Part III The Job Search, Application, and Interview Process

16 Job Search

The impact of a student’s is likely to be minimized when they put effective career planning and job search techniques into place.

Alberta Learning Information Service (2016c) recommends the following steps when searching for work:

  1. Identify the kind of work you can do.
  2. Look for employers who are likely to focus on your abilities and potential.
  3. Consider your needs when applying for a position. Figure out what you need to succeed at a job, and apply for positions that are the best fit.
Identify the kind of work you can do

Students should consider what type of work they can do, without accommodation or with reasonable accommodation. If you haven’t done so already, please review the information discussed previously in the “Where to Begin?” section with students. Once they have taken time to evaluate their experience, their program of study, and research what duties a given job entails, they should have a sense of what positions they are qualified for and know they can perform well in. They should apply for these positions.

Look for suitable employers

This is where knowing yourself, having properly assessed a job’s duties, and researching a prospective employer is key. When applying for a job the student will want to be sure that they have the skills required and that the work meets their needs and expectations. They will also want to search for employers who are likely to focus on their abilities and potential.

When researching employers, the student should start with a list of organizations that they would like to work for. They can then examine the organizations’ hiring practices and consider the following questions:

  • Do the employers reflect their values?
  • Do they have a reputation for being inclusive, hiring a diverse workforce that includes people with disabilities?
  • Do they state on their website or on the application form that they hire for diversity or are an ?

Students can also contact employment agencies that work with people with disabilities. Refer the student to Appendix A: Employment Support Providers and Programs for Persons with Disabilities. They should keep in mind that all employers have the , however, some employers may be more familiar with providing accommodations than others.

Employers that are federally regulated must comply with employment equity legislation. This includes the federal government, federal organizations, Crown corporations, and federally regulated private sector companies, representing over 500 organizations in Canada that employ over 760,000 individuals. Every year these organizations must file a report to the federal Labour Program to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Employment Equity Act. These reports are available to the public and you can request a list of the organizations participating in the Legislated Employment Equity Program (LEEP).[1] This can be an excellent resource for students to find an employer with a proven track record for hiring persons with disabilities.

 

Consider your needs when applying for positions

It is important for students to know what type of job is a good fit for them and what type of work environment they are likely to thrive in. If conditions are not ideal, they might want to give thought to whether accommodations would help them to succeed at work. For example, a person with ADHD might find it difficult to succeed in an open office environment with cubicles and high noise levels. However, that individual might be able to overcome that by using noise-cancelling headphones in order to concentrate better. A study of 46 successful adults with learning disabilities found that they had searched for work environments that optimized their skills and abilities, while minimizing their weaknesses, allowing them to experience the most success (Gerber, Ginsberg, & Reiff, 1992). This is referred to as goodness of fit. Students should make this their goal when searching for employment.


  1. You can also request the most up-to-date list of organizations in the LEEP program, or request to view individual reports, by visiting the Employment and Social Development Canada website or sending an email to ee-eme@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca and requesting access to Workplace Equity Information Management System (WEIMS).

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Transition to Employment: A Guide for Supporting Post-Secondary Students with Disabilities by UPEI Career Services and UPEI Accessibility Services is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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