Communication Technology Can Help Students and Recent Graduates in Job Search

The Endevor The Endeavor, Winter 2010

Thousands of high school seniors will graduate this spring and begin hunting for employment. Communications technology can empower deaf graduates to effectively compete with their hearing counterparts.

Sorenson Communications Vice President of Community Relations Ron Burdett, visits deaf schools across the country to share his Career Training Program. He teaches deaf and hard-of-hearing high school seniors how to be more effective in their job searches. Some of Burdett’s principles taught in his training are:

  • Leverage mobile technology to your advantage when trying to land a job interview. Nearly all high school students carry cell phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs), such as Blackberrys® or SideKicks®. Coupled with Sorenson Communications’ SIPRelay®, deaf job seekers can receive calls (in the form of text messages) when they are away from their home videophones.
  • A SIPRelay call is when a hearing person calls the local 10-digit SIPRelay number listed on a deaf graduate’s resumé, and the call is answered by a Sorenson Communications Assistant (CA). The CA relays the hearing individual’s call via text to the deaf individual’s cell phone using AOL Instant Messenger™ (AIM) or to their PDA using RIM®. The deaf individual can then relay a text message to the CA suggesting a time for a follow-up VRS call with the potential employer, or the deaf individual can set up a job interview time on the spot. By using SIPRelay, students and graduates have a better chance of not missing important calls.
  • If the initial interview is a phone interview, the job seeker should consider requesting that the interview take place through a Video Relay Service (VRS) call. Conducting the interview over VRS empowers applicants to interview in what is oftentimes their first language – American Sign Language (ASL)–which can lead to increased confidence in responses and a positive first impression with the interviewer.
  • Quality VRS interpreting during a job interview is imperative as the interpreter conveys the applicant’s attitude, professionalism and personality. Sorenson Communications employs the highest-quality interpreters and continually invests in their ongoing education and professional development in an effort to better serve users of Sorenson VRS. Using a qualified and professional interpreter can make the difference between a good interview and one that is outstanding.
  • Once a deaf graduate has been offered a job, he or she should request that a videophone be installed in the workplace. This will empower the new employee to use VRS communication while on the job at no cost to the employer, and using VRS in the workplace can significantly increase deaf worker productivity and communication ease. VRS is not for use when the person the employee is communicating with is in the same room, but the videophone will allow the new employee to have access to telecommunication in the same way as hearing counterparts. See how a young professional moved ahead in her career using SVRS in her workplace at

VRS and SIPRelay technology is ushering in a new era of functional equivalency for deaf individuals. Students and recent graduates can take advantage of these tools to be more effective, more productive and more satisfied with communication during interviews and in the workplace.

To learn more about SIPRelay, visit To learn more about SVRS or apply for a videophone, visit

From The Endeavor. Reprinted with permission. Back to Article List