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How People With Disabilities Can Leverage Technology for Job Success
Author: Patrick Young
Finding work as a person with a disability can come with some significant hurdles. Some common challenges include finding and applying for jobs, mobility issues when interviewing, and overcoming potential prejudice. On top of this, relying on public transit to get to work can be severely limiting, especially in rural areas. Fortunately, technology can be an invaluable tool for helping people with disabilities find accessible work opportunities and thrive in fulfilling careers. If you have a disability, be sure to take advantage of software, hardware, and online tools that can give you more power over your work life.
Making the Leap to Entrepreneurship
Starting a home business is a great option for people with disabilities. If you’re self-employed, you get to set your own hours and work how and when you want. This is ideal for people with mobility limitations. If you’re not sure where to start, you can find plenty of great ideas to help you make money online, from dropshipping to selling your services as a freelancer. There is also a lot of support available to you, including grants, government incentives, and online networking events and forums.
If you decide to start your own business online, make sure you’re set up with the right tech to stay organized and on top of things. For example, a good smartphone is essential for connecting with clients and managing your business through helpful apps. A phone upgrade may be a worthwhile business investment. While you’re at it, consider upgrading to an unlimited wireless plan from a provider like Verizon, so you’ll always have access to your mobile tools when you need them.
Finding Work Opportunities
People with disabilities can also find a variety of remote and in-house employment opportunities by searching online. For example, there are several job search sites that cater to remote work, like FlexJobs, Working Nomads, and We Work Remotely. You can also look for work on websites specially designed for people with disabilities, such as AbilityJobs and Disability Job Exchange.
Besides browsing job boards and sending applications out to hiring managers, it’s a good idea to do some networking as well. Forbes recommends reaching out to people on social media and letting everyone know you’re on the lookout for a job. Professional networking sites like LinkedIn are great for finding work, but you can also make some valuable career connections over Twitter or Facebook. Remember to do some networking offline as well—social workers and disability advocates often have jobs to share!
Interviewing for Positions
When it comes time to interview for a position, mobility problems can be a significant barrier. This is where instant messaging and video chat tools can come in handy. Don’t be afraid to request a video interview! If you’re attending an interview in person, Passionate People recommends looking up the location ahead of time and investigating its accessibility. This will ensure you will be able to get into the interview room successfully.
Before your interview, research interviewing tips so you’re ready to impress the hiring manager and show them your best skills and talents. Be confident and don’t feel obliged to talk about your disability if you don’t want to. There are several great resources out there that can help people with disabilities prepare for an interview, so be sure to take advantage of this information!
Tools to Increase Productivity
Certain software and tech devices can help you get your work done efficiently by minimizing frustrating limitations. Make sure you have all the assistive tech you need to excel in your role. For example, high-contrast website themes and text-to-speech software can be beneficial for people with vision impairments. If you have difficulty with fine-motor movements, consider getting an adaptive keyboard and a trackball mouse. Certain software and online apps, such as spell checkers, grammar tools, and word prediction programs, can also help compensate for input errors or learning disabilities.
Thanks to technology, the work world is becoming more accessible to people with disabilities. The right tools can help you start your own business, find remote work, ace your interviews, and maximize your strengths so you can advance through your career. Take advantage of these valuable tools as you pursue your passion and chase your career dreams.