TOP TIPS FOR JOB SEARCHING
So job hunting is hard am I right? Well, have you ever considered what happens if you add a disability into the mix? Well, it doesn't exactly help your situation if anything it makes it 100 times harder.
Recently I read an article about disabled job seekers and it stated that research shows disabled people have to apply for 60% more roles than the average person, to be able to get into employment. Now I know what a lot of you are thinking. There must be schemes out there to help disabled people get into work. Well if there are they are very hard to find.
Also, a lot of people seem to think that disabled access isn't an issue when looking for work when really this is the biggest issue we come across. Yes, there is legislation that states reasonable adjustments should be made to the workplace should a disabled individual need them. However, there is a sub-clause that states if it's financially harmful to the business to adapt to the workplace, then they do not have to do it. In addition to this, some employers still have a very small-minded approach to those with disabilities. There is a common misconception that we are unsuitable for the role because we don't have the mental or physical capacity to complete the role. When realistically nine times out of ten this is not the case.
So now I've got some of the moaning out the way, here are some top tips for helping you get into employment as a disabled individual.
1. GET IN TOUCH WITH RECRUITMENT AGENCIES
Get in touch with a few recruitment agencies and just make them aware of your needs. That way when they are looking for roles that may be suitable for you, the guessing is taken out of the equation. Also find out whether your local council has a recruitment section, because they may be able to provide employment opportunities or apprenticeship opportunities. As it's the council, they tend to be a lot more 'law-abiding' and a lot more open to equal opportunities, along with a good pension scheme and overall job security.
2: GET YOURSELF ONLINE
Now I know what you are thinking, I'm not confident enough for that. Well, give it a go. Create a video CV just explaining who you are, what your interests are and what career you would like to get into. I'll admit, this is a new technique I've only just been introduced to, but I have had a lot of success posting a video like this on LinkedIn and getting a recruitment agency to shout it out to their 'connections'. Off the back of this, I got 6 interviews. So it's worth a go. If anything it will put you streams ahead of everyone else that sends in an average CV or personal profile. Plus it will make you stick out in their heads for the right reasons and not just your disability.
On the subject of LinkedIn get involved with other people in the industry you want to be involved in. Just start chatting with them generally and you will slowly develop connections; finding opportunities that those connections can offer you. In other words, get active on LinkedIn.
3: FIND ORGANISATIONS AND CONTACT THEM
Similar to the last tip, find organisations that you would like to work for, find their email address - it's best to find an actual person as opposed to a general office email, so something like marketing manager or CEO or HR manager, just so you have a point of contact with an actual person. Ping them over your CV and a little personal profile, you never know. I've actually managed to get one of my previous jobs this way so it's worth trying. There are a lot of companies who may be recruiting but not advertising on the channels you are looking on, this may also help you stand out in comparison to the other applicants.
4: LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
This one is important. Job hunting is scary, stressful and downright annoying. It can really affect your mental health, so it is important to take a breather and look after yourself. Make sure there is someone you can talk to - friend, partner, parent, carer or mentor, it may be difficult to talk to them and frustrating when they don't understand. However, it means that some of the pressure is taken off of your shoulders.
Give yourself set times to look at job websites, send emails, check through Linked In and have time away from job hunting. It is important to give yourself a break from it, else it will very easily overrule your life and, therefore, your mind.
Overall, the main point I'm trying to get across with this blog post is - yes it sucks that job opportunities are hard to find when you have a disability. There is no sugar coating it, there will be many opportunities you miss out on because of disabled access to offices or job locations. But, it is possible you just have to think outside of the box and do some stuff that others might not think of.
Remember that you're not the only one, there is a massive disabled community out there, never be afraid to reach out to people in similar situations because you never know- they might be able to help you.
Don’t let your wheels hold you back.