A career planning and employment resource for people who are blind or partially sighted

Finding Jobs

There are two areas where job openings are available – the open job market where employers post advertisements announcing openings, and the hidden job market where positions that need to be filled are disclosed through “word-of-mouth.” Tips for accessing information about job prospects in both the open and hidden job markets include:

  • Let sighted family members and friends know you’re preparing your job search.  Be sure to tell them what kind of work you want and locations that would be convenient for you to get to so they know where to look and what to look for. Ask them to look out for job postings that you may not have access to including local newspaper postings (that don’t have websites), and signs on bulletin boards or in shop windows.
  • Call companies or agencies where you’d like to work and ask if they post information about openings electronically or on job lines that you can call to check for positions of interest. Be prepared to jot down web addresses or telephone numbers where you can access information on an ongoing basis.
  • If you discover that postings are not easily accessible, you may want to ask the employer if it would be possible to email you a copy of postings (hence making them accessible) or find out if and where they do post open positions. If they are only putting written information out on bulletin boards or in store windows, for example, you’ll want to make arrangements with a friend or family member to periodically go by the physical site with you to read the postings.In some countries you could demand that the postings be made accessible, but you have to weigh such an approach with how it will be received by an employer. If you really want to work there, use caution in terms of making demands.In some countries, there are no legal regulations to force employers to make announcements accessible to all. Applicants who are blind or partially sighted must problem solve these situations in order to work and that often requires negotiating with sighted people for assistance.
  • Visit places where you’re interested in working. If you can take someone with you who has good vision, do so and ask that person to help you evaluate the sites. A visit helps you learn about the number of people working at the site, how they dress, what tools and equipment they’re using, whether there are other people with disabilities, how the site is laid out and organized, etc. 
  • Investigate online job and message boards that provide information about current job postings in areas where you’re interested in working. Be prepared to respond immediately to interesting postings. Download job postings and job descriptions and compare that information to your attributes. Be sure to indicate on your résumé, CV, or application where you match-up to the job requirements. 
  • Remember that employers who use online posting services usually also use computer-based matching processes to find job candidates that they’ll interview. These matching processes electronically check your documents for key words in order to see if they match their job posting or job descriptions. So be sure that your documents include relevant key words.

  • Do as much online research as possible into companies or agencies where you’d like to work. Find out what their needs are and determine how you can help them meet those needs. How do your knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) match up to what they need? Don’t worry about whether they have job openings or not – plan to inform them of your interest and availability. 
  • Once you’ve thoroughly investigated places you’d like to work, tailor a résumé or CV to what you’ve determined they need and then approach the hiring agent for that company. Let the employer know that you’ve been researching appropriate companies and that you’ve chosen his or her company because you find strong matches between your KSAs and what the company needs; then, explain that you’d like to apply for work.
    If the employer says that there are no positions currently available, let him or her know that you would like to leave your résumé or CV and be considered for positions that do open up – and do so. If the employer refuses your résumé, ask how you can stay informed about future job openings – and follow the suggestions.
    You will want to continue to touch base with such an employer – not too often or you’ll be perceived as a pest—but often enough (say, once a month) to let the employer know you’re still interested and willing.

  • Use your personal network (family members, friends, acquaintances, and people they know) to find out about employers, jobs, job openings, and companies. Ask your network if they know:
    • someone who works at the company you’re interested in
    • someone who is working in the type of job you’re interested in
    • companies that hire people to do the job you are interested in doing

    Ask questions that will help you discover what kind of work you want, where you want to work - and follow up on any leads that people give you.

    The best way to tap the hidden job market is through people – if you can find someone working where you want to work, connect with that person to let them know you’re interested in working there as well. People already on the job learn about possible openings before they are announced to the public. They may also be in a good position to advocate for adding someone they consider a good candidate to the place of work. 

  • Keep track of any and all leads that you uncover – note what jobs you’ve investigated and where, and with whom, you’ve met. Stay in touch with prospective employers and your network to keep them informed of your status and to remind them of your continued interest in gaining employment. The key to finding job leads is to work at researching and uncovering possibilities as if that were your full-time job!