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Northwest Missouri State University

Career Tips for Students with Disabilities

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Career Planning with a Disability

Make time for career development and planningIt is important to make time now to seek out experiences in college that will help you clarify your abilities and interests; build networking connections and add value to your resume.

Build skills now: Understand how disability impacts you across academic and employment settings. Self-advocacy skills, a well thought out plan regarding disclosure and accommodations request (if needed) are important transferable skills for employment that you can gain while in college. Seek out opportunities to develop skills through volunteerism, service, work and/or internships.

Start with your strengths: Look beyond your disability and know your unique strengths, skills and traits so that you can articulate your value to employers.

Tip: Make an appointment with Career Services if you would like help getting started with your career planning process.

Disclosing your Disability to Employers

When to disclose: Deciding when to disclose your disability to an employer or potential employer is a personal decision that will likely vary based on your specific disability and the type of accommodations you need. You are not required to disclose your disability or request an accommodation before a job offer is made. Some applicants choose to disclose during the interview process and others wait until after they are offered the job.

View disclosure options for employment:View PDF

How to disclose: How much information you disclose to your employer is up to you. You are not required to give a specific diagnosis only that you need an adjustment due to a medical condition or disability. However, keep in mind that if your disability is not obvious, the employer may request that you provide documentation to establish that there is a need for an accommodation as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Complete elements of your disclosure plan (activity):View PDF

Tip: Staff at Career Services can help you develop a script for disclosing your disability to employers and practice delivering your disclosure. Contact or call 660.562.1250.

On the Job with a Disability

About the Law: Qualified individuals with disabilities are protected from employment discrimination through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To be considered “qualified” you must be able to perform the “essential functions” of the job with or without accommodations.

Tip: For more information on legal issues associated with individuals with disabilities, visit the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) under the Hot Topics tab.

Accommodations: New professionals with disabilities should carefully think through what is needed to function optimally on the job prior to the hiring process. Reflect on the accommodations you might need and research your options thoroughly before making a request. 

  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN): For comprehensive information about job  accommodations, visit the Job Accommodation Network online.
  • Visible Disabilities: Individuals with visible disabilities will need to initiate discussions about reasonable accommodations prior to or during the hiring process.
  • Invisible Disabilities: Individuals with invisible disabilities have the option to initiate discussions about reasonable accommodations after the hiring process.
  • Cost of Accommodations: Most accommodations cost less than $500. Employers can receive tax incentives for accommodation costs.

Tip: To meet with Career Services, make an appointment or contact 660.562.1250 to speak to someone about your career development.

Job & Internship Resources

Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (contact Career Services for additional details)

COSD Career Gateway: Job posting database and community targeting students with disabilities.  Click on "student login" to get started.

Emerging Leaders Internship program: Competitive internship program that places undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities in fulfilling summer internships and provides them with leadership development opportunities.

Entry Point: A Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), offering internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities in science, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and some fields of business.

Getting Hired: Online service for people with disabilities to gather, network, and search through job postings.

Job Accommodations Network (JAN): The Job Accommodation Network is a service provided by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). JAN represents the most comprehensive resource for job accommodations available.

National Business & Disability Council: Great online resources for job seekers with disabilities including job and internship postings, local resource directories, webcasts, and more.

AAPD Internship program: Each year, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) hosts two Summer Internship Programs for College Students with Disabilities in Washington, DC, providing paid travel to and from DC, paid fully-accessible housing, and living stipends.

Greater Washington Internship Coalition: Contains links to a wide variety of internships through other organizations; list provided by AAPD.

Recruit Disability Job Boards: Great online resource to search for jobs and post your resume for hiring employers.

Incite – Resources for self-empowerment

Project Hired Assisting individuals with disabilities to gain and sustain employment

About Career Services

Career Services provides students with a platform to develop career related decision making processes through events, web resources, videos and services.  Visit our website or stop by our office 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday to get started. Every Wednesday from 2-4:30 p.m. is Walk-In Hours; no appointment needed or Make an Appointment that suits your needs and schedule.

Other Resources at Northwest Missouri State University

View the Northwest Students with Disabilities webpage for information about accommodations and other services.