The first step to filling out a great job application is to just take your time. You aren’t under any sort of time pressure to get this completed, so going through it slowly and answering questions accurately can take some of the stress out of this. If it takes a few days, that’s completely fine; no one is timing you on this. Also, if you need help having things read to you, find someone that you trust to do this. There are also software programs and apps out there that will do this, if you have access to these. Either of these things are great for people with visual impairment or a learning disability.
Thanks to computers, if you have a physical disability and leaving the house is difficult, you can access almost everything you will need online. Most companies, even smaller ones, now have their application process completely automated. If you do need a paper copy of one, having a friend or family member pick one up for you could be helpful to you. You can also go into the location and grab one, but do know that other options exist if this is not realistic.
Your goal with the application process is to show a prospective employer who you are and what you are capable of. You want them to hire (or not hire) you for your skills, and not for any reasons pertaining to your disability. They are meant to get your foot in the door, not paint a biased picture of what your disability might imply. You don’t want it to work against you for any reason. Some experts believe that unnecessarily revealing that you have a disability will hinder your chances of getting an interview, and unfortunately, they might be right. Even if it’s not legal for an employer to refuse to interview you because of a disability, sometimes the knowledge of this can unknowingly shape their opinion.
However, it is also important to show that you are a team player. If you’re disability will not impact your job performance, the there’s no need to reveal it. But if it will, being cooperative right from the start can actually be to your advantage. There is usually a checkbox for this right on the application. From here, you and your employer can be a team to figure out what the best way for each of you to help each other might be. Also, being knowledgeable of your disability and how to overcome it can be a big advantage. For example, if you know that a certain piece of special equipment can help with things, pointing this out shows that you are a team player and willing to cooperate as much as possible. This goes a long way for your chances of getting hired.
Here are some key things to keep in mind. The unemployment rate for those with disabilities is often twice as high as it is for those without disabilities. This number varies, but a recent estimate placed the number of disabled people that were unemployed at 15 percent. The more education that has been obtained, the more likely you are to find a job, even with a disability. Finally, because the resume is often the first thing that they see of you, having a great resume will help you to land more interviews, and thus have a higher chance of getting a job. If you need small amounts of help to have an interview, your prospective employer is required to do this for you.
It is important to note that an employer does not need to make accommodations to interview or hire you if it would provide an undue hardship for them. It is best to disclose this information very generally right on your application, but you do not legally need to provide any details. Just saying that you will need reasonable accommodations is the best approach. After a job offer, your employer may ask you more specific questions in order to keep you safe, but they are legally prohibited from asking questions like these before you are hired.