Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

How to Get a Job When You Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Landing a job when you have difficulties seeing is a unique challenge, but not an impossible one. Follow these steps and you just might find yourself employed.

  1. Focus on your strengths. By turning the attention away from the fact that you are visually impaired, you will gain (or re-gain) the confidence you need for a successful job search.

  2. Determine what types of jobs you are able to do. Would you be willing to work in customer service answering questions over the phone or in person? Or perhaps you're an excellent chef in a well-organized kitchen?

  3. Network with people who are in the type of business that you are interested in. Let them know you are looking for a job and what you can do. Do this by:

    • Speaking with your friends, family, and acquaintances. They may not be working in the type of job you're looking for but they could possibly know someone who does.

    • Phoning local businesses (of the type you're interested in) and asking to meet with someone in charge. Note: at this stage your not looking for interviews, just contacts.

    • Create a business card and resume to pass around. I'd suggest braille and standard text on the business card, just so you know what it is.

  4. Ask for assistance from a supportive sighted pal to help you browse through classifieds and check out the internet for job openings.

  5. Continue networking and expanding your knowledge. Eventually you will have a job.

Don't look down at entry level jobs. They could be just what you need to get your foot in the door.

If at all possible, don't let a potential employer know you are blind until you are at an interview. Best to let them see your skills before they judge you because of your visual impairment. On the other hand, you may decide that your years of teaching experience (for example) coupled with your blindness may place you in the position to teach other visually impaired people how to cope. Use your own discretion depending on the job you are searching for.

Your job search may take longer than it would for a sighted person, but if you're determined, you can find a job.

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