Guest post from Patrick Young, editor of AbleUSA.
Technology can be incredibly useful in advancing your career, whether you’re job hunting, seeking a promotion, or trying to start your own business. The ability to organize and manage your work from your pocket is invaluable, especially when you have a disability which may limit your ability to get around.
Although most of us know that tech has plenty of assets to offer, we don’t always take advantage of them. By using the tools at your disposal, however, you can give yourself a substantial career boost.
A Changing Market
Technology has changed the job market. According to the Pew Research Center, 81% of Americans own a smartphone. This makes it more important than ever to keep up in our ever-connected world. A smartphone allows you to connect with clients, keep your eye on job postings, check email, and stay on top of your career no matter where you are. Of course, you’ll need an unlimited data plan for these tasks, so research various phone service plans and upgrade, if necessary, to avoid racking up your phone bills with data overages. Those who find ways to make the most of their devices will rise above the pack.
The Business of You
Another way technology has changed the job market is by making it easier than ever to get work as a contractor. This is an excellent option for many, especially those who don’t thrive best in an office environment. Freelance and contract jobs offered by online staffing firms like Upwork allow you to do your job anywhere that works for you. They also give you the freedom to take on as much or as little as you want. This is often a perfect lifestyle fit for people with disabilities: The flexibility allows you to make the most of your ideal workspace, as well as take on a fluctuating workload to match energy levels and potentially busy schedules.
Contract workers can use tech to connect with new clients, keep track of current projects, and submit and file invoices. Task management apps such as Omnifocus and Todoist can be especially helpful for freelancers. These allow you to organize your work so you can get things done on time.
Technology has radically altered the workplace for people with disabilities. In the past, even the most well-meaning companies may have had limited knowledge of how to make workspaces more accessible. Now, however, workplaces and workers alike can easily connect to accessibility services.
For example, the Internet has improved access to support systems such as those offered here at CSD Works. This service provides an instant connection to accessible workspaces, as well as brings workplace assessments, deaf-friendly training, and on-site ASL classes or custom training videos to current companies.
Some Useful Apps
There are several apps that people with disabilities can use to ease their job search or boost their career. Evernote, for example, allows you to organize and sync notes between devices. If you’re preparing for a job interview, you can prepare answers to common interview questions at home, then review your notes in the lobby before the interview starts.
Transcription apps take live speech and turn it into readable text. The transcription usually isn’t perfect, but it’s still useful for those with difficulty hearing or other auditory processing problems. On the flipside, flashcard apps such as Sorenson Buzzcards can facilitate quick communication between non-verbal individuals and clerks, coworkers, and others without knowledge of ASL.
Finally, mental wellness and mindfulness apps may be a useful resource for those looking to further their career. These apps allow you to track your mood and recognize patterns that may harm or improve your mental health. Mindfulness apps (including the deaf- and HOH-friendly app, “The Breathing App”) allow you to practice daily meditation, which improves both emotional and physical wellness. By putting time into improving and maintaining your mental health, you can prevent burnout and increase creativity. This will make you better at your job and more satisfied with the work you do.
Technology is a powerful tool for individuals with disabilities when it comes to moving your career forward. From simplifying tasks to providing resources, tech offers many tools that can push you toward success. Make the most of these tools, and watch your career shine.
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