Applying for jobs is stressful at the best of times but for people with a disability or health concerns it can be even more worrying, with questions about discrimination and how and when to disclose top of the list.
However as someone who has suffered serious health problems in the past I really believe that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, particularly when it comes to job hunting. The key is to think about how your disability or health concern will make you a stronger candidate in the eyes of employers.
Adaptability – Coping with a disability or health problem means that you will be adaptable, having worked out individual ways to overcome everyday problems. Being adaptable will show employers you will be able to respond and cope effectively with a range of situations.
Time management – Whether its hospital visits, the need to take regular breaks or simply because carrying out certain tasks takes you longer than most, having a disability or health problem means you will have developed time management skills. The ability to plan and prioritise your workload will impress employers.
Empathy – I think that having health problems or a disability means you are more likely to be able to identify with somebody else’s feelings. If you want to work in a customer facing environment empathy will be essential.
Negotiation – If you’ve got a disability or health concern chances are you’ve had to negotiate, be that with health care providers about treatments or university staff about deadlines or access to buildings. Negotiation will be a key skill in working life.
Commitment– let’s face it it’s much more of an achievement to get a degree if you have a disability or health concern than it is if you don’t! Employers will be impressed by your commitment.
This is by no means a complete list, have a look on our website for more information on transferable skills. If you have a disiblity and are worried about disclose have a look at our resource ‘Employment support/ advice on disclosure for disabled students and graduates’.