We see people working all the time. Grocery store clerks, movie theater attendants, police officers, bakers, gas station attendants… Those are all people doing their jobs. There are TONS of different kinds of jobs, and lots of different reasons why a person might want to work. Jobs pay people for their time, so lots of people choose to work to make money… But some people just enjoy doing their jobs!
Some people work but don’t want to, and other people want to work but can’t. There are things that make working harder for some people. Luckily, employers have learned a lot recently, and gotten far better at hiring people with diverse abilities. There are also organizations that can sometimes help individuals with diverse abilities to find work opportunities that suit their needs, and to succeed in their work (like the employment services team here at Garth Homer)!
This page will go over some of the employment basics in our 3 stage approach to employment success: On Your Marks, Get Set and GO! These areas might help you figure out what kinds of work suit your needs and abilities, show you how to look for available jobs and prepare for interviews, and give you some tips on how to be successful if and when you land employment!
There’s a lot more to “work” than just starting any old job. There are lots of different factors and important things to think about to make sure that you will be successful in a job before you even start looking for one! This section will explore some of those important early steps as you consider why you want to work, what factors to consider in searching for work and explore what kind of jobs might be a good fit for you!
There are many reasons why people choose to work:
- To make friends and meaningful connections
- To use your talents and develop skills
- To develop confidence and independence
- To have a stable source of income, or extra income
It’s important to give this some thought, and have good reasons for wanting a job that will continue to motivate you, since a job is a commitment.
Are you ready for the journey to work?
It is important to know if you are ready to get a job, so that you can maintain your employment. Here are a couple key things to consider:
- Do you want to work independently, or with support? ***
- Could you get to work on your own? What kind of transportation would you need?
- Do you have a support network of family, friends, and/or caregivers who could help you prepare?
- Have you taken on responsibilities before (for example: chores, volunteering, sports)?
- Can you be reliable and on-time for appointments?
***British Columbia has an agency called Community Living BC that can connect you with “Supported Employment.” That means you will work with a job coach to find and keep work! Find out more by clicking here.
If you do NOT live in BC, you can contact your nearest employment center to see if they offer this service, or if they can direct you to an organization that does.
You’re ready to work… Now what do you want to do?
Once you know that you want to work, and think that you’re ready, it’s time to find a job. But how do you know what kind of work to look for?
A good place to start is identifying what you like to do, what you are good at, and things you already know how to do. You can ask your friends, family, or a job coach (if you have one) to help you brainstorm ideas for what areas you shine in.
WorkBC has some GREAT tools that we recommend checking out, that can help you to narrow down some job fields that suit you:
Career Compass uses your abilities and preferences to help find work that suits you
Career Trek is a great way to explore all the different jobs that other people are doing
See what’s out there!
Job search engines are places where employers post available jobs, and job seekers (people like you, looking for work) can find them. These sites will show you what jobs are available, and list off all of the requirements. If you’re still deciding on what kind of work would be best for you, you can browse the available jobs to see what you’re qualified for!
There are tons of different job search engines, and it’s good to check more than one. While you’re searching, make sure to change your location to wherever you live… It’s no fun getting excited about a job over in Halifax if you live in Vancouver!
Here are some of the most popular job search websites:
Preparing for Applications and Interviews
Now that you’ve found a job that you want, how do you GET it? Well, the first thing to remember is that there will be other people applying for the job, and it’s not a guarantee that you’ll get it. Sometimes we have to apply for lots of jobs before we get one, and that’s okay, there are lots of other jobs out there. The first step to trying to get this one though, is to apply with a resume and cover letter, and get through an interview. These are all things that can help show the employer why you would be a great person to hire!
What’s a Resume?!
What’s a Resume?!
A resume is a short summary of your employment history and skills that you submit with a job application. It is the thing that employers will be looking at to see if you seem like a good fit for the job. Your resume is the first opportunity for you to show the employer why they should hire you, so you’ll want to make sure to make a great impression and put all of the job and volunteer experience that you have on there. It is very important to be honest on a resume. You want to highlight all of the great experience that you have but must not make things up.
A resume generally follows a similar format, where it shows your name and contact information, a summary of your skills and then lists your work experience.
Here’s a sample resume we made up to show you what one might look like!
**It’s a good idea to have a friend, parent or staff help look over your resume and help out. Sometimes other people are good at helping us to realize all the great things we actually do, and can help us highlight those skills on our resume. You’ll also want to make sure to edit your resume for spelling and grammar.
Now, the cover letter…
Now, the cover letter…
Some jobs want more than just a list of skills. A cover letter is an extra document that you can attach to your resume, telling people more about yourself and why you think the job is a good fit. The cover letter is written like, well, a letter! It introduces yourself and normally has a few paragraphs that explain why you’re excited to apply to that particular job at the company, and talks a bit about your skills. It normally ends with a sentence thanking the employer for their consideration.
A good cover letter is written with a specific job in mind, and really fits that job (hint: you’ll want a different cover letter for different jobs!). If you aren’t sure whether to include a cover letter with your resume, it’s better to include one!
Take a look at our example of a cover letter:
**Just like with a resume, having a friend, parent or staff review your cover letter can be very helpful.
Getting ready for the interview
If the employer thought you might be a good fit from your resume and cover letter, they might call you and invite you in for a job interview. This is when you go in and meet them and they ask you more questions to see if it’s a good fit, and you can ask them some questions to make sure you think it’s a good fit for you as well. Job interviews can be scary, but they’re really just an opportunity to show off your best features. If you think about what you want to say, act nice, and answer their questions honestly, you’ll do just fine!
Check out this video for some tips to help you prepare for the interview, and be sure to read our next section about dressing the part for the interview!
Jobs expect you to practice good hygiene and dress “professionally.” That means wearing clothing that is clean, not damaged, and fits well. It also means wearing clothing that is more formal: for example, a dress shirt instead of a T-shirt, or a suit jacket instead of a hoodie. This is especially important for the interview: first impressions matter! Dressing to impress will show the employers that you are serious about getting work and that you take pride in yourself.
If you don’t own any interview appropriate clothes, you don’t need to go buy expensive fancy things. Try a thrift store! They usually have professional-looking clothing for low prices. Just make sure that it’s in good condition before you wear it.
Do you use a wheelchair? Check out this article for more tips.
Check out this video to learn more!
Interview Prep Checklist
Check these items off to make sure you’re ready to nail your interview!
Before the Big Day
The Day of the Interview
During the interview
Getting ready for your new job
So you got the job: congratulations! Now what? Well, it’s time to have a great first day!
Making good impressions at your job
Leaving your job
- Work BC – This government website offers help for anyone trying to find work and explore career options in BC
- Community Living BC – CLBC’s employment support program helps eligible people find jobs
- FOODSAFE – Many jobs that involve food require this training, which teaches you to handle food safely
- Serving it Right – Most jobs that involve serving alcohol/liquor require this training
- First Aid Training from SJA and Red Cross – Some jobs require this training, which helps prepare you to handle injuries and other health problems
This page was created with the help of the Garth Homer Employment Services team.
Click here to learn more about accessing local Victoria employment supports!