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Five Tips for Disabled Job Hunters

October 25 2010 | by

man giving a woman an interview

Job seekers with disabilities have it tough. Only 21 percent of disabled working-age Americans had a job in the past year – that’s compared to 59 percent of non-disabled Americans. Here are some tips to help job seekers with disabilities find meaningful work.

1. Use your state employment agency. Every state in the U.S. and Puerto Rico has a vocational rehabilitation agency that holds a list of job openings and can help you get interviews. Agencies often partner with certain companies that want to hire this group. They can provide job training and even pay for assistive technologies that help you perform your job. To find your state agency and other resources go to Think Beyond the Label, a campaign funded by more than 30 states that’s designed to get businesses to hire people with disabilities.

2. Surf disability specific job boards. Private sector job boards have listings from companies that are dedicated to hiring people with disabilities. These include, which also offers a social networking portal to help job seekers connect with mentors and each other,, which is run by national disability recruiter The Sierra Group, Hire Disability Solutions and Disaboom Jobs.

3. Consider a public sector job. The federal government has stepped up efforts to help the disabled find jobs. President Obama has called for 100,000 people with disabilities to be hired in the federal workforce in five years, and now requires federal contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action and open employment to people with a disability including disabled veterans. Consider a federal job or a job with a company that does business with the government. The federal Office of Personnel Management has job listings.

4. Attend a teleseminar. The Sierra Group offers online courses that are free to job seekers and veterans with disabilities through its nonprofit foundation, One More Way. Recent topics have included accommodating mental health in the workplace and finding assistive technologies that are right for you.

5. Choose companies wisely. Each year DiversityInc. compiles a list of the top 10 companies for people with disabilities. Although the companies pay to participate in the rankings, they do exemplify hiring practices for the disability population through disability-focused recruiting and fostering disability employee network groups. The National Business and Disability Council, which counts more than Fortune 500 and other companies as its members, has a job database. If you have a disability and there’s a job you think you’re qualified for, you should contact the hiring manager at the company and ask if you can come in for an interview.

  • Bill

    Great article!

    Please feel free to contact us if you have questions.

    AbilityLinks is a web-based community where job seekers with disabilities, inclusive employers and service providers meet and gain access to valuable networking opportunities.

    Networking is accomplished through, a free nationwide job opportunity website for persons with disabilities, a group that is protected by equal opportunity employment laws and subject to affirmative action by federal contractors.

    Job seekers use to leverage their protected status by posting resumes and applying for jobs through the website. Businesses use to identify qualified candidates with disabilities by posting jobs and reviewing resumes and applications submitted through the website.

    Experienced and knowledgeable Information and Referral Counselors, that happen to have a disability, offer live person support to employers, jobs seekers and service providers

    Alert employers and job seekers to possible matches

    Provide information about job accommodations, tax credits and disability benefits

    Help individuals use the website to find jobs and recruit candidates

    Offer job search advice and consultation via live chat, phone and email

    Make referrals to local programs that provide job placement and disability recruitment services

  • Mark Barlet

    Great post, I started my new job and while my disability is not clear as a bell during the interview process, I need accommodation. I was worried today because I asked for a new chair, somewhat scared that on day 3 I am asking for something like that… My company said let me send an email and 40 mins later I had a new chair!

    I am working for the government now, so number 3 is a strong one… Also remember that if you have a targeted disabilities there are special paths for getting a fed job.

    In fact in July Obama signed (Revised from an EO from Clinton) “Executive Order– Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities” that allows for some of the hurdles to getting a job removed. Here is the link…

  • Linda Cole

    I am in the same boat. I have several injuries that make it hard for me to do certain jobs so have ended up trying to make a living online. Some people with disabilities are more qualified and brighter than people without but because we are different there is an attitude.

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