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How to Build a Business Career When you Manage a Disability
The Americans with Disabilities Act makes it illegal for any employer to discriminate against someone on the basis of a disability. As a result, your disability doesn’t stand in the way of your ability to get a good-paying job in business. Terena Scott shares the following steps that can help you get your career off the ground.
Start with Education
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics advises that a bachelor’s degree in business is required for most business jobs, and a master of business administration (MBA) degree can increase your chances of securing an entry-level position with a high rate of pay. Online MBA programs provide flexible scheduling and pacing that benefit individuals with disabilities who may require adaptations such as more time to complete assignments. Plus, online programs allow you to continue to work and care for your family while earning your degree. You can choose to pursue one of many specializations, including:
- Corporate finance
- Strategic planning
Recipients of MBA degrees can seek employment for jobs with numerous titles, including general manager, business administration director, and operations director.
Land an Internship
You’ll face a lot of competition for top jobs in business. Having internship experience on your resume can set you apart from other applicants, and you may even find opportunities for future employment at the sponsoring organization. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AADP) offers a summer internship program for disabled high school graduates, undergraduates, and graduate students. Through the program, you can land an impressive internship with a congressional office, federal agency, nonprofit organization, or for-profit company.
Network while on Campus
Networking isn’t just important once you enter the business world. Building relationships with faculty and fellow students while on campus gives you connections that can lead to work opportunities in the future. Some colleges and universities are home to chapters of nationwide mentoring and networking organizations for people with disabilities.
Your cover letter and your resume are the first impression you give to a hiring manager. If either looks haphazardly put together, the likelihood of you hearing back is small. While you may not have a lot of experience, put your best foot forward through a well-prepared cover letter and a succinct resume describing any experience or skills. Also, set up a LinkedIn page, and upload your resume and a photo. Avoid mistakes like using an old photo, lying about your experience, leaving your profile incomplete or being inactive. Employers pick up on this, and it can hurt your chances of landing a job.
Know Your Rights in an Interview
Employers aren’t permitted to ask if you’re disabled or inquire about the severity or nature of your disability. Even if your disability is obvious, you don’t have to discuss it; however, you may choose to. The Job Accommodation Networkrecommends bringing any assistive technology you rely on to the interview.
Use Disability Resources to Your Advantage
In addition to researching and applying for positions on your own, you can take advantage of disability employment resources during your job search. Your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation agency and your closest American Job Center office may be able to assist you with job placement or provide you with a list of openings at companies that are striving to increase diversity and eager to hire individuals with disabilities.
Get on the Path to a Career in Business Today
Now that you know the six steps for launching your career in business, you’re ready to take action. Start by researching online degree programs and completing applications as you continue your journey toward the career of your dreams.
Sharon Wagner uses her site Senior Friendly to offer advice geared specifically toward seniors to help them make healthier choices and enjoy their golden years