Your self-directed employment assistant
There are several different formats that a jobseeker will encounter when applying for a job. Some applications are on paper, to be filled out and submitted in person, mailed, or faxed. Some even are non-traditional and ask the jobseeker to think outside the box in the way they convey to the employer that they are the best for the job— participating in a creative endeavor on social media or in person. By far the most common way to apply to a job is by filling out an application that is found on a company’s website. The issue with this type of application is that not every website will be accessible to jobseekers that have specific needs when it comes to navigating technology.
Inaccessibility on websites can be comprised of several different issues. These could include mouse clicking, small text, lack of captions, keyboard navigation, distracting animations, and more. The first plan of action one can take is to enlist the help of a trusted friend, family member, or colleague to assist with the completion of the application. Even if that is an available resource for someone to utilize, it’s highly encouraged that the jobseeker reaches out to the organization and lets them know that there’s an accessibility issue. Here is an example of an email template that was created by W3C Web Accessibility Initiative for jobseekers to use when making contact:
Subject: Problem encountered on [XYZ website]
Dear [name or position of person you’re writing to]
I had problems on the web page [web address (URL), or describe the page where the problem occurs]
I tried to [describe what you were trying to do on their site].
The problem was [describe what doesn’t work for you or what doesn’t work the way you expected].
This meant I was unable to [describe what you had hoped to do on their website].
[optional: “I have no trouble on” [describe a similar site that works for you].
Here is some information to help you diagnose and fix the problem. I use a [your computer operating system] with the [name and version of your browser].
I also use [describe any assistive technology you use, or settings you changed - if this is relevant].
To learn about web accessibility please see “Introduction to Web Accessibility” at https://www.w3.org/WAI/fundamentals/accessibility-intro/ [optional: include other references]
I look forward to your fixing accessibility barriers on your website. Please contact me [at the phone number or email address below] if I can be of further assistance.
[your name and contact information]
Attempting to reach out and start a dialogue with an organization on ways they can improve their website’s accessibility not only benefits you, but everyone with specific needs to come in the future.
Educating others on what works and isn’t working in terms of accessibility can be exhausting for the ones putting in the work, but the rewards are lasting. Even if you don’t receive the response you want from an organization, there are other ways you can take action to get the results you need. If you’d like to learn more about the ways to take action, and any other information mentioned in this blog, check out this helpful link by W3C WAI. As always, be sure to check out our informative Digital Tip on this topic, too. Until next time, I hope you all enjoy the rest of summer. See you in September!