Part of the interesting opportunities we have at KI is to attend different kind of events or to be exposed to knowledge from points of view not known before. Some days ago I was able to assist the organization staff of Building Bridges conference. It was a conference about removing barrers for education, some of them were related to physical barriers to students with disabilities. But there were many different barriers in discussion.
I found a couple of “take away” materials that have interesting information. For instance, there was one called “25 tips for your jobsearch for graduate with disabilities”, from AHEAD, Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (1), that has many interesting tips for everyone and not only for people with disabilities. I wanted to share some of them with you:
- Follow your dream… no matter what!
- Plan your career – remember, employees are a company greatest asset, so you need to sell yourself as an asset.
- Know when you should use your contacts and friends and when not. Expand your network.
- Think about what your social media profile says about you and be conscious of what is publicly visible and available.
- Don’t dismiss your volunteer work or extracurricular activities as the skills and experience can add further weight to your CV.
- Become informed on all aspects of the company. Check the public information available.
- Examine the job description thoroughly; know what skills are needed and ensure you have real examples to demonstrate this.
- Be aware of first impressions and etiquette at interview – shake theirr hand, introduce yourself and mantain eye contact.
- Always, even under pressure, SMILE!
- Keep the conversation going, prepare, prepare, prepare. You don’t want the interview to end too early. Have lot of things to talk about.
- At the end of the interview be sure to say ‘Thank you’.
- Learn from the interview experience, reflect on your responses, the preparation you did and always ask for feedback on how you can improve.
- Share your good and bad experiences with friends.
Another brochure I found talked about basic ettiquete when you interact with people with disabilities. This something I was completely unaware. This brochure from Cape Peninsula University of Technology(2) talks specifically about behaviors for each impairment and also have these six general advices:
- Put the person first, not the disability
- Whenever unsure about what to do ask the person first
- Speak directly to the person and not to the facilitator or sign language interpreter
- Don’t make decision for persons with disabilities about what they can or cannot do
- Include persons with disabilities in the decision making process on issues that affect them
- Always ask before offering help.
That was my “today I learnt” (and today I learned) highlight of that day and that week.
- (1) AHEAD, Association for Higher Education Access and Disability
- (2) Cape Peninsula University of Technology web page.Other info in Disability blogs in that site