If you have hearing loss, looking and applying for jobs isn’t always easy. But some of our biggest challenges can offer the best rewards and finding that job is no different.
With some determination and these tips for navigating the job hunting process with hearing loss, you can set yourself up for success.
Before you start looking
The first steps to landing a job are the same regardless of hearing ability. Those include some preliminary research to determine what you may be looking for and why based on your goals. It also means building a strong resume.
These days a resume should be simple, targeted with the keywords you want hiring managers (and job search software) to see, and highlight the most important information, such as your strengths and achievements, up front. Don’t think that you have to include hearing loss on your resume or in your cover letter unless you choose to. In some cases, it could make potential employers wary due to lack of information or understanding about hearing loss. In other cases, it could make you more qualified than other candidates for the job.
Putting yourself out there
Once you’re ready to jump into the job hunt, there are several steps you’ll want to take and key points to remember:
- Start with your network – This may be a professional association or the hearing loss social group you spend time with every week or your friends and family. These are the people who know you as a person beyond just a resume. They may already know of the perfect opportunity for you, be able to personally connect you with someone who can help or have recommendations you can use on your job search.
- Tune into job requirements – It can sometimes be tempting to apply for a promising job but for which you aren’t entirely qualified. Check the “essential functions” of the position to verify that you would be able to perform them even with hearing loss. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (and the Rehabilitation Act for federal government jobs and government contractor jobs) prohibit discrimination against qualified employees with disabilities.
If you have a hearing impairment, interviews may be one of the most intimidating parts of the whole job search process. These tips can help you prepare for and shine when you do get that interview call:
- You may want to questions about the interview before it happens to better prepare. How many people will you be meeting? Will it be in a small office or a large conference room? This information may help you decide if you need to bring an assistive listening device with you.
- It is not always necessary to bring up your hearing loss before or during your interview.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for changes to the interview environment once you arrive to set up the best space for your hearing needs.
- Use effective communication skills by asking questions and requesting interviewers to repeat questions when needed instead of pretending you’ve heard. Misunderstandings, when you haven’t heard correctly, can give a hiring manager the wrong impression of you as a possible candidate for the job.
- Focus on your strengths and ability to do the job even if you may need special accommodation if hired. As a qualified candidate, your hearing loss should not be a determining factor.
Patience and positivity
Finding a job can be a long and stressful process, whether you have hearing loss or not. You may apply for numerous jobs, go on several interviews, and follow up with multiple hiring managers over the days, weeks and even months. The most important thing you can do during a job hunt is to focus on your goals and stay positive.
If you are looking for a job and believe you may have hearing loss, contact our office for a hearing evaluation. Identifying and treating hearing loss can help you better communicate and shine during your job search.