These days, competition in the job market is high — regardless of the industry in which you want to work. Unfortunately, when you have a disability, finding a job can be even more daunting. It is estimated that about 80% of the disabled population in the U.S. is unemployed. While it’s easy to become frustrated or disheartened during a job search, it’s important to take steps towards staying positive and optimistic. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got some ideas.
1 Create a Job Search Routine
Begin by setting up a “game plan” for your job search and getting into a weekly routine. Your plan may include daily browsing of online job boards or even researching work-from-home job opportunities in your area. Once you have a better idea of where to look for jobs and how to go through the application process, you’ll become used to it and will be able to make it part of your routine.
2 Celebrate Small Victories
Taking time to celebrate small victories in your job search is important to remaining optimistic and keeping a positive attitude. Reaching a goal, such as going through the process of filling out and submitting an application, warrants some celebration on your end. Make the celebration something simple but enjoyable, such as calling a friend, or enjoying an extra cup of coffee or cocoa. After that becomes routine, make the celebration more meaningful by increasing the number of applications you submit before a small celebration, etc. Have something extra-special to look forward to if you get an invitation for an interview, regardless of whether it ends in a job offer, such as viewing a favorite movie or eating a special meal.
3 Look Into Volunteering
Even while you’re currently unemployed, taking advantage of volunteer opportunities is a great way to stay busy and gain experience and skills that could prove useful in a future job. All kinds of great volunteering opportunities are available online, and many of them are flexible in terms of how many hours per week you need to commit to and what responsibilities you have. You can find an opportunity that suits your interests and add it to your resume. Employers look favorably on volunteerism, as it shows you can commit and are reliable.
4 Set Manageable Goals
By setting small, attainable goals you’ll avoid getting discouraged when a job search takes longer than you may wish. For example, setting a goal to get a job within a given time frame may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Consider instead setting an attainable goal like searching daily for jobs and applying for at least three jobs that interest you each week. Achieving these small goals will help you remain motivated. Set realistic goals that you can actually attain and measure rather than pie-in-the-sky goals. Being able to regularly check off a goal, even if it is that you applied for three jobs in a week, will keep you motivated to continue your search.
5 Move on From Rejection
Very few people receive job offers after their first application or interview. Most people face multiple rejections before they end up with a job offer. Prepare for the likelihood you will receive rejections before you land a job. By accepting this, you will feel less disappointed when a rejection letter arrives or you don’t receive a call for an interview you were hoping to get. Rejection shouldn’t be taken personally. Remember, there IS an employer who will hire you! Finding that employer is just a matter of setting and reaching your job-search goals over time.
6 Focus on What You Can Control
Many aspects of the job-search process will be outside your control. Accept that and move forward. For example, rather than focusing on jobs your disability may prevent you from doing, focus on skills you already have or can develop as you expand your job search. Instead of worrying that you don’t have computer skills you need, take an online typing course. Working toward things within your abilities and letting go of the rest will keep you focused on real progress and will lead to a positive attitude potential employers will notice.
Searching for employment when you’re disabled comes with its own unique challenges and obstacles. Staying focused and remaining positive will help you find a job over time. For help in finding work, register with LandAJob.org. Land-A-Job offers access to more than 500,000 positions across the country dedicated to individuals with disabilities.