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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Three Traits That Make Blind and Visually Impaired Job Seekers Stand Out

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I am amazed whenever I hear stories about fellow, blind and visually impaired individuals who are unstoppable. Personally, I know a few of them, and their accomplishments take my breath away.

Let me be more specific: it is their positivity, their work ethic, and their grit that I admire. Those traits seem to be drivers of success. By no means am I saying those are the only meaningful ones, but, in my opinion, blind and visually impaired job seekers with those traits can turn into valuable assets for any organization.

Just think for moment. Those of us who are blind or visually impaired learn a killer set of skills. In the course of developing those skills, our mindset develops as well. Where am I going with this?

If you are a hiring manager, let me give you some insight as to why I believe blind and visually impaired individuals can be great additions to your staff. If you are job seeker with vision loss, ask yourself if these qualities shine through in you.

Traits That Make Visually Impaired Job Seekers Stand Out

1. Positivity

Two female colleagues working with a laptop computer

Positivity is a common trait among those I notice in others who are blind or visually impaired. As I recall some stories from my peers, they believed things would get better if they persevered through their own adversity. Rather than brooding over the doom and gloom of vision loss, their positive attitude drove them onward.

Speaking from my own experience, it was very hard to finish college while losing my eyesight, but I managed to earn my degree. Positivity carried me through those dark days after the doctors diagnosed my eye disease. Lots of positive self-talk went on in my head. I kept telling myself I could graduate. If I pushed on through the adversity, then I would get through it.

I realized positive thinking comes from developing skills, smashing goals, and challenging one’s self constantly. That is why positive thinkers are critical to an organization’s success.

2. Work Ethic

Man in business suit adjusting his collar.

All managers look for signs of strong work ethic in their job candidates. It may be hard to grasp unless you have observed an individual in action though.

Again, those of us who are blind or visually impaired have, most likely, participated in and completed numerous types of training while attending college or working. Take, for example, braille skills, orientation and mobility skills, assistive technology skills, and training to use a dog guide. Developing these skills is intense. There is a lot to learn in a short amount of time. Without a strong work ethic, these skills are hard to acquire and difficult to maintain.

We take pride in our work like anybody else. We go above and beyond to show we can compete with our sighted peers. We do our very best and accept responsibility when things go wrong. Blind and visually impaired workers want to succeed on their own merit. A strong work ethic makes it possible and is one more reason to consider us as assets to your organization.

3. Grit

Silhouette of a mountain climber, at the summit, giving a thumbs-up.

If you are not familiar with the term "grit," read Shannon Carollo’s post "Don’t Quit, Develop Grit" to learn more. It makes me think of that old adage, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"

Sports develop grit. I competed in high school football, baseball, and track before my eyesight was ever an issue. Really, that is where I developed the grit to survive vision loss and all the subsequent adaptations and training to find success.

In order to live independently, we learn a host of new skills the average person has trouble comprehending. Skills that are tantamount to survival. It is the relentless pursuit of our goals that give our community its competitive advantage.

Gosh, there were many times I wanted to give up. I know lots of my peers had the same feeling. But, some people do not give up when things get tough or when things get easy. Blind and visually impaired people develop grit in an unconventional manner, but it is a valuable trait in the workforce. Hiring managers ought to take note of this trait and realize its significance when considering a job candidate.

As I mentioned earlier, these are not the only traits, but in stories from my peers, they are the traits that stand out the most.

If you are a hiring manager, I hope this gives you a little more insight. It is a challenge to live with blindness or low vision. However, people like this are out there looking to become a part of your organization.

If you are a blind or visually impaired job seeker, I challenge you to evaluate yourself. Do you have these traits? Perhaps you want to tell me about other traits that are just as important. Hit the comment button and let it rip!

Resources for Succeeding at Work

Building Positive Work Habits: The Perfect Worker

Employer Expectations Over Time

Communicating on the Job

Solving Problems at Work


Topics:
Employment
Low Vision
Personal Reflections
Planning for the Future
Social Skills
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