Will my disability affect my graduate job application?

Added Date: 18th October 2013
Will my disability affect my graduate job application?

Applying for graduate jobs is stressful enough, without having to worry how employers will view your disability

"A lot about mental illness makes you sound like you're a lazy person," says Christina Nelson, who is about to embark on her third year studying law at School of African and Oriental Studies.

Christina has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and generalised anxiety. She says that, when it comes to applying for internships or graduate jobs, "disclosure to employers is complicated and a challenge, because you don't always know exactly what you'll be doing in that job, and whether your condition will be relevant."

Many disabilities, of course, aren't obvious and students may find it tempting not to let a potential employer know in advance. As Christina says: "I have a mental disorder that really does affect my life, but it doesn't affect me at interview."

Disclosure is one of the trickiest dilemmas facing any disabled job applicant in a market where graduate-level employment is highly competitive, says Helen Cooke, founder of My Plus Consulting. She is a wheelchair user herself, and works with organisations interested in graduate recruitment to help them to understand and address issues around disability.

Despite equal opportunities legislation which makes it illegal to discriminate against applicants on the grounds of disability, students still worry that an employer's view of them will be tainted if they tell. There is also the embarrassment or even shame factor, Cooke points out.

Find out more by clicking the website link.

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