Selling Yourself to Employers

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How to Sell Yourself and Win Over Employers

 

When you begin applying for jobs, you'll no doubt face competition.  Let's explore strategies and tactics that will help put you in the lead!

Contents:

Tax Credits and Incentives for Employers

Building Up Your Work Experience

What Employers Look For

Reasons Why People are Hired

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Tax Credits and Incentives for Employers

 

As you begin looking for work and contacting employers, you'll want to become aware of and knowledgeable about tax incentives available for businesses that hire and accommodate people with disabilities.

The following tax credits and deductions are available to businesses who employ and/or accommodate individuals with disabilities.

Contents:

Federal Tax Credits and Deductions for Employers

Oregon Tax Credits for Employers

Washington State Tax Credits for Employers

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Federal Tax Credits and Deductions for Employers

 

As tax credits and deductions are subject to change, be sure to contact the Internal Revenue Service for current information.

Internal Revenue Service     
1-800-829-1040  or  1-800-829-4059 (TTY)

For additional information about the following tax credits and deductions, see:

Disability.gov

Locate Tax Credits and Deductions on the main menu.

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Work Opportunity Tax Credit

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (formerly known as the Targeted Jobs Tax
Credit) encourages employers to hire workers from nine targeted groups of
job seekers by reducing the employers Federal Tax liability by as much as
$2,400 for each new hire during the person's first year of work.  The tax credit
is 40 percent of the first $6,000, or $2,400 in wages paid the first 12 months 
for each new hire.

Job seekers who may qualify include:

Vocational rehabilitation referrals
(including the State Vocational Rehabilitation Division,
Commission for the Blind, and Veterans Vocational 
Rehabilitation Services)
Welfare recipients
Supplemental Security Income benefit recipients
18-to-24-year-old food stamp recipients
18-to-24-year-old residents of Empowerment Zones
or Enterprise Communities (EZs and ECs)
Veterans
Ex-felons or work-release inmates from low-income
families
16-to-17 year-old EZ or EC residents hired as 
"summer youth employees"

This credit is subject to yearly Congressional renewal.

For specific qualification information and instructions for employers, see:

IRS Form 8850 Instructions (PDF - requires Adobe Reader)

IRS Forms, Instructions, and Publications

 


For additional information, see:

Work Opportunity Tax Credit Information and Instructions
(Oregon Employment Department)

Employers:  9 Ways to Earn Federal Income Tax Credits for Your Company 
(PDF)  -  U.S Department of Labor

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Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit

The Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit encourages employers to hire long-term 
welfare recipients by reducing the employers' Federal Tax liability by up to 
$8,500 for each new hire during the worker's first two years of employment.

Job seekers who qualify include:

Individuals who have received Temporary Assistance for 
Needy Families (TANF) for at least 18 months, or
Individuals whose TANF eligibility has expired under Federal
or State law.

For specific qualification information and instructions for employers, see:

IRS Form 8850 Instructions  (PDF- Requires Adobe Reader)

IRS Forms, Instructions, and Publications

 

For additional information, see:

Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit Information and Instructions
(Oregon Employment Division)

Employers:  9 Ways to Earn Federal Income Tax Credits for Your Company
(U.S. Department of Labor) - PDF (Requires Adobe Reader)

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Disabled Access Credit

The Disabled Access Credit provides an annual tax credit for small 
businesses that incur expenses through compliance with the Americans 
with Disabilities (ADA) of 1990.  Eligible small businesses are those that 
earned a maximum of $1 million in revenue the previous year or had 
30 or fewer full-time employees.

In addition, employers may deduct costs of removing barriers to 
employment for people with disabilities, and services to customers.

Examples of expenses would include:

Sign language interpreters for employees or customers
with hearing impairments;
Readers for employees or customers with vision
impairments;
The purchase of adaptive equipment or equipment
modifications;
Adapting print material to alternate formats, such as
large print, audio tape, or braille;
Removal of architectural barriers in buildings or
vehicles.

The credit is 50 percent of expenditures over $250, not to exceed $10,250,
for a maximum benefit of $5,000.  The credit is available every year.   The
credit can be carried over for 15 years.  The credit does not apply to new 
construction, and a building being modified must have been placed in service 
before November 5, 1990.

 

For more information, see:

IRS Disabled Access Credit - Form 8826 and Instructions  (PDF - Requires
Adobe Reader)

The instructions for Form 8826 are on Web page 2 immediately
following the sample form.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employer Incentives Publication

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Architectural / Transportation Tax Deduction

This deduction is an allowance for costs associated with removing barriers
to the disabled and the elderly.

Any business can take an annual deduction for expenses incurred for making
a facility or public transportation vehicle more accessible and usable by 
people with disabilities and the elderly.  Businesses may take a tax
deduction of up to $15,000 a year for expenses incurred to remove barriers.
Amounts in excess of the $15,000 maximum annual deduction may be
depreciated.

