By Guest Blogger Harley Thomas, Director of Corporate Marketing, Industries for the Blind, Inc. – Milwaukee
Finding employment in the last few years has been difficult for almost all Americans—disabled or not. When you do finally find an open position and secure an interview, how do you ensure you’re presenting your best self? Below are some tips to help you prepare for a job interview.
- Finding positions: There are many resources available to job hunters. Make sure to use multiple methods of searching to maximize your results. Word of mouth is a great one. Talk to friends or family members about their employers or anyone they know who is hiring. Reach out to everyone you can think of—your social circle, church groups, neighbors. You never know where an opportunity lies. Network, network, network.
Another method is contacting local organizations, such as the Lions Club or your state’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, for assistance. They can provide you with leads and tips to make your search easier. Finally, the Internet is always a great place to look. Increasingly, job search engines, like Monster.com, are making a conscious effort to make their sites accessible to the disability community.
Be confident! Don’t be afraid to apply to different positions—you never know what will work out and turn into a long, successful career.
- Maximize skills: Prior to applying, make sure you have the proper training and skills needed for the position. If you don’t have certain training you think you’ll need for the field you want to enter, go get it. The more skills you can offer a potential employer, the better. Remember, if you require accessible technology, it is your responsibility to be well versed in how to use it.
- Dress the part: An obvious tip, but it should be mentioned. Make sure you dress to impress. How you present yourself in an interview can be viewed as a reflection of your character, work ethic and responsibility. This goes for all of you—your service animal, mobility aids, etc.
- Be on time: So simple, yet so important. If you think you might run into some obstacles getting to your interview, plan ahead. Leave yourself plenty of time and try to think of the challenges you might encounter along the way to account for any delays.
- Ask for assistance: If you need assistance the day of the interview, call ahead. They’ll be glad to provide you any support you need. Giving them advance notice will ensure your visit runs smoothly.
- Get to know the company: Be sure to do your homework prior to your meeting to make sure you’re knowledgeable about the company’s capabilities and values. Just as the potential employer is checking to make sure you’re a good fit for the open position, you should be asking questions to learn if the position and company are right for you. Don’t be afraid to speak up to ensure you learn enough about a company to know if you want to be a part of it.
- Follow up: Don’t be afraid to follow up with your interviewer. A simple email is enough. Thank him/her for their time and inquire about the timing of their decision.
And remember, everyone gets nervous for job interviews. Be prepared, be confident and you’ll be great. Best of luck!
In his role as director of corporate marketing at Industries for the Blind, Inc. – Milwaukee (IB Milwaukee), Harley Thomas is charged with developing organization-wide business plans that promote the consistency of messaging, as well as managing the IB Milwaukee brand within both the consumer and corporate markets. His duties encompass product introductions, catalogs, branded collateral, public relations, social media marketing, call center, e-commerce, budgeting and forecasting, intellectual property management and packaging for retail products. IB Milwaukee is a single-source supplier of products and services and a leading employer for those who are blind or have low vision.