The job and internship search is an overwhelming process for any student. The Career Connections Center recognizes that students with visible or non-visible disabilities may have additional challenges as it relates to the job search process. Our team is dedicated to supporting students with disabilities through their career exploration and job transition process.

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Questions to Reflect On

There are common questions that may come to mind as you begin interviewing for internship and full-time employment:

What are reasonable accommodations?

The US Department of Justice defines a reasonable adjustment as, “a modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process of perform essential job functions. “ So what does this mean? This means that if you have a visible or non-visible disability that a potential employer is required by law to provide you with the necessary reasonable accommodations.

Should I or Shouldn’t I Disclose my Disability to an Employer?

Deciding when and if you should disclose your disability to an employer is a personal decision. If you will need accommodations before you are hired, such as a sign-language interpreter or access to a wheelchair accessible ramp, it may be beneficial to express your needs to a potential employer during the pre-interview stage. However, if your disability is not visible and it will not effect you during the interview process you may want to wait until you are formally offered a position to disclose your disability to an employer. You also have the option of not disclosing you disability at all during the entire interview process.

Are there any scenarios where you would highly suggest that I disclose my disability?    

Yes, if you are applying for a job where the employer is specifically looking to hire employees with visible or non-visible disabilities it would be beneficial to mention your disability in a cover letter, resume, or initial screening interview. However, when you refer to your disability, make sure that you address it with positive regard and include insight on how you have coped with your disability in the past and used it to make a positive difference.

For example, “I have worked as a substitute school teacher with the Alachua County School system for the past two summers. I have a learning disability, so I am always cognizant of the different ways that students learn. I often write things on the board, provide students with written examples and incorporate interactive activities into my learning plan to make sure that I am meeting each of my students learning needs.”

Know Your Rights:

As a student with a visible or non-visible disability, you may have concerns about discrimination that could occur at your workplace. Many companies have diversity statements or non-discrimination policies to protect you as an employee. However, during the interview process you may be unsure of what questions are and aren’t appropriate as it relates to your disability. Below are a list of common questions that are against the law for an employer to ask during an interview:

  1. Do you have a non-visible disability?
  2. Are you color-blind?
  3. How long have you had a disability?
  4. Do you take prescription drugs that help with a visible or non-visible disability?
  5. Have you ever seen a psychiatrist?
  6. Have you ever participated in group or individual counseling as it relates to complications associated with your disability?
  7. Were you honorably discharged from the armed forces?
  8. What special accommodations have you needed in the past in academic and professional settings?

If you encounter discrimination in the workplace and you need additional support, you should schedule a career planning appointment in the Career Connections Center. A career planner can help you navigate and reflect on your experiences, identify allies, and develop an action plan.

What personalized resources does the Career Connections Center offer for students with visible or non-visible disabilities?

The center provides students with an opportunity to schedule 1:1 career planning appointments. Through 1:1 career planning appointments, students can receive 1:1 help and feedback as they relate to the following services and topics:

  1. Resume and Cover Letter Review
  2. CV Review
  3. Customized Mock Interviews
  4. LinkedIn Profile Development
  5. Graduate School Exploration and Preparation
  6. Career or Major Exploration
  7. Customized Career-Related Workshops for Student Organizations

The center also will work with your student organization to develop a customized career-related workshop!  All that you need to do is submit the request at least 3 weeks in advance on our online form or contact Nadene Reynolds at 352-273-2307 or NReynolds@ufsa.ufl.edu to schedule a time to meet to discuss outreach workshop options.

What are some national organizations that support students with disabilities during the job and internship search?

There are many organizations who are devoted to supporting student with disabilities. Below is a list of popular resources:

  1. usbln.org
  2. enableamerica.org
  3. disability.gov
  4. abilityjobs-com

Likewise, don’t forget to connect to local and state organizations as well. Some examples of support groups can be found below: 

  1. abletrust.org
  2. floridajobs.org

Partnering for Student Success: Career Connections Center & Disability Resource Center:

We work closely with the Disability Resource Center to support students with disabilities at the University of Florida. The Career Connections Center has facilitated customized outreach presentation, facilitated drop-in hours in the DRC, and worked with them to facilitate the Workforce Readiness Program.  Connect with the DRC to learn more about their services.

Our Partners

  • Fisher Investments
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  • Southwestern Advantage logo
  • Infotech
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