you take, from a good job interview to a successful business deal, as these are all important aspects of your career journey and achieving your business goals.

No matter the situation, staying motivated throughout any defeats, being confident in your abilities, and having a positive attitude are all essential for success.

By selecting the best tools and resources, there are evidently plenty of opportunities for disabled jobseekers to start a career, and be on the right path to professional success.