Chapter 6: International Job Seekers & Job Seekers with Disabilities
Spend time reflecting on the job search methods from Chapter 2 and 3, and then consider some of these additional strategies:
- Maintain a positive attitude.
There are many fears associated with entering and re-entering the workforce with a disability, especially if you’re newly disabled or you’ve had previous negative experiences associated with your disability. If you are feeling negative about your disability or situation, this can come across in your behaviours and attitude. In the face of your challenges, do your best to maintain a positive outlook – this will be a strong indicator of your future career success. Staying focused on the skills you can offer and your past successes will help you look at your situation in a new and more productive way.
- Seek out companies that support diverse hiring practices.
Through networking, conducting informational interviews, working with disability employment support agencies, and researching companies directly, you can find out information about different organizations and their practices around the support of persons with disabilities. By targeting companies that are committed to building a diverse workforce, and who adhere to employment equity practices, you will be more likely to receive the support and understanding you need to be successful in the workplace.
- Be open-minded and create opportunities.
There are many companies out there that haven’t hired a person with a disability before. If this applies to a company that you really want to work for, don’t be afraid to reach out. Suggest to an employer the possibility of a job trial so that you can showcase your skills and abilities on the job and they can evaluate your work performance before deciding to hire you. This also gives you the opportunity to decide if this opportunity will be the best fit for you.
- Connect with employment-based disability service providers.
Two heads are better than one! If you don’t want to go through this process alone, enlist the help of a community service provider. Some service providers are disability-specific and can offer programs on job search support and can connect you with disability-friendly employers.
- Stay motivated.
Job searching can take a long time. When you’re in the midst of your search, it’s easy to lose your initial hopefulness. You must maintain your motivation in order to keep up with your job search activities. Stay motivated by celebrating your successes, even if you haven’t obtained employment; any opportunities you have had to discuss your skills with others is an achievement. Moreover, keep track of your efforts by documenting and reviewing all that you’ve accomplished; this will keep you on track and you will be able to evaluate whether or not there is anything more you can do.
- Coordinate logistics.
Ensure that you have made the appropriate arrangements for transportation, recurring medical appointments, and childcare. These may or may not be formal workplace accommodations, but they may be aspects of your life that are impacted by your disability and should be addressed prior to starting a job.
- Identify a solid support network. It’s not always easy out there.
To help you maintain your enthusiasm, identify people in your life whom you can rely on for encouragement, support, and sound advice. Network with other job seekers and other persons with disabilities who have been successful in finding work. Find ways to support your networks and they will find ways to support you.