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Tips for Job-hunting with a Disability

Tips for Job-hunting with a Disability.

      Finding a job isn't easy for anyone in this market, but for job hunters with disabilities, the search can seem especially intimidating.

       "There is a tendency among people to make assumptions," said Dan Ryan of the University of Buffalo, author of the "Job Search Handbook for People with Disabilities." Interviews may be uncomfortable or worry that a disability in one area will carry over into others.

         Tips for making sure a disability doesn't stand in the way of getting a job:

1. Keep the focus on what you can do -- not what you cannot do.

        All job seekers must convince an interviewer that they are up to the job requirements. If you need to ask for an accommodation, phrase it in positive terms: "As long as I'm able to get my wheelchair in the door, I can attend the meeting."

        Interviewers are always more convinced by someone who offers a detailed plan than by someone who just say, "Sure, I can do that." Say you're required to go from building C three or four times a day and you're sitting in a wheelchair. Explain how you will do it: I'll just roll my wheelchair up the ramp and do the job."

2. Discuss only what's necessary about your disability. If you're asked to come for an interview on the fifth floor of a building with no elevator and you can't get up the stairs, you'll need to explain that ahead of time. But "in most circumstances, the longer you put off disclosing your disability, the better off you are "

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Dan Ryan University of Buffalo

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