Examples might include the cost to:

Provide accessible parking spaces, ramps, and curb cuts;
Provide telephones, water fountains, and restrooms which
are accessible to persons using wheelchairs;
widening walkways to at least 48 inches wide.

Accessibility standards, established under IRS Section 190 regulations, must
be met for expenses to be deductible.

Expenses not covered would be costs incurred for new construction, a 
complete renovation of a facility or public transportation vehicle, or the normal replacement of depreciable property.

 

For further information, see:

Architectural/Transportation Tax Deduction - Barrier Removal:   IRS Publication
535 (See Chapter 8) - Business Expenses   (PDF - Requires Adobe Reader)

Go to Chapter 8, Costs You Can Deduct or Capitalize, in Publication
535.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employer Incentives Publication

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Oregon Tax Credits For Employers

 

The following programs may be subject to change.  Be sure to check with the Oregon Department of Revenue for current information!   Visit their web site at:

Oregon Department of Revenue

 

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Oregon First Break Program

The Oregon First Break Program provides an Oregon State tax credit for
Oregon employers who hire targeted youth that face significant barriers
to employment, including youth with disabilities.

The Program authorizes a tax credit for wages paid to each eligible youth
hired.  The Program is administered by the Oregon Employment Department
and is operated by community-based organizations approved by the
Oregon Employment Department.

For further information, see:

Oregon First Break Program  (Oregon Employment Department)

 

Oregon's Preferred Worker Program

Oregon's Preferred Worker Program enables employers who maintain
Oregon workers' compensation insurance to not pay workers' 
compensation insurance premiums on a Preferred Worker for up to
3 years from the date the worker starts work.  A Preferred Workers
is an employee with a permanent disability as a result of a disabling
compensable injury or disease sustained on the job in Oregon.

The employer receives 50 percent wage reimbursement for the
Preferred Worker for six months.  Job modifications are limited to
$25,000 on the claim.  The following web site provides additional
program benefit information.

For further information, see:

Oregon's Preferred Worker Program  (Oregon Workers' Compensation)

 

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Washington State Tax Credits For Employers

 

The following companion bills were introduced during the 2002 legislative session:

HB 1526 -  Providing Tax Credits for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities

SB 5611 -  Providing Tax Credits for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities

 

To check the status of these bills, or to read the text of the bills, see the following
web site:

Washington State Legislature Web Site

At the web site, and using the web site search feature, enter the above House Bill or Senate Bill number.

 

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Building Up Your Work Experience

 

When you begin applying for jobs, employers will likely ask -  What work experience do you have?

Employers are more likely to hire someone with work experience and a proven track record - someone who can provide references the employer can contact for information regarding your work performance.  Quite simply, employers don't like to gamble.  They want to lower their risk as much as possible.  And quite honestly, an applicant with no prior work experience or job references is viewed as a gamble.

If you're a student or person with no prior work history, you may be asking:  How can I get work experience and references employers want for entry-level jobs if no one will hire me without experience?  How can I possibly gain a competitive edge over other applicants?

By thinking out of the box, you'll be surprised to discover the number of ways you can gain work experience to increase your chances of getting hired.  Following is just a partial list of possible ways.  

As you look over the following list, keep in mind experience doesn't have to be paid experience.  Non-paid experience can be just as valuable to employers.  It's the experience and work record that counts.  And references.  Good references.

 

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Ways to Gain Work Experience and Job References

 

What You Can Do on Your Own:

Yard work for others

Housework for others

Babysitting

Pet-sitting or providing dog walking services for others

House-sitting or caring for neighbors' homes while they're away

Running errands or providing assistance to an elderly 
neighbor, friend, or family member

Providing typing services to others

Assisting others with computer training needs

Tutoring a neighbor's child

Helping a neighbor plant and maintain a garden

Assisting a neighbor on a home project

What You Can Do Through Your School or College:

Volunteering to help with school or college events

Volunteering to assist school or college employees

Participating in a school- or college-sponsored work 
experience program

Participating in an internship related to your major

Participating in a major-related Cooperative Work 
Experience program offered through the college

Serving on a committee

Providing tutoring assistance or instructional support
at your school or college

Providing clerical assistance

Volunteering to answer phones, greet and direct visitors,
run errands, or copy and collate paperwork

What You Can Do Through a Club, Church or Organization:

Volunteering to help with an event or fund-raising activity

Volunteering to help work on a newsletter - stapling, folding,
stuffing envelopes, and labeling

Volunteering to provide office help and support - typing,
answering phones, copying, and filing

Volunteering to work on a phone bank by making calls

What You Can Do in the Community:

Volunteering at an animal shelter or animal rescue organization

Volunteering in a library or school-sponsored children's reading
program

Volunteering at a nursing care facility

Volunteering at a local food bank or homeless shelter

Volunteering at a thrift store operated by a nonprofit organization

Volunteering to work on a political campaign - phone calling, 
distributing leaflets, and preparing mailings

Volunteering to work on an environmental clean-up or 
restoration activity

Serving on a committee

 

As you can see, there are many ways to get experience!  This is just a sample list, and no doubt you can think of many other ideas.

