Most students expect to work after college graduation. However, your job search shouldn't begin when you graduate. Career planning and preparation should occur throughout your college studies.
It takes the average college graduate three to six months to secure employment after graduation. You need a career seeking strategy and a little experience to stand out.
As a future employee, a college student with a disability faces unique challenges. Like other students, you need to find a way to meet the specific qualifications of the desired job. You also need to demonstrate that you have transferable skills - in other words, skills you've acquired through education and previous work experiences that can transfer to a new employment situation.
How Can You Get Started?
To get started, use the CAREERS acronym:
C is for Careers.
Think about what interests you. Be imaginative, then narrow it down.
A is for Academics.
Determine which academic programs best suit your career goals.
R is for Research
Research careers that spark your interests, maximize your strengths, and minimize your weaknesses.
EE is for Experiential Education.
Practice job search skills. Apply for internships. Ask for informational interviews and try other work-based learning opportunities.
RS is for Relevant Skills.
Use on-the-job experience to learn practical "real world" skills. Apply what you've learned in school to the workplace. Test which accommodations work best for you.
- Career finder - a questionnaire that creates a list of jobs for you to explore based on your interests and skills.
- Career path - take a quiz to see what job may be right for you.
- Careers after college - take a career quiz and browse career profiles.
- Explore career options - learn about occupations, explore industries, consider options.
- ITCareerPaths - a site where you can learn what kinds of technology careers are in demand, what those careers are like, and how to contact employers who are looking for individuals with your set of skills.
- Assess yourself - identify your accomplishments and take assessments to find a career that uses your strengths.
- Gain skills - Identify your education and training needs - resources to help you identify the skills you need to meet your career goals.
- Skills search - find an occupation based on the skills you plan to learn in college.
- Tools and technology - learn about the tools and technology you may need to know how to use in your future occupation.
- Brain Track - research education requirements, pay range, and number of jobs available in careers of interest.
- Career videos - explore what it's like working in specific occupations.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook - learn about your prospective career, including training or education needed, expected earnings and job prospects, what the job entails, and possible working conditions.
- Research employers - compare and contrast specific companies.
- Federal Schedule A Hiring Authority Fact Sheet - tips for youth and young adults with disabilities interested in starting a career with the federal government.
- Finding and applying for jobs - learn job search methods, application techniques, and how to judge a job offer.
- High School/High Tech - opportunities for students with disabilities to explore careers in science, mathematics, and technology.
- It's Your Career (publication): Work-Based Learning Opportunities for College Students with Disabilities - read about different types of work experience you can gain before graduation.
- It's Your Career (video) - students with disabilities talk about work-based learning experiences and how to gain access to these opportunities.
- Monster college - career and job search advice, news, networking, internships, and jobs.
- Access to the Future (publication): Preparing College Students with Disabilities for Careers - tips on how to gain work-based skills.
- Access to the Future (video): Preparing Students with Disabilities for Careers - watch how services and programs can be made accessible.
- Job Accommodation Network - learn about workplace accommodations.
- Learn and Earn (publication): Tips for Teens - ideas on how you can gain work-based skills and how to develop a team for success.
- Learn and Earn (video): Tips for Teens - find out how other students with disabilities benefited from work-based experiences.