How to Find a Job if You're Illiterate
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Finding a new job under the best of circumstances can be a frustrating and demoralizing experience. Working your way through this frustration requires a strong work ethic and dedication to a regular routine. Being illiterate can make this search even more challenging; however, there are techniques that help you work past your illiteracy. Patience is the key -- you can land a good job through a daily commitment to get applications out and to make yourself as appealing of an employee as you can.
Use your other assets to your advantage. Present yourself well-groomed with nice clothes. This shows a strong desire for employment and leaves a good impression on potential employers. Illiteracy is not a presentation hindrance but a positive appearance helps overcome a potential employer's stereotypes.
Acknowledge your strengths and your weaknesses but remain confident. In conjunction with appearance, confidence shows a personal strength and desire to work. Consider the unique skills and abilities that you possess that have nothing to do with your illiteracy. As an illiterate in a literate society, list the skills you use to work through your daily life. These skills may seem commonplace to you but they represent an advantage that you possess over a literate applicant.
Set aside a specific time every day to go job searching. Make job searching your new job until you find a permanent position.
Collect applications and bring them home with you. Find a relative or loved one willing to help you complete them. Be honest with potential employers about your illiteracy because any dishonesty can be grounds for future termination.
Use a local employment agency. This is your best opportunity for a good-paying position. Agency employees will help you work around your illiteracy. They are trained to help you search for job opportunities and have access to job listings that are unavailable elsewhere. Additionally, they will help you search for jobs that do not have a reading requirement.
Network within your community. Friends, social groups and organizations present opportunities to connect. Tell them that you are seeking employment and see what openings they know about. Social networking is an effective tool and can provide a valuable reference to potential employers as to your work abilities. The advantage of social networking is that your illiteracy can be discussed with potential employers and you can know that it will not be an issue before you apply for a position.
Be patient as you search for employment. It can take a few months to find a good job, depending on the market stability when you are searching. Avoid discouragement and stay committed to finding a position that is ideal for your needs. Illiteracy can extend this search time. It is important that you commit to your search and spend time everyday working through these steps. Do not get frustrated.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job Search Methods
- Amby's Work Site: Non-Traditional Job Search Methods
- Good: How To: 5 Ways to Help Functionally Illiterate Adults
- Job Web: Looking for a Job? Try One of These Creative Job-Search Methods
- Bermuda Sun: Illiteracy thwarting job seekers
- Employment Policies Institute: From Welfare to Work. The Transition of an Illiterate Population
Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.