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Join the "Job Squad"!

Job Squad

With summer just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about getting a summer job. Not only is getting your first job exciting, it is a great way to gain experience and earn some extra cash. However, for teens that are hard of hearing, getting through the job interview can be intimidating, especially when it comes to when and how to disclose your hearing loss to your potential employer. You can learn from Sandra by reading her story about the importance of disclosure if accommodations must be made for your hearing loss. We have also included some terrific links and tips to help you make the most of your summer job search.

Sandra's story...

"During my university years, I was hired at a bed and breakfast to work as a housekeeper for the summer. I hadn't told the owner that I had a severe-profound hearing loss during the interview. One of the benefits of the job was that it included accommodation. I showed up for work on the first day, and the very first thing that she did was show me their phone system and talk about how to handle telephone inquiries. She hadn't mentioned that telephone work was going to be required—and this probably would have come up if I had disclosed my hearing loss during the job interview! Even with an amplifier, I would have had great difficulty with names and dates. The owner was not okay with that limitation. And all of a sudden, not only was I out of a job, but a place to live during the summer. Now I always disclose the fact that I have a hearing loss. If my hearing loss is going to be a big problem on the job, I'd rather know it up front so that I can decide if I still want to work there. And if I do still want to work there, there may be things I need to do (like ordering a telephone amplifier) before showing up for work."

Finding your ideal job

The internet has lots of great information you can read to help you get started with finding your ideal job. Here are some links we thought might be useful to help you define what your ideal job might look like and how to increase your chances of landing the job.

Putting together a resume

Putting together a killer resume will go a long way to showing a potential employer that you have what it takes to present yourself in a professional manner. This resume site shows you several styles of resumes and offers samples to help jump start your own. This article gives great advice about how to write a resume when you have no job experience.

Tips for disclosure of hearing loss

The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association has a helpful guide that outlines how to best disclose your hearing loss to a potential employer. Check out Working with Hearing Loss: A Guide for Employees, Employers, and Entrepreneurs to learn more about disclosure. Be sure to read pages 9-12 which address hearing loss from the perspective of an employee.

Here are some more helpful tips for before and during the job interview:

  • Practice typical interview questions before the interview.
  • Focus on your core strengths and determine how you can incorporate a discussion of your hearing needs into the interview.
  • Outline the accommodations needed (if applicable) to make the workplace accessible to you.
  • Practice asking questions about the everyday duties of the job to make sure you can complete the tasks as required.

While you are protected by the Human Rights Legislation in Canada, which states that you cannot be discriminated against based on "age, race, gender, religion, or disability", you also have a responsibility to your employer to let him or her know about your hearing loss if it will require modifications to the work setting, such as provision of an amplified hand set of the telephone, or for your co-workers to use technology or other ways to communicate with you.

Some last-minute advice

Employers are looking for teens that are motivated and have a positive attitude. They want to hire a person who is:

  • Willing to work hard
  • Willing to do their best
  • Able to work well with others
  • Dependable and reliable
  • Able to dress appropriately for the job

While some days on the job may be better than others, you are gaining experience and earning money. You are also making good contacts and building references for any jobs you may be seeking in the future.

Enjoy the summer!