Job hunting is hard.
But like so many other things in life, job hunting can be that much harder if you have some sort of disability.
We all know the stats but I think that this one is the one to focus on: there is 50% unemployment rate amongst disabled people in the UK.
Now lets also clear something up from the start, the traditional 9-5 is not going to suit a lot of people whose conditions are different from day-to-day.
That being said, for many disabled people, it is not necessarily the nature of their conditions but other things that are holding them back.
I’ve worked a number of different roles since 2012, so I thought that I would share some of what I’ve learned.
Disabled People Have A lot of Skills
The first thing to talk about before job hunting, is what skills do you have?
If you are disabled then you probably have acquired all sorts of skills that you never realised you had.
For example, if you have a Personal Assistant, then that means you have employed and managed another person. This is amazing experience that not many people will have.
Likewise, do you constantly find yourself filling out paperwork for different things, then you won’t be too bad at admin.
Many disabled people often think that they lacks skills and experience, but skills and experience can be gained in a variety of ways.
Think about what you are good at and why.
Flexible Working and Following Your Passions
Flexible working is a now an accessible way to build your confidence. Taking on small projects can be a great way for you to build a portfolio. Working in this way can mean that you work when YOU feel able to.
It is also the case that if you want to develop your skills in certain areas such as coding or graphic design, freelance work is great way to build your experience.
Should You Volunteer?
Volunteering is a great way to build experience and further skills.
That is obvious though right?
The other thing about volunteering is that it can give you much needed confidence.
For many disabled people, the prospect of working can be very scary for a number of reasons.
- Your condition being different from day-to-day.
- Employer bias.
- Being asked to do things that you are uncomfortable.
Volunteering can put all those questions to bed by giving you the direct experience that these questions can overcome.
Do You Disclose Your Disability?
Most people see having a disability as having some sort of weakness, and in many respects it can be, but living with a disability can also endow you with many useful qualities.
Qualities such as
You can through your cover letter and interview demonstrate why your disability has helped you become the ideal person for the job.
What Help Can You Get?
Access To Work (A2W) is a government backed scheme to help disabled people into work. It can provide you with in work support, specialist equipment and access to transport.
A2W is relatively easy to apply for and can help you in all sorts of unusual ways.
For example, A2W could contribute toward the cost of a wheelchair. They could pay for someone to support you at work.
Although you may think that A2W is just going to create more paper work for you, it is a relatively straightforward process with not so much monitoring involved.