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Are You "Home for the Holidays"? Read These Success Stories of Employees Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Santa Claus checking his list

Take advantage of this season’s respite from school and work, and dare to dive into career exploration. Reflect on your interests, values, and skill sets; recognize there is hardly a “perfect job”, but there are jobs that work with your natural proficiencies and that allow you to polish skills you enjoy polishing.

Next, peruse these 15 jobs and ask yourself if any of your interests, values, and skill sets align. If so, click on the job title to read a success story or interview of an individual who is blind or visually impaired working in the field.

Without further ado:

  1. Musician: Does music move you and you want to move others with your musical abilities? Read this mentor’s experience as a singer, songwriter, and musician.

  2. Patent Attorney: Does vetting inventions and protecting inventors sound fascinating? Read this mentor’s journey that began with inventing and progressed into working as a patent attorney for Google.

  3. Airline Reservations Sales Representative: Do you enjoy conversing with others and helping them coordinate plans? Read how this mentor uses assistive technology to excel in her job with Delta Airlines.

  4. Chef: Do you enjoy cooking and working in a fast-paced environment? Read this mentor’s interview regarding her experience as a visually impaired chef.

  5. Machinist: Have you explored the world of metal work? Read this story to learn how one of AFB CareerConnect's mentors makes it work as an individual who is blind or visually impaired.

  6. Financial Analyst: Read how this mentor succeeds in work and as a United States Paralympian. He scores in the workplace and on the goalball court.

  7. Interior Designer: Are you creative and looking to set homes, offices, and spaces apart from the rest? Read how this mentor designs and shows off the final product.

  8. Audio Engineer or Producer: Are you apt to edit audio pieces? With a lot of organization, talent, and technology skills, this mentor creates the right track.

  9. Middle School Teacher: Are you interested in managing a classroom and shaping young minds? This mentor educates our future in the classroom.

  10. Rehabilitation Research Engineer: Are you interested in statistics and making a difference? This mentor is researching the trends and the studies that will help others.

  11. Legislative Liaison: Do you stay up to date on the latest policies? This mentor stays apprised of the latest policies that impact her agency.

  12. Documentary Filmmaker, Journalist, and Writer: Are you creative, organized, and a skilled writer? This mentor and filmmaker shines a light on important subjects on film and in print.

  13. Nurse: Are you detail oriented and interested in healthcare? This field offers the chance to interact with patients, practice medicine, and make a difference. Nursing is not all measuring an individual's blood pressure and surgery. Find out more from this piece.

  14. Cancer Genomics Researcher, Biomedical Physicist: Do you excel in the sciences and mathematics? This researcher is mapping the next medical discovery related to cancer. Read how this mentor succeeded in the biomedical field.

  15. Technology Associate: Are you into the latest technology and the programming behind it? This mentor is making a difference in the accessibility of mainstream and assistive products, websites, and the latest apps.

We highlighted 15 of our hundred-plus Our Stories profiles and other pieces about successful mentors and individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Go back and check out the rest of the stories and navigate by our cluster categories to find so many more. Take the time to learn from the path that each mentor traveled to find success and create their own employment story.

Make sure you stay up to date with our film-score holiday posts. Don't miss the tips or advice that will lead to your next job. You can track the CareerConnect Blog to make sure you catch each post as it is released.

Resources for Career Exploration

Tips for Exploring Careers

Career Exploration Part 1, The Research Sequence

Career Exploration Part 2, Reaching Out to Others


Topics:
Employment
Planning for the Future

It's a Wonderful Job Interview: Tips for Job Seekers with Visual Impairments

Snowflakes of different sizes on a red background

Job seekers, I hope this season you are not only enjoying the magic of the holidays (including watching the classic It’s a Wonderful Life!), but you are also networking, applying for a handful of jobs, and prepping for future job interviews.

When it comes to job interview preparation, my hope is that you consider how to make every moment of the interview count to your advantage. From the confidence and friendliness you exude upon entering the room, to the way you engage the group, to the crafting of your responses, each second can indeed allow you to shine.

Showcase Your Potential

Here are five pointers to making each moment of the interview be one that showcases your potential:

  • Learn effective story-telling techniques. When asked how you will effectively [fill in the blank with a career-specific task], you will want to capture your audience and demonstrate your strengths by telling a story (a good story) of how you excelled in the past. Invest the time now to learn the art of storytelling! Each story should be relevant to your audience, easy to follow, honest, engaging, include an element of surprise, and be detailed.

I was once told by my supervisor why I was chosen for a teaching position over another well qualified teacher: She remembered (and recited back right then, one year later) a detailed and tender story I recalled at my interview of teaching a young, red haired boy to independently eat after many were convinced it was impossible. She said it affected her and she wanted me on board after being convinced of my tenacity.

Now I didn’t know the specific questions I would be asked at that interview, but I did have a handful of influential stories ready to share; that’s a must, as is intentionally learning how to tell a memorable story.

I recommend reading Storytelling: The Secret Weapon to Wow a Hiring Manager and 9 Tips for Better Storytelling.

  • Seek common ground. From mirroring the interview panel’s enthusiasm and tone, to researching the goals of the company and acknowledging how they align with yours, to making casual conversation and identifying a mutual hobby or observation with the interview panel, consider every aspect of communication from the panel as a bid for agreement. Accept the bids and help the team realize you are on the same page and are practically already their partner.

  • Boldly declare what sets you apart. No question, you want common ground with your interview panel, but this doesn’t mean you want to imply “I’m exactly like you!”. You will want to define your own unique strengths and skill sets. I guarantee you, you have unique qualities and experiences and skills that can help any organization grow; know what they are in relation to the interviewing company and boldly proclaim them. Your goal here is, “It’s obvious we’ll get along great and be unified, and you’ll want me here to enhance the team.”

