Talking confidently to an employer about an acquired disability

The first time talking about an acquired disability to a prospective employer can be intimidating.

While there may be lots of things going through your mind to say (for example, details of how the disability came about), confidently talking about this often involves a different starting point –

Consider the employers’ point of view. They want the best candidates.

So think what they need to know about your disability so arrangements can be made that allow you to show you’re the best candidate. This helps both you and the employer.

For example –

Does it affect your grades so that you struggle make the entry requirements? Would you need specific support to complete a part of the recruitment process, such as an assessment centre? Would there need to be changes made in the workplace and/or job tasks?

Generally, employers don’t need to know anything else beyond the impact for them – and deciding at what stage to bring this topic up is based on when would it be advantageous for you to ask for adjustments.

Keep the information concise, such as ‘I have X, which sometimes causes difficulty with Y, so it would if Z’

Next, list strengths that have come as a result of having the disability, such as tenacity, determination, negotiation, problem solving. How can these help the employer? Mention these too, for example – ‘From this experience, I have strengths in A and B which would be useful when doing D and E in this role’.

For more information about talking about disability to employers and identifying what support you’ll need, see some of our other posts and also speak to your careers and disability services.

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