Part I Introduction
Beginning the job search process begins with the student doing an honest evaluation of who they are and what they bring to the table of a potential employer. What skills and experience does the student have that an employer will value? What type of work is a good match for their abilities?
One of the most important components of making a smooth transition into the workforce is knowing who you are and being able to effectively market yourself to a prospective employer. Effective marketing involves knowing the “product” inside out – what it can do, as well as its limitations. Similarly, students need to know themselves well to market themselves to an employer.
Being aware of your skills allows you to represent yourself well. Students will have greater success by picking job openings that require skills that they already have. Thinking about their skills in advance will help them choose jobs better suited to them, be more confident in interviews, write better resumes, and find a job that is more satisfying.
Students should think of themselves as their own brand. They need to ask:
- Who am I?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- Why should someone hire me?
- What do I have to offer, and why am I better than the other applicants?
Ultimately, they want to highlight their strengths and abilities and minimize the impact of any perceived weakness.
Knowing yourself includes knowing how your disability impacts the kind of work you can do. Many postsecondary students with disabilities will have documentation (e.g., psychoeducational assessment) from a medical or other professional stating the nature of their disability and the impact it has on their daily routine. If the student hasn’t taken the time to review this document in depth, now is the time to do so.