Tiffany Johnson started out her career as a disability advocate from a young age. When Tiffany was diagnosed with Diplegic Cerebral Palsy at 4 years old, she sought to learn more about it to educate herself and others. Upon graduation from college in 2014, employment resources were scarce and inadequate, and Tiffany knew that it was time for her to take action to “help us in the disabled community to get a better quality of life as a whole." And one of the ways to do so is by finding employment.
She designed an employment guide with 4 different strategies to find a job for people with disabilities: tips for interviews, companies that offer work-from-home positions, spotting work-from-home scams, and entrepreneurship.
1. Tips for Job Searching and Interviews
There are various ways of conducting a job search, including checking in with local companies or going through job listings in newspapers. However, the Internet is also a great tool to use. Through the Internet, you can search for online job fairs, which can then lead you to virtual interviews. You can also use the Internet to manage your professional identity via LinkedIn, and build your professional network.
Once you are considered for a job, your next step will be the interview process. Prior to the interview, consider whether you are comfortable in disclosing information about your disability.
“Your disability is personal information and only has to be discussed if you want it to be."
During the interview, focus on things that you can do and have done. “If you don’t have job experience, point out volunteer work, community service, or organizations you’ve worked with,” says Tiffany. Remember, it is all about highlighting your strengths and experiences.
2. Work-From-Home Sites
As mentioned, the Internet is a good place to start your job search. Many job sites are helpful if you plan to find work-from-home opportunities; some even catering specifically to people with disabilities. Such sites include:
- Ability Jobs Plus – A disability job site to search for jobs in any state
- USA Jobs – The Federal government’s official job list that includes employment search, information centers, and information for veterans.
- bTizzy – A website that enables people with disabilities to feature their handmade crafts and services
- Flexjobs – A job service that helps you find available flexible jobs. Flexjobs also releases an annual Top 100 Companies list that offers work-from-home positions. This list can better facilitate finding a work-from-home position
3. Spotting Work-From-Home Scams
Finding work-from-home positions also brings the risk of running into a scam operation. Here are some signs of potential scams:
- There is no one at the said company by your boss’s/supervisor’s name
- The tasks you perform do not correspond to your job scope/description
- They never contact you by phone
- You are required to create a separate bank account for “company funds”
All in all, while the Internet is a great place to find potential jobs, do be cautious as well, and do your own research about the company before agreeing to anything.
Entrepreneurship is a viable option if you do not plan on outsourcing for a job, or are unable to find a suitable one. It is also a great way to “turn [your] passions and hobbies into income.” Some of the benefits of being your own boss as a person with disabilities include:
- More freedom to work at your own schedule and pace
- Reduce traveling concerns, especially if it is a home-based business
- Support from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) when income and assets meet these program’s requirements
Starting your own business is hard work, but there are also programs and strategies that can support your ambition. They include:
- Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS) – A program targeted at people with disabilities who are receiving SSI support to set aside resources to achieve a particular work goal
- Ticket-to-Work – A free and voluntary program that connects SSDI and SSI beneficiaries with employment networks and other training and support services
- Sourcing for micro-enterprise organizations or business incubators
Share this post with your friends who are seeking employment, and hopefully these strategies can assist them in securing a job!