Job Exploration for Blind Adolescents
To choose the right career, your child will need to start with an honest look at his interests, abilities, values, skills, and limitations. Here are some ways you can help:
- Encourage your child to think about, even write out, the things that interest him most.
- Provide kind but honest feedback on the strengths and weaknesses you observe and encourage him to seek such feedback from other adults in his life.
- Encourage your child to recognize both his soft skills (transferrable skills that make one a good worker, such as being organized, timely, friendly, loyal, or persuasive) and hard skills (abilities one is paid to perform, such as medical coding, foreign languages, or musical skill).
- Help him articulate what he believes is most important about work. Does he value climbing the corporate ladder? Doing something that benefits others? Working from home? Working fewer days with greater hours per day (to decrease time spent commuting)
- Work with your child to explore resources such as career clusters and career interest areas. Review the job descriptions and discuss pros and cons of each career interest.
- Help your child understand the notion of a job market, where there may be too many or too few jobs available in a given field. Where are the jobs available in a given field? Would public transportation be available? Would he have to move to another area?
- Point him toward researching the process of training for careers that catch his interest. This information can help you both develop an action plan with steps he can take to prepare for the career. These steps are described in detail in CareerConnect’s lesson series, “Journey to a Successful Work Experience.”
- Work with your child to locate a mentor who is visually impaired, working in his career field of interest. Such a person can answer questions and describe her own experience to your child and perhaps even refer your child to helpful people in the industry.
- Encourage your teenager to volunteer as a way to learn more about a given career field. Helpful resources include “Work-Related Benefits of Volunteering” and “Finding a Volunteer Position.”
- Support your child in finding a part-time job, if possible, in an area of career interest. It may even be possible to turn a volunteer job into paid work.
For more information on the process of your child determining a suitable career, read the Explore Careers section of CareerConnect. Additionally, your teenager can take the free, self-paced, online course “The Job Seeker’s Toolkit” that covers self-awareness, career exploration tools, the preliminary employment process, the interview, and maintaining employment.