Whether you’ve been living with your disability your whole life or have recently become disabled as a result of an accident or illness, your career goals remain an important part of your life. No matter the disability you’re living with, there are many careers that are well within your reach.
Career Planning Tips for Individuals with Disabilities
Conduct a Self-Assessment
A self-assessment is an important first step in career planning, as it requires you to think critically about your own skills, desires, and goals to determine the right career path for you. Part of the Person-Centered Planning process, the self-assessment asks you to consider what’s important to you in a job, how you learn best, what type of support you might need on the job, and of course, define your dream job.
Decide on a Career Path, But Remain Flexible
Having a specific goal to work toward gives you direction, so it’s a good idea to give some thought to what your ideal career looks like. You might even consider creating a vision board (or a tactile vision board) or a collection of inspiring audio clips that will encourage you to keep reaching for your dreams.
Remember, though, that many people, both with and without disabilities, find themselves taking quite a different career path than what they originally envisioned, and that’s okay. Sometimes life sends you curve balls, but you might end up exactly where you were meant to be all along.
Networking and Exploration
Take time to network with other workers in your target industry and explore the career field before investing time or financial resources in training or education. For instance, you might decide that working in software development isn’t for you after spending a few days job-shadowing professionals already working in the field.
Or you might explore another field such as working for a call center and find that interacting with other people all day is too much stimulation for you. There are many possible ways that the job you thought was your dream might not be what you perceived it to be, and it’s good to figure that out as early as possible so that you can switch direction and pursue a career that you’ll truly enjoy.
Education, Training, and Internships are Important
There are many careers that are lucrative and well-suited for people with disabilities that require little or no formal education. However, to excel in any career field, it’s important to develop your skills. Take part in training courses or job training programs and study tutorials to learn from experts who are already succeeding in your field, or sign up for formal education if there’s a program in your area of interest.
Craft the Perfect Resume
Your resume should highlight your strengths, outline your education and experience, and demonstrate the value you have to offer prospective employers. Most hiring managers get dozens to hundreds of resumes for every open position, so you have mere seconds to capture their attention with something intriguing. To really perfect your resume, check out resume samples and templates in your field, then combine the best features of the resumes that stand out into your own unique presentation.
The career planning process is a time for learning and exploration. By taking time to self-analyze, explore possible careers in your desired field, and then pursue education and training and hone your resume, you’ll be better positioned to land your dream job.
This post was written by Jenny Wise, a homeschooling mom to four wonderful kids. Jenny enjoys writing about the ins and outs of the homeschooling life and what it’s like parenting a child with special needs on her new site, SpecialHomeEducator.com.When they aren’t working on the day’s lessons, Jenny enjoys taking her kids to the local park and participating in their church’s youth group.