From the Editor: A NABS member reflects on their experiences and offers advice that they have gleaned from their one year out of college.
My college experience was what every student imagines: four straight years of broadening my horizons, living away from home, and, of course, the endless piles of work. When it was time for me to graduate this time last year, I felt ready to move onto the next step in my life. For me, that next step took the form of attending the Colorado Center for the Blind so that I could be confident in the knowledge that, no matter where life next took me, blindness would not hold me back.
When I finished with my blindness skills training, I knew that finding a job would be difficult. In corresponding with my friends from college, their stories were filled with rejection and more rejection. During this part of my life when I am looking for work, I have learned a great deal about myself, and the job searching process. I want to share three quick tips with you that may help you along your journey toward success.
Firstly, contact everyone you know, and let them know you are looking for work. I mean, literally everyone, particularly those who work in the areas in which you would like to work. You never know who has connections and may be able to help you until you make everyone aware of your situation. Additionally, reaching out to the traditional sources, such as your university’s career center, has proven to be quite helpful to me.
Secondly, be clear about what skills you can offer to a place of employment. What are your strengths? If you are emailing a person for the first time, it does not hurt to list off these skills, almost like a mini cover letter. And just as important as your skills is the presentation of these skills. Be proud of what you have to offer.
Thirdly, try to have a mentor of some kind to advise you through this process. It is not an easy situation, and most students are new to how it works. Having a mentor, a group of mentors, or even a paid job coach can go a long way in helping you stay focused and reminding you of the value of self-motivation. They can also recommend possible next steps when you feel like you have reached a dead end.
I hope that this advice will help you as much as it has helped me. Stay positive, and know that you always have a network of support in the Federation.