The Path to Employment: Making a List (and Checking it Twice . . .)

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on June 29, 2020 # Lifestyle, Employment

Finding a job without a history with the company can be difficult. But with some preparation and practice, obstacles and challenges can be resolved.

It entails a different mindset and different actions to take (in some respects) in order to get the position you want in a new company than you would need if you were returning to the job you had prior to your injury.

To start, list your skills, talents, and interests. (What do you like? What is important to you?) Based on this, develop a list of companies to contact.

Using this information, develop your resume focusing on these values.Donna Lowich, Senior Information Specialist

Networking is a valuable tool, possibly the most important way to find out about jobs being created that could be of interest to you and for which you qualify. As part of networking, develop an “elevator speech”, a brief description of your skills and your goals. Having this prepared ahead of time, will make it easier for you to get what you need as you network.

When deciding whether (or when) to disclose your disability to a potential employer, remember that the employer may need to make arrangements for an accessible place to hold an interview or take a test.

Once you have received a written job offer and reviewed the job description, think about what accommodations you may need. After you request an accommodation, be prepared to answer questions and explain how the accommodations would help you perform your job duties.

To help both you and your employer to know which accommodations you need and which will be considered to be a reasonable accommodation, contact Job Accommodations Network (JAN). They provide free consulting services to individuals and employers regarding accommodation ideas, information on ADA compliance, product vendors and referrals to other resources.

If you are receiving vocational rehabilitation services, are covered under Ticket to Work or have a PASS plan, your vocational rehabilitation counselor can assist you and your employer in implementing appropriate accommodations. Additionally, your employer may be eligible for tax credits to assist in covering assistive technology and physical accommodations (such as a ramp.)

Here are some things to keep in mind when starting and during your job search:

  • Assess your talents/skills/interests
  • Think about whether you want to work for a non-profit organization, for profit company or government agency
  • List companies which are of interest to you, based on your answers above
  • Write/update your resume (utilize your vocational rehabilitation services for this)
  • Create more than one version of your resume depending on the fields you are applying to
  • Network
  • Contact potential employers
  • Be ready to disclose/discuss your disability and needed job accommodations
  • Have references ready
  • Schedule interviews
  • Familiarize yourself with the companies you will be interviewing with
  • Practice asking meaningful questions about the company
  • Practice responding to interview questions
  • Know how your disability may affect how you would need to do the job; what accommodations you might need
  • Follow up after each interview with a thank-you note

Although seeking employment post injury can seem daunting, with some preparation and practice, you can succeed and land that job!

Written by Donna Lowich, Senior Information Specialist. To contact an Information Specialist call 1-800-539-7309 or go to www.ChristopherReeve.org/Ask.