“By informing a potential employer at an early stage about a disability, you may be able to access essential benefits that will support your job search.”
There are several things to consider when approaching your disability on your CV. The primary consideration is “should I mention my disability at all?”. There’s no right or wrong answer, and there’s no legal obligation to declare a disability, so you need to choose the approach that’s right for you.
Don’t mention it!
You may decide not to mention your disability at all – after all, disability discrimination still exists, despite it being illegal. Bear in mind that a CV is basically your personal sales document, so if it doesn’t sell you there’s no reason to include it. The CV’s job is to secure you an interview, so anything that won’t support this aim should be eliminated.
The majority of disabilities will fall into this category, and it’s rare that we will advocate including a disability on a CV, but there are several good reasons to take the opposite approach depending on your situation, the job you’re applying for and the company you’re applying to work for.
By informing a potential employer at an early stage about a disability, you may be able to access essential benefits that will support your job search. These include access to Guaranteed Interview Schemes, reasonable adjustments at interview stage and peace of mind arising from having already addressed the elephant in the room. If you decide that addressing your disability on the CV is the way forward for you, we have some suggestions about how to cover it positively.
Cover a gap
If your disability has resulted in a gap between jobs on your CV, it can easily be covered in your career history. Use the heading “career break” and add the relevant dates. Under this header, list anything you achieved during this time such as courses or voluntary work. One of the bullet points should read along the lines of “Taking time out to recover from/manage/overcome issues arising due to [specific disability], now fully fit to return to work; doctor’s letter available on request”.
If your disability hasn’t resulted in a career gap, consider an Additional Information section – this should be placed at the bottom of your CV as it is less relevant than your skills, experience and qualifications. State the nature of your disability and try to quash any fears that a recruiter may have about employing someone with that particular disability. For example, you may say “Diagnosis of Autism, resulting in meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to following procedures” or “Registered Blind, with skill in delivering presentations and speeches without notes”.
Alternatively, you may choose to disclose your disability in a cover letter where you have more scope to allay any doubts, reflect on the positives and request reasonable adjustments to enable you to perform at your best in an interview.
However and whenever you choose to inform an employer, remember to focus on the positives and highlight what you can bring to the role and the business, irrespective of your disability.
We hope that the advice provided here is useful, if you have a disability and would like advice tailored towards you and your circumstances, please feel free to give us a call in the office on 01744 832 589