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Finding a job is hard enough. For people with disabilities, it’s even harder. But the secret to success may lie in using the right job board.
Starting a Job Search
Let’s be honest. Finding work can be difficult for all job seekers. Challenges can be related to gaps in your work history, a lack of transportation or childcare, age, experience level, lack of certifications, or lack of education.
Older employees might worry they aren’t doing enough to keep up with technology. New graduates might fear they don’t have the experience necessary to land a first job, much less their dream job. Newcomers might worry about their lack of Canadian experience. People with disabilities might be concerned that employers are focusing on their disability instead of valuing their abilities. If you are a person with a disability it can seem like an especially intimidating task because you might face more than one of these barriers.
If you are just starting your job search, there are some things that you might consider. First, employers are just as worried about finding the right employee as you are about finding a job. Canada is experiencing a talent shortage (or was, before social distancing). That means companies are having difficulty filling positions with people that have the skills they are looking for.
This has caused many companies to re-examine the way they hire and the way they look at people with disabilities. In recent years, numerous job boards and agencies have been developed to help specific groups, including people with disabilities, find meaningful employment. However, sometimes selecting which job board to post your resume on can seem like another barrier in an already difficult process.
Magnet: Attracting the Right Talent
People with disabilities face unique challenges when looking for employment and this is often amplified by conventional job boards. Job postings asking for a laundry list of skills can deter applicants, even if they are qualified. Job boards requiring you to upload only a resume can highlight gaps in your work or educational experience. This unfairly eliminates many candidates who can learn the necessary skills on the job.
Launched in 2013, Magnet is a job matching platform that addresses many of the issues that make traditional job boards difficult for people with disabilities. Billing itself as “Canada’s opportunity platform,” Magnet uses intelligent matching technology to connect job seekers to career opportunities that reflect individual goals and skills.
Traditional job sites use a “post and wait” approach where employers post a job and hope they receive enough applications. The problem with this approach is that the chosen candidate may not, in fact, be the perfect fit; rather, they might just be very skilled at crafting the perfect resume. No doubt, being able to write a tailored resume is an important skill, but the over-emphasis on the traditional resume excludes many candidates.
Magnet addresses this by asking clients to fill out a detailed profile that focuses on interests, experiences and skills. When a job posting matches a candidate’s skills and qualifications, an invite goes out to the job seeker encouraging them to apply. It’s that simple. On Magnet, you know that an employer has an interest in your skillset. This saves you time and lets you focus on applying to jobs that are right for you.
Discover Ability and ALiGN: Disclosing Your Disability Comes With an Advantage
To further assist job seekers with disabilities, Magnet partnered with the Discover Ability Network and ALiGN. Both Discover Ability and ALiGN act as enhancements to the already-powerful Magnet platform. The Discover Ability Network was founded in 2017 as a tool for businesses that value the diverse perspectives and skills that job seekers with a disability bring to the labour force. Job seekers wanting to take advantage of the services offered by Discover Ability sign up through the website where they then complete their Magnet profile.
Discover Ability also has an extra feature to the Magnet platform benefitting people with disabilities. That is, in your settings, you can self-declare as a person with a disability. When you self–declare, you will receive job invitations from employers that are specifically seeking to hire people with disabilities. Some of these opportunities are exclusive to people with disabilities.
Offline, Discover Ability has worked with employers to educate them about the advantages of hiring inclusively through workshops and training sessions. Some of Canada’s biggest companies, such as RBC, Liburdi Technologies, Bell Technical Solutions, and KPMG are working with Discover Ability, as well as a host of small to medium–sized businesses looking to benefit from hiring diverse talent.
ALiGN works in parallel to Discover Ability. It is designed for job seekers with a disability who have gaps in their work history. ALiGN is an innovative youth-targeted employment tool that addresses these gaps. It creates matches between job seekers and employers using personality attributes and interests. In the absence of transferrable skills, employers evaluate job seekers based on fit, targeting only the skills and attitudes necessary for the advertised positions.
The future of work is rapidly changing and so is the hiring process. Digital platforms like Magnet are powerful tools for both employers and job seekers. More and more, employers are realizing that hiring people with disabilities makes financial sense. Increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, and lower turnover are just a few of the reasons to hire people with disabilities. The challenge is no longer convincing businesses they need to hire inclusively but providing them with the tools they need to attract and retain job seekers with disabilities.
Magnet is unrivalled in its ability to connect both job seekers and employers. Applicants using Discover Ability and ALiGN can apply to jobs knowing that employers appreciate the business case for hiring them. Additionally, these employers are ready to make the appropriate accommodations for their disabilities. Meanwhile, employers have powerful new tools to enhance their ability to find the right candidates.
Looking for a job is never easy; it requires determination, a positive attitude, and a willingness to adapt. By signing up to Magnet through Discover Ability, ALiGN, or both, you are taking a proactive step toward finding the job that is right for you.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.