Student Guide to Preparing for Employment

A hand adds "career" to a stack of  other cubes that read education, strategy, planning, goals, success, interest, skill and network.

As you move forward in school, you’ll hear the word “transition” more often. Basically, it means “going from one stage to another.” As a student, your first big transition is when you leave school and become an adult. This is when you start thinking about jobs, transportation, where to live, finances and how you’ll earn money, and more. 

This guide is focused on helping you find a job and plan for your future career. There are more job options for people with vision problems in recent years, but you need to plan carefully to make the most of them. This guide can help you take the first steps toward finding a job that suits you best. 

How you can prepare for employment

What you can do in middle school to prepare for employment

Start thinking about the jobs you’re interested in and what you're good at. You can check out the Career Advantage for V.I.P.s website to learn more. Find more resources for career exploration in middle school on the Prepare RI site

Talk to your parents, other adults you trust, teachers and your guidance counselor about what you like and what you’re good at. Try to find volunteer opportunities with organizations or businesses you’re interested in. 

Go to job fairs and chat with people in your community about their jobs. You can also research careers on the My Next Move website. 

If you haven’t already, learn about tools and technology that can help you as well as accommodations you might need at home and work because of your vision. Your TVI or SBVI counselor can help you with this. 

Take advantage of mobility instruction if available to you. Start working on getting around at home and in the community. 


What you can do in high school to prepare for employment

When you’re 14, find out about the help you can get from Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI) at the Office of Rehabilitation Services and learn when to apply. 

Once you’re eligible to use SBVI services, make plans to meet regularly with your Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor. It's a good idea to finish career interest surveys and set up activities, including work experience, to learn about jobs before your senior year. You can also explore jobs on the internet using these websites: 

  • CareerConnect is a job resource from the American Foundation for the Blind and includes a mentor program. 

  • EmployRI, sponsored by networkRI, has information about jobs, careers and job market trends. 

While you’re looking into different jobs, ask yourself these questions: 

  • What job do I imagine myself doing at 25? 

  • What training or education do I need for that job? 

  • What do I need to do in high school to reach my goal? 

Share these questions and your answers with your parents and the team working on your Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan for transitioning. 

Studies show that working while you’re in high school helps you get better job opportunities later. Try to find summer jobs, part-time work after school, volunteer roles and internships. See if you can shadow someone in a job you’re interested in. Get help from your VR counselor, teachers, family and friends to find work in your community. Write down your experiences, including dates and your supervisors’ names, to use when applying for jobs later. 

Learn all you can about technology that can help you. Figure out how to handle your own tech needs and choose the right tech tools for you. Knowing how to use common office software like Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint will make you more competitive in the job market. 

Being good at getting around on your own will make it easier to travel to and from work. If you have an Orientation and Mobility Instructor, talk to them about ways to improve your skills at home and in your neighborhood. If you’re thinking about getting a guide dog someday, you must have good mobility skills, including white cane skills, first. 

Strengthen your organizational skills. Make your own appointments with doctors and transportation services. Use a calendar tool like Microsoft Outlook to keep track of your appointments. Keep a list of important contacts, including your guidance counselor, doctors and SBVI counselor.