Jobs for the Blind
You may think that there are no jobs for the blind. Don’t despair! There are and you can find your dream job. Keep reading for some tips on where to get started and what to do next.
The first important step in finding a job is career exploration. You will need to determine what it is that you like and what you are good at doing. You need to be totally, brutally honest with yourself, but don’t discount important skills either. Ask trusted family, friends or councilors if you aren’t sure. Make a list of all these skills.
Now start thinking about what types of jobs sound exciting. Make another list. Write down every job that pops into your head that sounds interesting. Write it down even if it’s crazy or you don’t think you could do it. That doesn’t matter right now.
Take both lists with you for the next few days. When something else occurs to you write it on the appropriate list. Be creative and honest.
Need help? Try taking a personality or career inventory questionnaire. There are some free ones available on line.
Now research related jobs If you wrote down that you’d really like to be a dancer, brainstorm related careers, like choreographer, costume designer, make-up artist… you get the idea!
Try to identify what it is that is exciting about a particular job. Look for other jobs that have that interest in common. For example you wrote down that you’d really like to be a lion tamer. What is it that’s exciting about being a lion tamer? The challenge of training wild animals? Wearing really cool costumes? Performing in front of people? The danger? Traveling with the circus? If it was training wild animals think of other jobs where you would be able to work with wild animals, a nature preserve, zoo, educational outreach program…
This brainstorming technique can be particularly important if you wrote down jobs that you don’t have the necessary skills to do or your blindness or visual impairment would prevent you from doing. WARNING! Don’t write off any job because you think a blind person couldn’t do that. There are blind people working in every sort of capacity. If you’re not sure how you might perform a particular job, start asking questions. It might be helpful to go talk to people who are doing that job. Sit down and talk to them. Find out exactly what the job duties are. Follow them around and see what the job is all about. Then start asking around and see if you can find another blind person doing that particular job or something similar. Get all the relevant information and then make an educated decision.
Keep working on your lists until you have identified what it is that you want to do and what skills you will bring to that job. Don’t feel like you have to pick just one job. You need to narrow it down enough to make a search productive. Keep it broad enough so that you don’t exclude jobs that you really might enjoy.
For example you’ve identified that you’d like to work in retail sales face-to-face with people. Your skills are: easy to talk to, good listener, outgoing, motivated, punctual, and organized. Good! Your job is reasonably defined without being too limited and your goals are directly related to the job.
Find Some Balance
You will now need to identify what it is that you really want out of employment, a paycheck, helping others, personal growth, or a reference for the next job… Be honest and realistic here. If you are in high school, looking for your first part-time summer job the most important things are probably the money and something to put as a reference for your next job. If you have been working as an accountant for the past 20 years you are probably most concerned with the retirement program or personal growth opportunities.
You’ll have to find some balance between your dreams, your goals your skills and what is available. Don’t sell yourself short.
Remember that everyone has to start somewhere. Think of the future too. If your dream job is to own your own shoe store, perhaps selling shoes would be a start on the right path. Most people have more than one job in their lifetime. Gain some experience. It is easier to find a job if you have a job.
Once you have a job, you will be able to use it as a reference for the next job. You will also gain experience in that line of work. You will be refining skills you have and developing new ones. You will also find out if you really like that type of work.
So you’ve figured out a list of things that you are interested in doing. Where do you find the jobs? Glad you asked!
The number one resource where most people find jobs is networking. This means talking to people, telling them you are looking for a job and listening to what they have to say. You are not asking people to actually hire you. You are talking to everyone you encounter in a day to see if they know of any companies that have open positions. When you are at the dentist just casually mention that you are looking for a job in telemarketing. Ask if the dentist knows of anyone that is looking for someone to do that sort of work. Chances are that if you talk to enough people someone will know someone who is hiring.
Now because you are an independent, confident and capable person your dentist, hair stylist or bank teller will have no problem mentioning you for the job that they know about. You are already way ahead of the competition. You have identified an available job. You can mention the person who told you about the job when you contact the employer. People are more likely to hire people they know or people who have been recommended by people they know.
If you want to leave no rock unturned, here’s a list of other possible places you could look to find job openings. Newspaper Career fairs Job service agency Vocational rehabilitation agency Cold calling Internet Bulletin boards College career placement office
Good luck! Remember that finding a job is a full time job.