Tips for finding and keeping a job for people with disability

Looking for a job is an exciting time but it can also be frustrating and stressful. 

If you’re a job hunter who also happens to have a disability—or you haven’t had much work experience before—the process can be especially overwhelming.

The good news is that with the right support, finding a job that’s the right fit for you doesn’t have to be quite so difficult. Here are our best tips for finding a job for people with disability.

1. Look after yourself

Because job hunting can be stressful, it’s especially important to take good care of yourself and your mental health during this time. Here are some little things you can do each day that will help you keep feeling your best:

  • Try and go for a walk or do some gentle stretching in the sun (even if you don’t really feel like it).
  • Set a regular bedtime routine so that you can get lots of good quality sleep.
  • Spend time with family or friends who make you laugh and feel supported.
  • Put time aside to spend on your favourite hobby.
  • Go on a fun outing.
  • If the stress starts to get too much, let someone know how you’re feeling so they can help you.

2. Practise confidence

Going for an interview and then not getting the job can feel disappointing. However, you shouldn’t let it get you down too much. Losing out on a job you’re excited about is a normal part of life, and something that every job seeker goes through at some point.

It’s ok to feel a bit sad or disappointed, but don’t let it get your confidence down. Instead, try getting together with a friend to lift your spirits and practise your confidence-building skills together. It might sound silly but pretending to be confident can actually help us become more confident! Here are a few things you can try:

  • Remind yourself that getting a job is tough and it isn’t your fault if you’re finding it difficult
  • Practise smiling and making eye contact—even when you’re nervous
  • Do a pretend interview with a friend so you can work on your skills.

3. Do your homework

If an employer offers you an interview, learn as much as you can about the company before you go. This will help you show the employer that you’re really interested in the job and give you a chance to explain why you’re a good fit for the role. 

For example, if the job is in a warehouse, you could learn about the different products that they pack. You could also talk about experiences you’ve had that are similar to the skills you’d be using for the job. For example, if the job is in an office, you could talk about your computer skills or how much you enjoy being organised.

4. Write a great cover letter

If you’ve never written a cover letter, ask someone you trust to help you out. Your cover letter is the perfect place to talk about all the things you’re good at, even if you haven’t had much experience working before. 

You can talk about your hobbies, interests and things you’ve done that you’re proud of. Don’t be afraid to show off your personality and all the things that make you stand out from the crowd.

5. Know your rights

It’s important that you know your rights in the workplace. In Australia, there are laws in place to protect and accommodate the rights of people with disability who are looking for work. It’s illegal for employers to not follow these laws or to ask you inappropriate questions about your disability during your interview. 

This article from the Australian Government is a good place to start. However, if you have more questions, feel free to get in touch with the friendly Mambourin team. We can help you understand the laws and give you useful advice on finding and keeping a job with disability.

6. Scrub up on your skills

If you know what industry you want to work in, it can be helpful to do a training course or work experience before you apply for the role.

Work experience helps you get your foot in the door and learn skills in a real world setting. If you’re not sure how to find a work experience placement, get in touch to learn more about our Work Experience program.

Doing a training course in an area that interests you is another great way to build your resume and learn important skills that will increase your confidence. Look for courses at your local TAFE or community centre that interest you. At Mambourin, we even offer traineeships that pay you while you learn.

One person who gained a lot from completing a traineeship is Mambourin employee, Tim Smith (pictured at top). Here’s what he has to say about his experience:

“Initially, my traineeship gave me a basic skill-set which can be used in any workplace, and then allowed me to learn about the logistics industry.  Eventually I was able to get my forklift licence which helped me gain full time employment in the logistics area. My advice would be to remain positive, do a short course and become involved in the community, as a lot of employers look favourably at this.”

7. Surround yourself with helpful and supportive people

Searching for a job is much easier when you have the right support network around you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a family member or a friend, when we have people to talk to and cheer us on, it’s much easier to get through the tough times.

If you have disability, joining a group of like-minded people, such as the Mambourin community, is a great way to make friends and meet people who can support you in your job search. As well as offering lots of fun activities, our staff are experts in helping people with disability find a great job or scrub up on their skills. 

Here’s what Jake Saunders has to say about how his confidence has increased from working with people who are helpful and supportive:

“Mambourin has definitely supported me and I now know nothing will stop me from what I want to do in life and work. I’m now capable of supervising and training new staff, using the warehouse management system, conducting the picking and packing process of stock, using radio frequency scanners and loading trucks for transport.”

8. Join a Mambourin work team

In Australia, organisations like Mambourin are here to help and support people with disability on their employment journey. Mambourin Business Solutions offers supported employment opportunities including roles working in an office, in the gardening team or at our award-winning warehouse.  

Here’s what team member Lucas has to say about why he loves being part of our Business Solutions Warehouse team:


Ready to join the team?

If you’re a job seeker with disability, the Mambourin team would love to hear from you. Just like Tim, Jake and Lucas, we can help you towards meaningful employment, and build your confidence and skills in a completely supportive and caring environment.

Ready to join a work team that can help you get where you want to in life? Get in touch with our friendly team, today.

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