In part two of our ‘Tackling the Application Process & Being Open about Disabilities’ series, we are continuing the discussion on whether applicants should be open about their disability and what makes an application stand out.
Should I be open about my disability at the application stage?
It is your decision whether and when to be open about a disability and a careers adviser can help you to explore the pros and cons, so that you can make that decision. There are some exceptions, for example, if you have a condition like epilepsy that has health and safety implications – beyond these exceptions it is up to you.
A graduate I saw recently was advised by her friend not to be open about her disability on application forms. After numerous unsuccessful applications she decided to ignore this advice and successfully applied and got a great graduate job!
Take time to write a quality application
Research complete, you can now start writing your application. Written applications come in different formats, generally it is a covering letter and CV or an application form. Here are some general pointers:
- Application form questions are generally based on your interest in the role and organisation (commitment), competencies (skills) and personal strengths (behaviours).
- Have you researched the organisation thoroughly enough to address your interest in them and the role?
- Examine the job description: what specific skills and attributes are they looking for?
- Select recent and relevant competency examples from your university life and degree, extra-curricular activities and work experience. The ‘STAR’ approach here is an ideal way of articulating your skills.
- Quality check your letter writing etiquette – how to structure and avoid minor mistakes that will put your application in the ‘no’ pile e.g. ending your letter ‘Yours faithfully’ when writing to a named person, grammar and spelling errors. Structure, format and write your CV succinctly. You can also check our website for more information and resources on applications.
Checking before pressing send is a must! If you have a disability that affects your written communication skills (spelling and grammar) have your application checked by someone else before sending and use all the resources at your disposal.
This is now a commonly used term associated with being successful in the workplace and you will need more of this than other applicants (add link to resilience article). Legislation will support your path to employment but you cannot rely solely on it. Be persistent, curious and learn how to articulate your added value, abilities and diversity. In addition, make good use of disability services, your careers service and other support available to you.
Need further advice/guidance? Make sure to check out the resources available on our website and book an appointment to talk to us.