Does having a disability have an impact on career planning? Well, that depends because disability and planning your future are both complex areas – so here are some scenarios to consider.
You manage your disability really well
If you manage your disability very effectively at university with reasonable adjustments there is every likelihood that you will succeed in the job market. However, you will have to consider talking to the employer about what they can do to accommodate your needs. This could be before, during or after a job interview. If you decide not to disclose you may struggle in the role and you won’t be protected by the Equality Act 2010. As long as you are able to articulate your strengths effectively the employer will be happy to consider any reasonable alterations that may help.
What about if your health condition means that part time work would suit you best?
Talking to careers staff could help you identify roles and sectors with lots of flexibility or you could go down the route of applying for a full time job and then discussing more flexibility during the interview – tried and tested by me! And don’t forget about those adverts that actively encourage applications from those wanting to job share which can be the perfect solution.
Non visible disabilities
If you have a non visible disability which you don’t think will impact on your ability to do the job you may feel that there is no need to even consider it when planning your future. Just be careful though that there aren’t some blips in your cv which need explaining as employers can only take these into account if they know about your circumstances.
Some employers guarantee interviews to disabled applicants who meet the entry requirements which can be an ideal way to get your foot in the door with a company. Even those who don’t offer the two ticks scheme often welcome applications from a wide range of students – check their websites for staff networks or case studies indicating their commitment to diversity.
How you feel about your disability or health condition can really impact your thinking about career planning
I’ve met students on the autistic spectrum who’ve been really clear about all the advantages that brings, in terms of, for example, attention to detail and ability to follow rules and regulations to the letter. On the other hand, if you’ve only just found out you have dyslexia, having struggled for years at school, you may be very angry at a system that seems to have let you down. In this case it would be a good idea to let the dust settle before launching into a discussion with an employer, as then you’ll be able to highlight your creative, lateral thinking which so many of the rest of us lack!
Find out what works for you
Deciding what you’re going to do in the future is very individual taking in all the aspects of who you are when you arrive at university and who you want to be in society when you leave. Our role as careers staff is to support you in gaining experiences that broaden your strengths and enable you to explore all the options open to you after graduation. We are professionally trained to be impartial and person centred – so we won’t tell you what to do but we will help you move forwards.
To find out more about disclosing a disability have a look at these short video clips.