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Choosing a Career

Looking for work, whether it’s your first job or a career change, can be challenging. Here, you’ll find information about the different aspects of looking for work – from identifying a suitable career, to applying for your dream job. There are also plenty of resources and links to other great sites that will help you along the way.

Choosing a Career 

The key to a successful career is to find a job that reflects your interests, skills and qualifications.  

Being blind or vision impaired does pose some limitations for a small handful of jobs, however, understanding those limitations, and alternative solutions, will help you avoid disappointment and frustration in your career choice.  For example, you may never be a bus driver but, what about working as a tour guide on a bus? 

It’s worth remembering that your vision might change over time which might necessitate exploring alternative career options at different stages of your working life.  Thankfully skills and knowledge are transferrable *across various settings and roles throughout your career. 

For example, your last job was as a medical sales rep but you are no longer able to undertake the travel. You do, however, know a lot about medical equipment and sales, both of which are equally useful in an office-based role.  

So, wherever you are along your career path, the following tips can assist you with evaluating your options. 

Step 1: Assess yourself 

Learning about yourself, your values, interests, attitudes and your personality type is a great way to help you identify what occupations are a good fit for you.  

Skills assessment tools and career quizzes will help you to gather information about who you are, and what you need to produce your best work.  Things like: 

  • Are you a lone ranger or a collaborator?  Or a combination of both? 
  • Are you practical or do you prefer to work with ideas? 
  • Do you like being busy with lots going on or prefer to focus on single tasks? 
  • Do you get more satisfaction from working with people or processes? 
  • Are you best communicating one-on-one or with groups? 

Step 2: Explore occupations 

Many of the career quiz results provide suggestions for roles that might interest you.  Start a list of the occupation suggestions that take your fancy and add your own ideas.   

The list of occupations undertaken by people who are blind or vision impaired, demonstrates the range and diversity of what is possible.  Try not to second-guess yourself at this stage.  The sky is the limit. 

Step 3: Research the occupations on your list 

Find out as much as you can about each occupation you have added to your list.  You might like to know: 

  • What qualifications or professional registrations do you need? 
  • Are there opportunities in your area? If not, are you willing to relocate? 
  • What companies and organisations offer the types of roles you are looking for? 
  • Have other people who are blind or vision impaired worked in your area of interest? 

Step 4: Short list 

Consider what you’ve learnt about each job.  Try to narrow your list down to no more than 5 options.  For each, ask yourself whether it still looks interesting or whether you can see yourself in the role.  If not scratch it from your list. 

Step 5: Conduct Informational Interviews 

You now have a shortlist with the most suitable job options on paper.  But what is it really like working in those roles?  It’s time to gather some first hand information by connecting with people and organisations who are willing to give you advice and insight about the fun stuff as well as the challenges of the role. 

Ways to find connections include: 

  • Ask your friends and family if they know anyone who is already working in your area of interest and whether they would mind passing on their contact details so you can set up a meeting with them. 
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities give you a front row seat to assess whether the role is right for you.  Consider contacting organisations of interest about what opportunities are available, or seek assistance through a job search agency to help you set something up.  
  • Look up local job expos run by schools, universities and councils. 

Step 6: Make your career choice 

It’s now down to one!  Based on all your research and the information you have gathered, which occupation do you think will bring you the most satisfaction?   

Step 7: Identify your goals 

Your goals will help you move towards finding employment in your chosen career.  Think about your goals as milestones along the way, or barriers that you need to overcome. 

Here are some considerations to get you started: 

  • Do you have the required qualifications, certificates, licences or other professional requirements to do the job?  
  • Does your work experience match the skills needed for the job? 
  • Do you need to develop any other skills that will enable you to succeed at work?  
  • Are you confident in your Orientation and Mobility? Do you know which Assistive Technology works for you, and how to use it? 

In answering these questions you may identify areas for growth, take a step back and consider how you can obtain the relevant qualifications, skills and experience.  

Step 8: Write a career action plan 

A career action plan is where you lay out the steps you need to take to reach each goal.  Sort your goals into short- and long-term and add the timeframes you would like to achieve them in.  You’ll end up with a road map leading you to your chosen career.

It is important to consider what roles can support you to network and gain industry experience towards the goal. For example, if your goal is to become the CEO of a technology company, the steps along the way might be seeking entry-level roles in technology companies to get experience and start to build your network and support you whilst you complete relevant education opportunities in business and/or technology. As your skills, network and confidence grow, apply and expand into more senior roles towards the goal of CEO.  

Remember that looking for work can be a long process with many competing factors and your goals and timelines may change as you go along.