  • Practice your “I don’t know” answer. As much as we want to prepare for every potential interview question, we also want to prepare an answer if we’re stumped or get a little stage fright. For starters, rehearse saying something like, “Good question; I don’t know the answer, but I’ll get back to you.” Write the team an e-mail when you have a good response. If applicable, it’s also a good idea to let the team know you are knowledgeable on resources to find the answer. For example, “Ah, good question. I’m going to look through the [insert professional document] or talk with the [insert professional organization] and get back with you.” Remember, if you don’t know an answer to a rather obscure question, don’t worry at all. It’s the perfect opportunity to follow up.

  • Set the panel at ease. In a perfect world, all would understand people with visual impairments are normal people with hindered sight, diverse, and capable. This is not a perfect world—I hate to admit. Your job is to set the panel at ease if your visual impairment is obvious. You’ll want to spend a brief minute or two describing what you see, what accommodations you use, and sharing (through engaging stories of course!) how you’ve been successful in the past. Again, seeking common ground on mutual interests and hobbies is a great strategy for letting the panel know you are just a regular guy or gal with strengths that will benefit the organization.

To summarize, address the “elephant in the room” (an obvious visual impairment) briefly and move on to what you have in common and how you will bring a new skill set to the organization. To be memorable, show and tell your strengths with your excellent story telling skills.

Resources for Your Job Interview

Interview Preparation: Common Interview Questions

Interviewing Tips

Prepared for My Job Interview: A Mildly-Awkward Poem Filled with Resources for Job Candidates Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired


Topics:
Employment
Planning for the Future

CareerConnect at the Movies: Employment Advice Adapted from Film for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Pine tree made of filmstrip with stars on a blue background

If you're looking for the perfect mix of holiday festivities and practical career-related advice, you've come to the right place. Over the years, we have celebrated the holiday season by providing you with the job search advice and career resource skills you need to land your next job. And this year is no different!

From the creators that brought you "The Twelve Days of CareerConnect" and "AFB's Holiday Hits", we are proud to present "CareerConnect at the Movies"!

Over the next three weeks, we will be sharing the career-related advice we've learned from beloved characters in popular holiday movies. We will provide you with our best interview tips, ways to advance in your career, how to persevere on your path to employment, and so much more!

Whether you're transitioning into the workforce for the first time, switching careers, or trying to land that promotion, it is our wish that these tips and tricks will help you find gainful employment in the New Year. So grab some popcorn and pull up a seat, we've got something special coming your way!

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

CareerConnect presents...

"It's A Wonderful Job Interview"

"The [Polar] Express to Workplace Success"

And Many More!

Can't wait until tomorrow? Check out last year's "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Step Up Your Job Search: Advice for Job Seekers of All Ages with Vision Loss."


CareerConnect at the Movies

It's a Wonderful Job Interview: Tips for Job Seekers with Visual Impairments

Are You "Home for the Holidays"? Read These Success Stories of Employees Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired


Topics:
Employment
Low Vision
Planning for the Future
Transition

Questions to Ask a Mentor Who Is Also Blind or Visually Impaired

Two men, one older and one younger, work together at a desk.

If you could sit down for an hour with any individual who is blind or visually impaired and successfully employed, to ask any career-related mentor advice…I wonder who you’d choose to glean from, and I wonder what questions you would ask.

Topics may include his/her education, ongoing training, challenges, skill sets, accommodations, mentorship, transportation, the hiring process, networking, setbacks, disappointments, goals, and both positive and negative experiences.

I suppose if I could sit down with an individual who is blind for mentor advice, I would engage one of the 113 teachers in the CareerConnect mentor database, as I am also a teacher. I’d ask about his/her teacher training and if he felt prepared for a classroom before his first career job; I’d ask about his early teaching experiences and his current ones and what situations developed him into a more skilled teacher; I’d ask about must-have ongoing trainings; I’d ask about must-have accommodations; I’d ask for his career goals; and I’d ask for any career advice he wishes he would have had at the beginning of his career.

Take a few minutes or even a few days and reflect on information you’d appreciate learning from a mentor. The way I see it, you may as well avoid learning "the hard way" and learn by asking.

Now, if you have a moment, let us know who you’d like to attain career-advice from, and what questions you’d like to ask. Write your responses in the comment section! Your responses will inspire individuals to seek mentor advice and will inspire my future blog topics!

Next, when you’re ready to contact a mentor who is blind or visually impaired, read Tips on Contacting a Mentor to help gather questions and then conduct a mentor search on AFB CareerConnect's site.

Ask away. Glean. Grow. Then complete the cycle by becoming a CareerConnect mentor yourself.

All About Mentoring

The CareerConnect Mentor Program

Find a Mentor

The Effect of Career Mentoring on Employment Outcomes for College Students Who Are Legally Blind

Mentoring Enhances Meaningful Outcomes in Career Education and Exploration for Those with Disabilities


Topics:
Employment
Low Vision
Social Skills

I Want Your Input: What Challenges to Career Advancement Do Employees with Visual Impairments Encounter?

Young man with glasses sitting and smiling at camera

Imagine we’re all at a vintage style diner, enjoying lunch and a conversation about folks who are blind or visually impaired in the workforce. [You wouldn’t be here, reading, if this wasn’t an important matter to you.]

Heads turn toward you, mine included, and you answer the question, "What challenges do young employees with visual impairments encounter in maintaining jobs and advancing in careers?"

What is your response?

Please take a minute to write in the comment section. The greater the number of responses, the more complete picture we’ll have of issues that face our population.

I am eager to hear from you!


Topic:
Employment