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Should you indicate your Disability in the CV or Cover Letter?

Some people say that indicating your disability in a job application sells you out, but does it really sell you out?

From my personal experience, looking for a job and getting one as a person with a disability, is a hard endeavour. Not that it is easy for anybody else, but job finding for persons with disability is twice as hard.

In a survey I carried out by use of this questionnaire 87% of the respondents said they would be comfortable with an applicant indicating his disability on a job application, while 13% of the respondents thought otherwise. According to Daniel Mutuku, the Founder and Director at Careerpoint Solutions, it’s a bad idea to include your disability in an application. He says

« The main purpose of the cover letter is to show that you are the best candidate for the position. »
Daniel Mutuku, Founder, Careerpoint Solutions Kenya

I totally agree with him on this. The CV and cover letter should showcase your skills above all else. You should be able to show that you are competent enough and you will deliver.

Reasons why you should Indicate your Disability

Most people indicate their disability in job openings that favour persons with disability, which is an advantage. Here are some of the reasons why you need to communicate your disability early enough.

  • 1

    You will be more confident during the interview

    When you state your condition beforehand, you will not worry about how you are going to be received. I have been invited to two interviews without stating my condition. When I stated I could not talk, the interviewers assumed I could also not hear and they started saying how hard it was going to be for them to interview me. They were anxious and confused. I was never interviewed. In the next interview I went to, my confidence was not that good because of the first experience. 

  • 2

    To allow the interviewer to prepare what is needed for your interview

    For people with speech impairments, you will require a sign language interpreter, while those on wheelchair will need to access the building through the ramp. If you do not indicate your disability, you may be at a disadvantage. As for my speech disability, I don’t expect to be called by phone for an interview and I request to be notified via mail. For this reason I usually state my disability, although some recruiting managers still go ahead and call.

According to Rodgers Owoko a career trainer who has trained various persons with disabilities, if you are going to indicate your disability, you need to do it tactfully. He advises people with disabilities to state how the disability can be used as an advantage to others. He gave an example of a CV where the applicant said he helped his colleagues learn sign language.

One hiring manager was honest enough to tell me that in the previous company she worked for, having a disability was one of the criteria they used to eliminate the applicants. Even if you managed to get a job in such a company, it will be frustrating to work in an environment where the accomodation is low.

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