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How do I prepare to get a job?

Here is a review of some of the steps that might be helpful in preparing for getting work.

  • Identify your own strengths and limitations as they apply to employment; you might do this with an Employment Specialist or someone you know very well.
  • Identify your own interests and ideal jobs, such as. location, hours, pay, work environment, benefits, etc.
  • Identify a range of “acceptable but not necessarily ideal” factors that are important to you, such as time spent in travel to work.  For example, your ideal job might be one bus ride away and a commuting time of 15 minutes.  But you may be willing to take two subways for up to 35 minutes for the right job.
  • Spend some time looking at the labor market forecasts for your area and your city or town.  This will help you to know the types of work that is growing and where the opportunities are now and in the near future.
  • Depending on the type of work you are interested in, explore possible free or inexpensive training that is being offered locally.  You might find, for example, courses through your local America’s Job Center, college Extension Program or Department of Labor.
  • Research the transportation options in your area including those that may go to the locations where jobs are more likely to be available.
  • Decide when, how and what you will disclose your disability, if at all. Disclosure of a disability at work means telling your employer, or someone at your job, about your disability.  People often do this as part of requesting what’s called “reasonable accommodations” under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which are adjustments to the job environment to create a “level playing field” for people with disabilities. The Job Accommodation Network can help you learn about accommodations and disability disclosure.  The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center provides links to articles on disability disclosure.  If you have an Employment Specialist or other vocational professional helping you, make a plan with that person about how you want to handle disclosure.
  • If you have or need benefits such as cash benefits and health insurance benefits, you may want to start to get correct information about how work impacts those benefits. If you get Social Security benefits such as SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), you can take advantage of certain rules called the Social Security Work Incentives (SSWI).  The SSWI are the rules that Social Security follows when you work, and serve as incentives to work while you still receive benefits. You can also find out about these rules on your own, or through a benefits specialist.  A Work Incentive and Planning Assistance benefits specialist can help you to understand what will happen with your benefits once you start earning money. Talk to a benefits specialist or other trained person before you begin your job search so you can get the most income possible and adequate health care benefits. Family and friends may only have part of the story – we recommend getting information from an expert who works with benefits every day if you want to know what will happen to your benefits when you go to work.

Develop a daily schedule of activities and designated times dedicated to your job preparation and job search. This daily routine will also help to prepare you for the routine you will have in the job itself.

Recommended sites for preparing for your job search:

  • For career exploration, O-Net Online provides career information across all industries.  Use O-Net to help clarify your values, identify preferences, explore career options, get to know specific kinds of jobs, and find out what jobs exist.  O-Net is offered by the Department of Labor and is an interactive website with much information to offer job-seekers and their support

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