By Lourdes Araujo, M.S. Registered Intern, Counseling and Disability Support Manager
Perhaps there was a time when you felt uncomfortable or inadequate when seeking a job opportunity. You felt you had the essential qualifications, but you still believed there were some concerns that crossed an employer’s mind. Don’t let your disability deter you from being successful. The following tips can help you prepare for the expectations:
- Stress what sets you apart from other candidates, as well as your qualifications.
- Be diligent about researching the companies you are interested in. Check out their human resources page, and learn about the perception of hiring, training and promoting workers with disabilities, including policies for employees with a disability.
- Demonstrate preparedness in your interview by showing your skills and how assistive technology can reduce the stigma of a disability.
- Be strong and confident, and highlight your limitations in a positive way. In some cases, your senses are heightened, which can offer you an edge with certain abilities.
- If you are using special equipment, a wheelchair or perhaps a guide dog, let the employers know of your special needs and accommodations so they are better prepared in providing you with a good interview experience.
- Always practice before an interview, and be prepared to explain what you require and need to be a successful employee at the company.
- Dress to impress.
- If there is information required to document your disability, bring it to your interview. Planning is key so you are not causing more worry or anxiety the day of the interview.
- Be prepared for fears and preconceptions about workers with disabilities. You can be proactive by sharing any concerns and offering a probable solution for any trepidations. If you want the job, you must alleviate any concerns. You can use examples from your own life or prior work experience to discuss how you accomplished challenging activities, such as getting around the workplace, communicating with others and using special equipment.
Be a mentor for others with a disability at Hodges. Let me show you how! If you are struggling with a personal problem, please reach out to a counselor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1 (800) 466-0019. Lourdes Araujo assists Naples, ESL and students with disabilities. Jama Thurman assists Fort Myers and distance students.