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’s also plenty of resources and links to other great sites that will help you along the way.
Choosing a Career
There are thousands of different jobs out there and finding one that reflects your interests, skills and qualifications can be difficult. Below are some steps you can follow to help you identify a career that suits you.
8 steps to help you in choosing a career
Step 1: Assess yourself
Before you can choose the right career, you must learn about yourself. Your values, interests, attitudes and your personality type make some occupations a great fit for you and others completely inappropriate.
To do this, you can use skills assessment tools and career quizzes to gather information about yourself and occupations which may be suitable for you.
You can find a great career quiz on the Job Outlook website. Or, try googling “career quiz” to find plenty of others.
Unfortunately, the reality is that being blind or vision impaired does mean some careers just aren’t possible, however there are plenty that are and just because someone hasn’t done it before doesn’t mean it can’t be done – you might be the one to succeed!
If you find yourself interested in jobs that aren’t suitable it can be disappointing and frustrating. If your heart is really set on that job don’t automatically dismiss it, research it further using the steps outlined below and see if you can find ways to make it a reality for you, or perhaps you need to think outside the box; you may never be a bus driver but, could you work as a tour guide on a bus? Perhaps you had your heart set on being an electrician – maybe there are options for you to work in electrical engineering instead?
Perhaps you’ve been working for a while already and a change in your vision has meant you need to look for a new career. You will have developed many skills over the years and many of these will still be beneficial to you when transitioning into a new career. Make a list of the skills and strengths that you have that you may be able to use in other roles. If your last job was as a medical sales rep but you are no longer able to undertake the travel, you could focus on your strengths in sales and use these skills to find work in a role that doesn’t involve the travel.
Step 2: Make a list of occupations to explore
Once you’ve had a look at some career quizzes, make a list of the occupations they suggest may interest you.
Then, have a think about other occupations that interest you and add those to your list.
If you’re really stuck, check out Blind Citizen’s Australia’s list of occupations that have been undertaken by people who are blind or vision impaired.
Step 3: Explore occupations on your list
Go over your list and start looking into each occupation.
Research what qualifications or professional registrations you may need.
Are there opportunities in your area? If not, are you willing to relocate?
You can find information about different career types at:
- Seek career advice https://www.seek.com.au/career-advice/explore-careers
- Job Outlook https://joboutlook.gov.au/A-Z
- Skills Road Map https://www.skillsroad.com.au/
- My Future https://myfuture.edu.au/
Also, check out some current job advertisements – you may not be ready to apply just yet but it will give you a feel for what employers are looking for, the types of companies that employ people in this occupation and other details about the position.
If there is a career you’re interested in but you’re not sure it’s for you because of your vision, reach out to your peers and see if anyone else is working in that space and can offer you some insight. Try to articulate exactly what your concerns are and ask if anyone has any suggestions for managing them. It’s possible that someone else, in a completely different role, has experienced the same thing and may have some suggestions for you. A great place to start connecting with peers and discussing career choices is our An Eye to The Future Facebook community.
Remember that just because it hasn’t been done, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
Step 4: Create a ‘short list’
Once you’ve researched each career you can start to narrow down your list.
Consider what you’ve learnt about each job, does it still interest you? If not, remove it from your list.
Try to narrow your list down to no more than 5 options.
Step 5: Conduct Informational Interviews
Now is a good time to do some more ‘in-depth’ research.
If you know someone who is working in an occupation that’s on your list, see if you can contact them and ask them about what it’s really like. Let them know you’re considering it as a career choice and ask for some more details about what they do and how they got there.
You could also join in the discussion on An Eye to The Future’s Facebook community, you may find someone there who you can talk to about the occupation that interests you.
See if you can contact an organisation that employs people in the occupation and ask them about the role and what it involves.
Maybe consider doing some work experience to see if it’s right for you. Not For Profit organisations may be able to take you on as a volunteer, or you could approach an Employment Service Provider to see if they can help you set an Unpaid Work Experience Program. You may not be able to work in the exact role that you are interested in, however often times even just working for the same organisation will give you countless opportunities to observe what it’s like for someone to work in that role. It will also create an opportunity for you to increase your contacts and this may help when you’re ready to start applying for work.
You may be able to attend a Job Expo if there are any happening in your local area and speak to people there directly about the role. Lots of different organisations, including schools, universities and local councils run Job Expos so search online for one in your local area.
Step 6: Make your career choice
Finally, after doing all your research, you are probably ready to make your choice. Pick the occupation that you think will bring you the most satisfaction based on all the information you have gathered. Realise that you can change your mind in the future; people often change careers at least a couple of times in their working life.
Step 7: Identify your goals
Now it’s time to work out your goals so you can start working towards finding employment in your chosen career.
You might need to consider:
- Whether you have the qualifications, certificates, licences or other professional requirements to do the job; if not, one of your goals could be to work towards achieving them
- Whether you have the experience to do the job. If not, can you look at volunteer or Unpaid Work Experience Programs? Or, can you look at taking a more entry level position and work towards your preferred occupation?
- If there are positions in your local area, or do you need to relocate to find work in your chosen field?
- 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? If not, now is a great time to start working on these areas to make the transition to working as smooth as possible.
Step 8: Write a career action plan
Put together a career action plan, a written document that lays out all the steps you will have to take to reach your goals. Think of it as a roadmap that will take you from where you are now into your chosen career.
Write down all of your short- and long-term goals and the timeframe you’ve set for yourself to achieve them in.
Consider any barriers that may get in your way and strategies you could use to eliminate them.
It’s probably not wise to set a timeframe for actually commencing a job. Looking for work can be a long process with many competing factors. It is wise to set time frames for the tasks you need to complete but leave commencing work simply as the end objective.
Where else can I go for assistance to choose a career?
If you’re currently in Secondary or Tertiary education:
If you are studying at School, TAFE or University each institute will have a designated career advisor. This could be part of the disability supports or through a career transition team.
Contact your educational institute to discuss a referral to the most appropriate person.
- High School: Each school has a careers advisor that can meet and discuss your employment options and transitional plans.
Have a business idea and want to know more about starting your own business?
Check out BCA’s The Entrepreneurial Mindset project for a range of resources to support your decision to start your own business, including resources and links to get you started, a podcast series where we speak to successful business owners who are blind or vision impaired, including how they got started, what challenges they faced, and who and what helped them along the way, webinars on how you too can grow the right mindset for a successful business, and more.
A career planning and employment resource for people who are blind or vision impaired, an initiative of the World Blind Union.
This site allows you to review certain industries and jobs and the future growth potential. Link your skills to jobs and explore careers in demand where you live in Australia.
If you are planning a career change, Skills Match will help you find careers that will utilise your existing skills.
This site promotes career opportunities and pathways in traditional trades and emerging skills areas. The website provides stories appearing on SkillsOne TV and is continually updated with new stories and industry snap shots.
Face to Face Resources
Disability Employment Service (DES):
DES providers are funded by the Federal Government to support people to career plan, train, access work experience and paid employment. There is a focus on people being work ready and having some career ideas to transition into or change employment.
Register with a DES provider by visiting your local Centrelink Service Centre.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS):
If you require additional support with career planning, would like to try different workplaces, or need some additional training you can apply to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). If you are in high school or recently completed high school, you may be eligible for School Leaver Employment Support (SLES) funding.
If you are not eligible for this, you may be entitled to funding through the ‘Capacity Building – finding and keeping a job’.
You can then choose which service you would like to help you design your support to train and get ready for work.