Using Tech to Advance Your Career: A Guide for Those with Disabilities
If you are living with a disability, you may discover that you face unique hurdles when it comes to finding a job you love. One survey found that two-thirds of unemployed persons with disabilities would like to work but can't find jobs. Luckily, technology can help solve many of the challenges these individuals face. Find out how you can make today’s cutting-edge tools work for you below.
Get the tech tools you need to help on your job-hunting journey
A computer is your gateway to a rewarding career. You’ll use it to connect with potential employers when looking for work and stay linked with clients and customers once you're on the job. If you need to upgrade yours, invest in a reliable device that works for your situation. Keep in mind too that when spending a lot of time online, you want to ensure you’ve got a plan to address digital security so you’re not vulnerable to identity theft or hacking.
Find the perfect position that suits your strengths
Across the world, major employers are increasingly eager to support diversity and connect with employees with disabilities; Amazon, Starbucks, and Pepsi are just a few of the big names that have discovered this untapped workforce. And many employers are offering work-from-home positions. But the question remains: How can you connect with these prospective employers? Many resources are available, which you can access online via your computer or mobile device.
If you need more flexibility, you can also look to freelancing opportunities, which are a great option for those with mobility issues. To find remote work, you can head to online freelancing job boards like Upwork, which caters to every industry, and post your profile and qualifications.
Prepare for the interview in advance
Potential employers must make reasonable accommodations for the needs of employees as well as job seekers. If you have been invited to take part in an interview and have special needs, don’t hesitate to inform the company. They can’t hold this against you and should oblige according to the law.
Say you have been informed that the interview process will include a written test, for example. If you have vision problems, you can ask that the test be provided in a format you can work with, such as orally or using a tool like ZoomText, which enlarges texts on screens to make it easier to read. In a similar vein, if mobility is a problem for you, you can request that the initial interview be done via a video chat app like Skype.
Download the apps you need to succeed
There are many mobile apps available to assist with all sorts of disabilities. For example, if you are colorblind, a color detection app like Color Grab can help. If you have trouble with fine motor skills, making it difficult to write or type, Dragon Anywhere offers professional-grade mobile dictation on the go. If your hearing is what’s holding you back, look into Ava. You can download it on your smartphone and it will transcribe what others are saying, allowing you to follow along with business meetings in real time.
Bump up your skills
If you want to make yourself a more valuable candidate for employers, look for ways to add to your skill set. In addition to making you more attractive, the extra education and know-how can bump up your pay scale. So, if you’ve been growing your skills in IT, look for additional certifications to help expand your abilities. Or if you’ve been working as a bookkeeper but want to up your game, consider getting an accounting degree. With the option to take classes online, you could easily get an online accounting degree or multiple IT certifications.
There’s no need to get frustrated or feel defeated as a person with a disability on the job hunt. With these tech-informed tips and tools, your path to your dream gig will be much smoother. Once you get your foot in the door and show what you’re capable of, you will be able to advance your career even further.