It can be overwhelming for any student to find an internship or entry-level job upon graduation. Students with disabilities are no exception and it can be even harder for them because some employers are less likely to hire those with disabilities. Getting a foot in the door is great. Even better is finding the right fit that supports and fosters growth. Luckily, a resource often overlooked is right on campus: your professors.
Professors are not only educators but also mentors, network connectors, and sometimes industry experts. They are uniquely positioned to provide insight and support tailored to your specific needs and aspirations.
Understanding Your Needs
Your professors have likely seen you in action, know your strengths, and understand your challenges. They can help align your skills with potential career paths, ensuring you approach the job market with a strategy that fits your unique attributes.
Professors often maintain strong connections within their respective fields. They may know of companies and organizations that have a proven track record of supporting employees with disabilities or internships specifically geared toward students like you.
Your professors know you as an individual. They can provide personalized recommendations, advice on how to approach potential employers, and even help practice interviews.
How to Approach Your Professors
Seeking help from your professors may feel intimidating, but remember, they are there to assist you. Most want to. Many will do a superb job of doing so.
Before you ask, think a little about who to ask, how to ask, and how to thank them afterward. First, think about the professors who know you well or have connections to the industry you’re interested in. Start with them.
Second, be clear about what you’re looking for and have specific questions in mind. This not only helps your professor guide you but also shows that you value their time and insights.
Finally, always send a thank-you note expressing your gratitude for their time and insight. Keep them informed about your progress; they may continue to provide support or connections as you move forward.