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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Need Advice and Input Concerning Call Center Jobs

Hello, everyone.

Before discussing the topic at hand, I want to give a brief background concerning my visual condition. My visual condition is called microphthalmia, which basically means "small eyes". My left eye is unusable, and I have a visual acuity of 20/2000 in my right eye. I am very proficient with screen readers (NVDA and JAWS) and screen magnifiers (Compiz eZoom and GNOME Magnifier in Linux, ZoomText and MAGIc in Windows).

An individual from my church (who works as a Marketing Director) approached me after service this afternoon and told me that his company is hiring. His company runs a call center which conducts telemarketing and customer service work. The telemarketing portion of the company has a Business-to-Business (B2B) focus. The customer service workings of the company range from technical support to appointment setting.

I exceed the qualifications for potential employees, but I am kind of nervous about applying. It seems that the company is very well known, so the company's reputation is not what concerns me. What concerns me is that I have been actively looking for work for twelve years (ever since I turned sixteen). I am now twenty-eight and still unemployed. I have an A.S. degree in Computer Information Systems as well as some other credentials. Any potential possibility of employment is exciting to me, but I guess I am just afraid of failing. I am not going to let this fear stop me from applying for the job. I feel that I could perform well at this company. The gentleman who talked with me told me that they already have one employee who has a visual disability, so this knowledge is encouraging to me.

What I want to ask is this: Is there anyone here who currently works in or who has worked in this field? If so, would you be willing to share your experiences with me?

My sincere gratitude goes to anyone who can offer constructive advice and input on this topic.

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Re: Need Advice and Input Concerning Call Center Jobs



Hi, it sounds like a fantastic opportunity. Being afraid of failure is very common and not only visually impaired related. Applying for a job is always tough but it's better to try than not bother at all. I used to work for a European non profit organisation and helped people with visual impairment to find a suitable position. I helped diverse people going from call center agents to tax consultants to hand labourers. It's great that there has been a precedent created by the other person who's visually impaired which means the organisation is open to it. It will also be easier for you to integrate with the team and your colleagues.
The wise thing to do with applying is: have a fantastic resume and cover letter, no typos or anything because you want to prove you are excellent with the computer, make your disability discussable. Be honest about what your disability entails and how it will affect your work. On the other hand, stress what you can bring to the table. Loyal employee, hardworking, less likely to call in sick than others and extremely motivated. Propose a free trial morning or day just to reassure your future employer you're willing to prove yourself for a day for free. Be open about your disability but make sure you stress how independent you are. Practice the road and public transport a couple of times to the organisation to be relaxed on your way to the interview. It's all about planning and being as relaxed as possible.


Re: Need Advice and Input Concerning Call Center Jobs



Hello,

This might a bit late (and also, I am sighted), but I did work in an inbound call center for about six months with a different disability.
If you have any general questions, feel free to ask.

Best of luck to you!


Re: Need Advice and Input Concerning Call Center Jobs



Hello,

I work within the AFB's CareerConnect program, I have worked with a number of persons who work in call centers or have worked in them. Some had positive experiences and some had not so positive. I think you are right, if a persons with vision loss already works there, this is a great sign.

The largest barrier I have seen for persons at call centers is in accessibility with screen readers, but I know many that have not faced this issue. Most low vision persons do not face much of an issue.

The persons I know who have or do work in these centers use a variety of equipment. Some use a few abacus to record credit card numbers, as most don't allow them type them into another area. This allows them to take down the number and then erase it. Ohters don't even have this issue. It all depends on the purpose of the call center.

Many find the work very accessible, interacting with people everyday. I would tell you it depends on the system.

If you would like to contact persons who are blind or visually impaired that work in this field. You can register for free with CareerConnect and do a mentor search. Contact mentors who are already doing this work. CareerConnect is free, but you have to register to take advantage of this great resource. Check out CareerConnect at www.afb.org/cc.

I think this will be a great experience. If you want tips and advice on the interview, you can also register for the free online course, Job Seeker's Toolkit within CareerConnect. If you are a CC user already, you can go into your profile and check the box for taking the employment course, Job Seeker's Toolkit. You will find useful lessons for your situation in Modules 3 and 4. Check it out today!

Sincerely,
Joe S.
AFB Staff


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