Category Archives: Employment Resources

How to Progress in Your Career

As a worker with a spinal cord injury, you may have gaps in your employment history or you may be entering the workforce for the first time. This does not mean you can’t land your dream job. However, landing your dream job takes time. To progress in your professional life, you must consider the process of career development. Most workers start with an initial job and work their way up to their dream career through time, while they gain the necessary work experience. 

To progress in your career, you must first find an initial job, then seek further experience before finally landing your dream job. 

Find an Initial Job

While entering the workforce, you must consider what skills you have and what career you eventually want. Your dream job should reflect your talents and the tasks you enjoy completing. Once you identify your ideal career, you should first pursue an initial job that will develop your skills needed for the career you wish to pursue. For example, if you would like to be an assistant manager at a retail store, you should start by seeking a career as a customer service employee or cashier. These jobs would give you the retail skills and experience needed to eventually move up to a higher position.

Finding an initial job does not mean you should apply for any open position. You should only apply for positions that will give you the skills and experience necessary to progress in your career. Finding an initial job is not only beneficial for gaining experience; an initial job can serve as a trial run where you can figure out if the field you are working in is right for you.

Seek Further Experience

After holding your initial job for a period of time, you should decide if you would like to progress in your career. If you would like to progress in your career and hold a higher position someday, you should seek further professional experience by applying for higher positions or expressing your interest in a promotion. By holding your initial job for some time, you can gain the experience and skills needed to be qualified for a higher position. 

For example, after holding a cashier or customer service job in a retail store, you can seek out the position of Shift Manager or Supervisor. These positions will bring you closer to your ideal job of Assistant Manager, as you gain more skills necessary to be qualified for your ideal position. You would also have the chance to work closely with the Assistant Manager while holding these higher positions, which means you can learn more about your ideal job and see if it is the right fit for you.

Land Your Dream Job

Your further experience in a higher role can help you become qualified for your dream job. However, depending on what your ideal position is, you may have to pursue several different further professional experiences before you land your dream job. Often, getting a management position or any other higher job openings requires several years of experience in other, similar jobs. Don’t be discouraged if you do not get an offer for your dream job when you first apply; make sure to pursue all relevant professional experiences possible, such as promotions within your workplace, until you land your dream job. As you gain further professional experience, remember to add your new work experiences and skills to your resume. 

Landing your dream career can be difficult, especially while living with a spinal cord injury. However, an absence of professional experience or gaps in employment history do not disqualify you from eventually getting your dream job. Everyone has skills that are relevant to certain positions. As you seek your dream job, keep in mind your skills and your passions. Finding an initial job and seeking further professional experience can help you land your ideal career. If you have questions on how to progress in your career as a worker with a spinal cord injury, contact us today.


Learn More about Ticket to Work

As you make your goals for the month, don’t forget to make progress towards your work goals. A great way to do this is by using the Ticket to Work Program’s checklist: SMART goals. This checklist can help you find and maintain full-time employment.

The Ticket to Work program is run by Social Security and was created for people ages 18 to 64 who receive Social Security Disability benefits to help them with career development. This is an excellent program that connects you with a free service provider who can explain to you how your disability and health care benefits will change with employment. This program is free and voluntary.

The main purpose of this program is to help people with disabilities become financially independent. Ticket to Work will help connect you with services and supports to make sure you succeed when you do decide to enter the workforce. If you have any questions regarding the Ticket program, they have a helpline, 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY), available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM EST, where you can talk with a representative. This representative can answer the following:

– How employment will affect your benefits

– How Social Security’s Work Incentives program will help you become financially independent

– How an authorized service provider can help support you and your path to employment

Learn About the Ticket Program Online

Another great place to find the answers to your questions about the Ticket to Work program is their website, Choose Work! Choose Work can be found at https://choosework.ssa.gov/index.html. They also have a Resources page at https://choosework.ssa.gov/library/ where you can find a variety of options to help you return to work, such as Success Story videos, fact sheets, informational podcasts. They also have a Frequently Asked Questions area for any questions you have about the Ticket program. You can also find your own service provider here using the Find Help tool.

The Find Help tool filters searches by location, online and in-person services, as well as the types of services they offer. There is also the Choose Work blog where you can find tips and resources for your job search. You can find advice here on things like resume writing, nailing the job interview, and asking for accommodations in the workplace.

Ticket to Work’s website also offers webinars, which are online seminars that discuss different topics that highlight the Ticket to Work program. Some of these topics range from things like how to choose a service provider, exploring self-employment, and how achieving financial independence is possible. Click here to register for a work incentives seminar event (WISE): https://choosework.ssa.gov/webinars-tutorials/index.html

Stay Up to Date

You can also subscribe to the Ticket to Work program’s email list and follow them on social media. Doing both of these things will make sure you are up to date on the latest information about the program. It will also help you learn everything there is to know about Ticket to Work.

– Click here to subscribe to the to Choose Work! blog: http://bit.ly/SubscribeCW

– Click here to subscribe to the monthly WISE webinars: http://bit.ly/WISEsubscribe

– Follow Ticket to Work on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/choosework– Follow Ticket to Work on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/chooseworkssa