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Career Resources for Students With Disabilities

The Career Development Center recognizes that today's workforce is more diverse than ever to include persons with disabilities. As a student with a disability, your career development process may include unique challenges and require careful consideration and planning. We also recognize that the self-advocacy and planning skills you develop as part of your disability can be an asset in the workplace. This resource guide was made in collaboration with The Office of Disability Resources and Business Career Services.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a non-discrimination law which protects qualified individuals with disabilities. Title I of the the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, social activities, and other privileges of employment.

Disclosing your disability: Deciding when and how much information to disclose regarding your disability to an employer is a personal decision that will likely vary based on your specific disability and what type of accommodations you need. An employer may know that an applicant has a disability because it is obvious or the applicant voluntarily reveals the existence of one. The ADA restricts questions that can be asked about an applicant's disability before a job offer is made.

Accommodations: If an applicant or employee indicates that an accommodation will be necessary in order, then the employer may ask what accommodation is needed. An applicant or employee with a disability must be able to perform all of the essential functions of the job, even with reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations include any change or modification in the work environment that enables a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities and/or perform the essential functions of a position. To request an accommodation, speak with your supervisor or human resources representative and provide documentation by also writing them a letter with your request. You may need to provide medical documentation.

Think outside the box about how being comfortable with your disability is a skill that many students may not have. Employers want to see the experiences that make students stand out and are applicable to their industry.
 

Job description: Carefully review the essential job requirements and duties to ensure you are qualified for the position, and to evaluate if you may have any accommodation needs.
 

Resume:  Resumes are written to highlight your skills, experiences, and qualifications related to a job or an industry of interest. You may choose to highlight some experiences that may disclose your disability, if you feel comfortable doing so.
 

Cover Letter: Cover letters are crafted based on your experiences and the individual job or internship you are applying for. It is not a legal obligation for you to disclose your disability in your cover letter. If you do choose to disclose your disability, make sure to stay positive throughout the letter to display your confidence and preparedness for the position you’re applying for.
 

Interviewing:

  • Pages with general interviewing tips: https://careers.appstate.edu/interviewing

  • Questions to ask during the interview (without outing your disability). Examples:

    • Does this position require the employee to adhere to strict deadlines? 

    • Does this position allow for flexibility to telework?

    • What are the hours?

Accommodations that can be requested during the interview process: 

  • Names and positions of the interviewers.

  • Interview questions to be provided in advance.

  • Captions on during virtual interviews.

  • Sign language interpreters.

  • Alternate formats of materials.

When researching job opportunities and employers, it’s important to find organizations that are supportive of employees and candidates with disabilities. You may be on the lookout for the following:

  • The employer’s dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion through their messaging and actions

  • The employer’s statements and accommodations available to candidates with disabilities in the application and interview process

  • Support in place within the organization for employees with disabilities (employee resource groups, etc)

  • The employer’s designated individual to assist in navigating disability related workplace accommodations.

Networking and Building Connections

On-Campus Resources

Employer & Career Research Resources:

  • National Collaborative on Workplace and Disability: The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) assists state and local workforce development systems to better serve all youth, including youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth.

Job Search Resources:

  • Resume Building Tips: This article best practices for writing a resume as a job seeker with a disability.

  • Getting Hired: Online job board that seeks to bridge the gap between job seekers with disabilities and employers looking to hire.

  • Bender Consulting: Assists individuals with disabilities in getting hired and recruited for positions within the private and public sector.

  • Lime Connect: This organization assists students with scholarships, professional development webinars along with information about internships and full-time job opportunities.

  • Entry Point: Entry Point is a program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that offers internship opportunities for students with disabilities. Internships will range in discipline from Computer Science, Business to Science and Engineering.

  • disABLEDperson, Inc.: Great resource for job listings and scholarship information.

  • Emerging Leaders Summer Internship Program for College Students with Disabilities: Provides students with internship and leadership development opportunities.

  • The American Association of People with Disabilities: This organization provides a Congressional Internship Program for College Students with Disabilities. It's open to undergraduate and graduate students, in addition to recent grads.

  • VelvetJobs Employment With a Disability Resource Guide: A guide to help those with disabilities find employment, covering topics such as job seeking strategies, acts and government resources, language, groups and associations, and even resources for employers.

Career Exploration:

As a student with a disability, you may find that your additional attention to academic and other commitments require little time for career planning. Devoting time to looking beyond your disability at how your interests and skills lead to next steps is important. This process includes choosing a major and a career path that aligns with interests and skills and understanding how your disability may impact academic and employment settings. Meeting with a career coach can help with narrowing down your choices and help you choose a major that aligns best with you and your unique strengths, skills and traits. Logging into Handshake is the first step; set up your account and make an appointment to begin the career exploration process.

The resources listed below may be helpful in finding employers that are inclusive of employees and candidates with disabilities.

As you search for positions, read the qualifications section to ensure you understand the requirements of the position. Many employers, particularly local, state and federal agencies, will include a statement about their commitment to hiring individuals with disabilities.