Chapter 6: International Job Seekers & Job Seekers with Disabilities

Students or Job Seekers with Disabilities

Are you a student or job seeker with a visible or invisible disability who is finding it challenging
to find work? Are you feeling discouraged by the process and unsure about how to talk about your disability?

We already know that for anyone searching for work in today’s competitive job market, finding a job can be a difficult and demanding task. For a person with a disability, the job search process may bring about other distinctive challenges. We also know that persons with disabilities are uniquely valuable to employers in several different ways and an increasing number of persons with disabilities are entering the workforce. When an employer chooses to hire a person with a disability they tap into underutilized talent, generate more diverse perspectives, create a workforce reflective of society, increase accessibility for all, and support the elimination of barriers.

In this section, you will learn practical suggestions on how to address your disability-related concerns throughout different intervals of the job search process. Let’s ensure that your disability doesn’t stand in the way of you getting a job and, in turn, focus on the immense value that you will bring to the workforce. Before you start your job search, consider the following strategies:

  • Evaluate yourself.
    It is important for you to start by evaluating your own feelings about this process. Reflect on the following exploratory questions and consider discussing them with a trusted source in order to work through your thoughts.

    • Are you able to describe your disability to others, and do you feel comfortable talking
      openly about it?
    • What limitations do you have and are you able to identify what accommodations you would need in the workplace?
    • Are you comfortable educating your team members and answering questions about your disability and do you have additional resources you can provide to help them understand?

    When you have a clearer picture of how you see your disability in the context of a work setting, you can start understanding what implications that might have on your daily life. Depending on your answers to the above questions, you are also able to start identifying what you need to do
    in order to better prepare yourself for transitioning more confidently into the workforce.

  • Educate others and challenge stereotypes.
    The more comfortable you are about your disability, the more comfortable the people around you will be. Advocate for yourself by educating others about your disability. When people are more educated about your needs, they are more likely to be understanding and less likely to make assumptions or feed into stereotypes. As a skilled and productive employee, you have the ability to change people’s beliefs, and help them to see you as the hardworking, adaptable, and intelligent person that you are. This might be more challenging with some people than others, therefore, surround yourself with good support, and reach out to your Disabilities Counsellor at the Centre for Accessible Learning for further suggestions.
    Furthermore, take matters into your own hands and recommend information or community resources that can provide them with further information.


    Make an appointment with the Centre for Accessible Learning.

  • Communicate effectively.
    Over the course of your work history, challenging situations will arise. As we previously mentioned, when people are uneducated about disabilities, they may not know how to ask questions or respond appropriately to matters concerning your disability. To navigate these situations effectively, you need to be able to communicate well. You should:

    • Avoid reactively negatively to other people’s behaviours, or assuming that someone is judging you, as your assumption might not be true.
    • Promote disability awareness by taking opportunities to discuss your disability as a chance to teach others.
    • Don’t be afraid to articulate what your preferences are with regards to how you would like to be treated and what assistance you might need.
    • Be open to discussing with your employer and colleagues how their comments affect you and suggest language that you prefer to be used when referring to your disability.


Check out the Job Seekers Guide for Students and Graduates with Disabilities for further support with your job search.


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Be the Boss of Your Career: A Complete Guide for Students & Grads Copyright © 2021 by Lindsay Bortot and Employment Support Centre, Algonquin College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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