No matter what type of work you do, you'll be able to build a list of references.  Be sure to ask each person you work with if you can use his or her name as a possible reference.  Make note and file the person's name, address, and phone number so you'll have contact information you'll need when you apply for a job.

 

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What Employers Look For

 

As you get ready to prepare applications, write your resume, and get ready for interviews, you may be wondering  -   What are employers looking for?  What do employers want?

Quite simply, the answer is  low-risk employees.

Not only are employers looking for workers with needed qualifications, employers are looking for workers who demonstrate the following characteristics:

 

Commitment

Employers desire workers who are more likely to stay on the job for a period
of time to avoid the time and expense of having to retrain new workers. 

Employers look closely at the length of time an applicant has worked for 
other employers, and how frequently the applicant has changed jobs in the
past.  If you show a steady long-term track record, you'll have an added 
"edge" among applicants.

 

Reliability

Employers desire workers they can depend on to get the work done.

Employers look for signs of responsibility.  If you have a track record of
achieving accomplishments in school, extracurricular activities, volunteer
assignments, or previous paid jobs, you'll have an advantage over other
applicants.

If you're punctual and arrive to interviews on time, you'll have an advantage
as well.  Employers will only hire applicants they feel will be responsible
and reliable on the job.

 

Interest

Employers desire workers who have an interest in the job and the company.

Employees who enjoy what they do and are well-matched for the job will
experience far greater job satisfaction - and will more likely stay with the
company for a longer period of time.  You'll have an advantage if you display
genuine enthusiasm and interest in the job and the company.

 

Compatibility

Employers desire workers who are likable and  will be compatible team 
players.

Employers look for applicants who get along well with others, and whose
working styles, methods, and personal traits seem well-suited for the
company.  Simply stated, employers look for applicants who will fit in
and work well with an established team.  You'll have an advantage if you
appear friendly, cooperative, and likable - and you project a positive
team spirit.

 

Professionalism

Employers desire workers who adhere to workplace standards in their
communication, dress, and conduct.

Employers look for applicants who present themselves professionally
in applications, resumes, and interviews.  Professional appearance
and conduct are a must at all times.  You'll have an advantage if you
consistently look and act professional.

 

Confidence

Employers desire workers who feel confident in their ability to do the work.

Employers are attracted to applicants who project a "can-do" attitude, and
project confidence in their ability to meet job demands.  You'll have an
advantage if you project inner confidence in your abilities to get the job
done.

 

Perseverance

Employers desire workers who can complete job tasks in a timely manner.

Employers look for applicants who demonstrate an ability to stick to tasks
and complete work assignments by set deadlines.  You'll have an advantage
if you can demonstrate an ability to stick to tasks and achieve goals through
your accomplishments and achievements.

 

Coping

Employers desire workers who can work under pressure and manage stress.

Employers look for workers who can perform effectively under stressful
conditions and maintain professionalism.  You'll have an advantage if you
can cite examples demonstrating how you absorb and cope with stress, 
and how you effectively handle stressful situations in a professional manner.

 

Attitude

Employers desire workers who help create and build a positive work 
environment.

Employers look for applicants who display a positive attitude toward work
and appear to be positive by nature.  Simply stated, positive-minded people
create a more positive and healthy work environment.  

You'll have an advantage if you project a positive attitude and spirit!

 

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Reasons Why People are Hired

 

According to employers, the following are reasons why employers select and hire applicants:

 

Professional and neat personal appearance

Likable; friendly

Shows ability to be a good team player

Possesses required skills and training

Expresses information clearly

Has good awareness of strengths and abilities

Shows interest and enthusiasm

Has clear career goals

Demonstrates confidence and poise

Does not emphasize money and benefits

Shows willingness to start at entry-level

Shows tact and courtesy

Shows maturity

Shows a positive attitude

Shows an ability to solve problems

Shows respect for the interviewer

Displays positive attitude about past employers

Displays genuine interest in the company and job

Is well-informed about the company and job

Makes eye contact with the interviewer

Application form is complete and neat

Shows sense of humor

Arrives promptly for interview

Expresses appreciation for interviewer's time

Asks questions about the job

Gives clear and direct responses to questions

Shares things in common with the interviewer

Has realistic salary expectations

Shows responsibility

Has a good work record

Shows willingness to learn and upgrade skills

Shows flexibility

Displays a strong work ethic

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