A career planning and employment resource for people who are blind or partially sighted

Career advancement Tip Sheet

The following tips will help you advance in your career. Reviewing these ideas could help you get a pay raise or a promotion. For additional information on career advancement strategies, please visit the Working Life Resources section.

  • Be sure to keep a written copy of your job description for reference. You’ll want to review it periodically to ensure that you’re meeting the expectations outlined for your position. If you have any questions about these, ask your immediate supervisor for clarification.
  • Find out when your performance will be evaluated and what key elements will be included in the evaluation. Be sure that you’re keeping track of your progress in meeting your employer’s expectations. If you’re unsure, ask for feedback before your performance evaluation. 
  • If your supervisor indicates that you need to do more or less of some aspect of your work, follow his or her guidance. Check in periodically to see whether the change requested of you is to your supervisor’s satisfaction. 
  • Even if you’re not scheduled for an annual or semi-annual performance evaluation, ask your supervisor for feedback on your performance so that you know how you’re doing compared to your co-workers. Ask for specifics on how you can improve your performance.
  • Ask your supervisor what knowledge, skills, and abilities he or she is interested in seeing from you to consider you for a raise or a promotion. Again, ask for specifics: what can you do differently or what can you do more of to qualify for career advancement or a raise. 
  • Do what you are told to do to get a raise or promotion and document your efforts. When you meet with your supervisor, be prepared to describe what you’ve accomplished and how you’re meeting the goals. 


There are two ways to approach finding a mentor. You can find someone at your place of work who is doing the same job as you or who used to do your job and has since been promoted. Or, you can seek out a mentor who also has vision loss who is working in a job that is similar to yours. Given that the majority of workers are not disabled, you’ll likely have to look outside your own workplace for a mentor with vision loss. The key is to find someone you trust and who is interested in guiding you in your work.

Finding a mentor at your place of work

  • First, let your immediate supervisor know that you’d like to connect with someone on the job whom he or she would recommend as a prospective mentor. Ask your supervisor what makes the person being recommended a good candidate as a mentor and make note of the attributes for future reference.
  • Introduce yourself to the prospective mentor and let the person know that your immediate supervisor has recommended them as a mentor for you. Explain that you’re new in your position, new to the company, and/or new to the career field. 
  • Let the person know what you’d like to learn from him or her and make it clear that you’ll follow their lead on how often to meet, where to meet, and when to start and stop the process. Ask for guidance concerning the job and what will be expected from you as you grow in your position. 
  • If this person takes you on in a mentoring relationship, pay attention to the information that he or she shares with you and be sure to take notes. Come to meetings prepared; ask questions about what you’re doing, how you can improve your productivity, or any other feature of the job. Let the mentor know how what you’ve learned has helped you. Do as your mentor suggests, unless you have a good reason not to. If you find you need to ignore a piece of advice, be prepared to discuss your decision with your mentor. 

Finding a mentor outside your place of work

  • Follow the same basic steps if you seek a mentor who isn’t working for your company. For example, if you’re looking for another person with visual loss, you’ll want to approach the person you identify and explain that you’re seeking a possible mentor. Follow the previously described steps with this person in terms of how you interact. If you are unsure of where to find a prospective mentor who is blind or partially sighted, visit CareerConnect Canada (CareerConnect in the U.S.​) or a similar website in your country, if available. 
  • If you prefer face-to-face contact, consider joining a group or association that addresses issues related to people who are blind or partially sighted such as the Canadian Council of the Blind in Canada or the National Federation for the Blind in the U.S. Often, these organizations have conventions where you’ll have an opportunity to meet many other people who are blind or partially sighted. These conventions may also offer seminars related to career planning.  
  • If you’re not looking for a mentor with vision loss, but you’d prefer to find a mentor outside of your company, consider attending professional meetings or conferences to meet people who work in the same career area as you. If there’s a labour union available to join where you work, there may be mentoring opportunities available through the union. If you are unsure about what professional organization or group to join, ask your supervisor and co-workers what groups they belong to and what conferences or meetings they routinely attend. LinkedIn is another good place to find professional groups – both online and offline.

Some final thoughts on career advancement

  • Remember that to advance in your career or to get a raise, you must be productive and do more than is required, take on additional responsibilities over time and be willing to help others learn the jobs you’ve mastered.
  • At a minimum, you must ensure that you are doing what is required to keep your current job. Take a moment to review the Keeping your Job Tip Sheet. 
  • Document how you’ve improved over time, what new responsibilities you’ve taken on, and how you help others. Take that documentation to your employer when you ask for a promotion or a raise. You must be able to show evidence of why you should be chosen over others for promotions or raises.

If the company you are working for doesn’t respond appropriately to your requests for advancement, you can begin to look elsewhere to see if you can improve your income or role with another company.

However, don’t leave a job until you have another offer and don’t slack off in a current job because you’re thinking of leaving. You want the best recommendation that you can secure when you depart and you’ll find that it’s easier to find a job if you have a job than if you don’t.​​​

Success Stories

Visit the Success Stories section to access video, audio and print interviews with individuals who are blind or partially sighted enjoying meaningful careers

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Programs and agencies that offer assistance with finding and obtaining mentors can be found in the Preparing for Work Resources section

​Visit this Resources section