Profile of an Alumni

Career Services




Profile of an Alumni

Question & Answer with Amy, Transition Coordinator
   - B.Ed. in Adult Education '08
   - B.A. in Communications/Business '06
  1. How long did you spend job searching for your first job out of university?
  2. What information did you look for when researching and applying to companies (i.e. did you target Equal Opportunity Employers)?
  3. Did you disclose your disability? At what stage? What was the outcome?
  4. Do you require accommodations to do your job? How did your employer handle this?
  5. What information do you know now that you wish you had known then?
  6. Any other advice for graduating student's who have a disability?
 
Q:  How long did you spend job searching for your first job out of university?
I maintained positive relationships during my undergraduate studies and was offered an opportunity immediately upon graduation. I believe networking is the key to any job search.
 
Q:  What information did you look for when researching and applying to companies (i.e. did you target Equal Opportunity Employers)?
I looked for employers that were well-known in the field, such as industry leaders and companies with credibility. I researched beyond standard job search websites, looking on websites that were specific to my field and researching companies' websites. If a company advertised that they were an Equal Opportunity Employer, I would definitely check the relevant box on the application.
 
Q:  Did you disclose your disability? At what stage? What was the outcome?
My first job after graduation knew I had a Learning Disability prior to hiring me, as I had developed relationships with them while I was in school. However, I just went through the process of applying to graduate school and I had a different experience. I anonymously contacted the administrative assistants in the departments I was applying to, to see if they recommended I disclose or not. Surprisingly, I was told not to disclose on my application, but to contact the disability services office and register with them. I decided to apply without disclosing, wait to get accepted and then disclose once I had started school.
 
Also, I think it is important for students (with learning disabilities specifically) to realize that once you are done your undergraduate degree, you usually target work and graduate studies in areas that are not related to your LD. For example, my LD is math related, and I do not look for opportunities that would requir me to use math. I now have the flexibility to make these choices.
 
Q:  Do you require accommodations to do your job? How did your employer handle this?
Yes, I do require accommodations, but I find that most of them are built in to the work environment. I have more control over my own time management, more time to complete work, my colleagues are available to proofread my work (this is encouraged for all staff members) and there is a scheduling system in place to help keep me organized.
I find that the workload and pressure is very different in the working world than during my undergraduate degree. As a student you have the overwhelming pressure of having five exams in the span of two weeks, where as in the work world you have smaller tasks with more time to complete them. As well, you can revisit things and improve on them before they are due. Also, there is a team approach, I am not graded on individual performance, instead everyone works together to accomplish things.
 
Q:  What information do you know now that you wish you had known then?
I was set on going to graduate school right after I completed my undergraduate degree. It didn't work out that way, and I ended up working for two years following graduation. Looking back, I realize that working after graduation was the ideal situation for me even though I was dead set on graduate studies.
 
After a lot of 'soul' searching and as a result of working, I was able to make a much more informed decision about where I really wanted to go and, sometimes more importantly, where I didn't want to go. Working, I have gained practical experience, which ended up being a mandatory pre-requisite for the graduate programs that I eventually selected and have now been accepted to. I am very excited to return to school in the fall, but now I know that it's the right program to advance me in my career and not just because it was what I thought I was suppose to do after my undergrad.
 
Q:  Any other advice for graduating student's who have a disability?
I would recommend seeking advice from a number of different professionals. It is great to meet with a Career Counsellor and explore the program 'Career Cruising' offered through Brock Career Services. But, I also found it helpful to consult with a psychic (although I realize this isn't for everyone), a life coach, my family (who know me best) and people working in the field I was interested in. I think it is very important to speak with a professional who can help you focus on what you want, someone with objectivity who will listen to you and help you draw conclusions. There might not be one conclusion and that's o.k. You might be destined for several great careers before you come across the 'perfect match' if such thing exists for you. I have narrowed my choices to a desired industry, but am still far from a choosing s specific career to pursue. I think students need to realize that this process takes time (a lot of time) and is continuous. You can not make these decisions overnight and your goals will constantly be evolving.

 

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