Your self-directed employment assistant
When you apply for a job, it can be really unnerving. Everything from perfecting your resume to tracking down the necessary references to creating the perfect ensemble for your interview. This is completely normal and should be expected of almost everyone--unless of course you are fortunate to have self-esteem of steel!
If you are an individual living with a disability, whether it is a visible or invisible one, there is an added stressor to an already large list when looking for and trying to obtain a job. As a young woman living with a visible disability, I know this to be very true.
We live in a world where individuals are judged and stereotyped at face value. I am guilty of this, as I am sure you are, as well as the rest of humanity. But when it comes to finding a job, just like gender, race, and sexual orientation, it is against the law to discriminate against an individual with a disability.
Knowing this, I hope you are all more self-assured in your search for that perfect job. The one particular challenge that occurs for an individual with a disability is disclosure. This is when you reveal to the potential employer you are applying to that you have a type of disability. In my past experience, knowing which moment to disclose this information requires you to master the fine art of disclosure.
In a perfect world, this would never be an issue. But indeed our world is imperfect and we have to accept that others will pass judgments on us. This is where strategy comes into play.
In my opinion, disclosure should come at the very end of a phone interview. This gives you the duration of your interview to demonstrate to the potential employer how qualified you are and what a wonderful asset you would be to their team of employees. Then as the interview is wrapping up, the employer almost always will ask the interviewee if there is anything else they would like to add. At this point you can reveal that you are an individual living with a disability. You may want to briefly describe your potential limitations, but throughout this process maintain a positive tone about your situation. If you believe in you, then most likely the interviewer will believe in you too.
The case is different for the actual application process and can vary from job to job. If the application asks you to add any information that the potential employer should keep in mind, briefly describing your disability would be something you could write about in that portion. If you are called to come in for an interview after all this, then as I mentioned above is when you can disclose any disability you might have. This is important for the interviewer to know so that they can make sure they meet with you in a location that is accessible for you, or in an environment that is conducive to your needs.
Hopefully this entry has helped you and inspired you to think along the lines that you are going to be exceptional in whatever existence you inhabit. Glasses, wheelchair, blonde hair, hearing aids, crutches, introvert, blue eyes, man, woman, black, white, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you are, just know that you are gonna be a good one.