Your self-directed employment assistant
For our last topic on the subject of resumes, I will discuss with you all the matter of disclosure. For someone like myself who has had a visible disability her whole life, I am never really given a choice when it comes to keeping my disability a secret. At one point or another, my potential (or future) employer will know that I use a wheelchair. I do, however, have say in how and when I disclose to them that I have a disability, as do any of you who have a disability.
Choosing to disclose your disability status on your resume is a matter that should be handled delicately. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of course protects jobseekers from being discriminated by potential employers, but first you must ask yourself a few questions. Are you qualified for the job? Can you perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodations? If you answered yes to both of these questions then you are in good shape to be a viable candidate. When citing pertinent experience on your resume, be aware of whether or not any of it will directly indicate if you have a disability. For example, if you list that you were a participant in the Paralympics/Special Olympics, that’s a guaranteed clue that you in fact have a disability. Whereas if you list that you were a member of an American Sign Language club, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are someone who is hard of hearing. There’s nothing wrong with listing this type of experience, but it’s important to be aware of employers having preconceived ideas or inaccurate information about individuals with disabilities and what that would entail for a workplace to hire someone with specific needs. This touches on the topic that I wrote about in my last blog on Ableism. Of course there are instances when a particular employer is hoping to fill an open position with an individual who has a disability as an added edge of expertise, such as a Disability Services counselor, for example. Once you have submitted your application and resume, and are extended an invite for an interview, that is the moment you can decide to disclose. For me personally, when I’m offered an interview, I will casually ask the recruiter if their office is wheelchair accessible. That is a subtle way for me to inform my potential employer that I use a wheelchair.
Disclosure is a very important part of the job search process for individuals with disabilities. It depends on your unique situation, what your needs are, and your own personal preferences when it comes to disclosing. If you’d like to learn more about disclosure and how it relates to your resume, feel free to check out this really informative article I came across. As always, be sure to check out our informative Digital Tip on this topic, too. Until next month, I hope everyone stays safe and enjoys the beginning of 2019. See you in February!