Writing about disability in cover letters

A cover letter can be a good place to share information about disability. Here are some ideas of how to do this effectively:

Motivation – it might be your disability is part of your motivation for applying for the role. Or it might be that having a disability gives you a natural affinity with the company / the department you’d be working in. Perhaps the company has a staff disability network, or a commitment to EDI, and this is something that appeals to you.

Skills – for some disabled students, having / managing a disability or more than one disability, has enabled skills such as perseverance, being calm under pressure, time-management, empathy, and problem-solving to develop. In the cover letter, you could choose to write a specific example about organisation skills for example, referencing your disability.

Maybe you have gained leadership skills from playing an active role in a disabled students society at your university.

Don’t give an example about your disability for every skill. The employer will also be interested in hearing about your work experience, industry knowledge, and all-round suitability for the role.

You may feel the skills you have aren’t anything to do with disability and have come solely from work employment, education, volunteering, or extra-curricular.

Knowledge & experience – perhaps the role that interests you requires the candidate to have experience of motivating others or have knowledge of particular software. You could choose to reference your disability, providing context of how this has given you software knowledge, for example.

Adjustments – in a stand-alone paragraph (the penultimate one perhaps) you could talk about disability. This might be because you want to let the employers know you have a disability and want to give some detail and/or it might be you want to let them know you require adjustment/s. It’s a good idea to focus on sharing information that is relevant for the employer to have. There is an example of how to do this here.

You might not see yourself as disabled and so you might prefer to instead write e.g. ‘I have a stammer which means….’ rather than use the word disability or disabled.

Edmund Lewis, AGCAS Disability Task Group, LSE Careers


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