Job seeking skills for graduates with disabilitiesPosted: October 28, 2011
Guest blog from Niamh Hayes, Project Co-ordinator for GET AHEAD, the National Forum of Graduates with Disabilities
You might think there’s no difference in job hunting for graduates with disabilities and you’d be mostly right. All the usual tips apply, as listed on gradireland.com and elsewhere, such self- assessment, updating your CV, networking, research and so on. However, based on my experiences with employers and students with disabilities, there are some extra things to consider:
Disclosure: should I tell them, what should I tell them, when should I tell them, who, how, why….? It’s complicated, and it’s unique, and you have to work it out for yourself. But bear in mind, you know your disability better than anyone else and you are the best placed person to explain it and how it affects you. You can shape this any way you want. But do think about it.
Selling yourself: when it comes to a job, what’s important is that you convince someone you can do the job. Don’t go for jobs you can’t do (yes, I’m stating the obvious) and when talking to employers, don’t focus on what you can’t do, or share unnecessary information.
Research: if you’re not sure what a job involves, ask someone. Try to get some experience of jobs you think you’d like to do.
Supports: there are lots and lots of supports available and most employers are happy to put them in place if it means you’ll be able to do your job better. There are grants available for this and you can see more about these on the FÁS website.
Your rights: You cannot be discriminated against on the grounds of your disability; employers are obliged to take appropriate measures to enable a person who has a disability to have access to employment and to participate or advance in employment unless the measures would impose a disproportionate burden on the employer. You can find further information on the Equality Authority website.
So, yes, there can be extra things people with disabilities have to consider, but it all comes down to the same thing in the end – our unique strengths and weaknesses, where we want to use them, and how we prepare to get there.
On 11 November 2011, GET AHEAD is running Building the Future, a careers event to help students and graduates with disabilities with their job seeking skills.