The 1994 passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provided people with disabilities unprecedented protections and advocacy and, for many, enabled them to pursue the previously out-of-reach dream of a career. In my practice, one of my specialties and personal passions is assisting those with disabilities in beginning, continuing, and restarting their careers.
Though the ADA was (and still is) groundbreaking--and the shameless Shakespearean riff in this blog post's title aside--discrimination against those with disabilities does, unfortunately, still exist. Indeed, this New York Times report cites a joint Rutgers/Syracuse study showing that those who mention a disability in their cover letters have a high probability of their applications not being considered, regardless of how qualified they are; the results were statistically significant.
This study backs up my long-term practice of counseling clients in this population to not bring up their disabilities until it is absolutely necessary. For those with visible disabilities, especially those requiring some form of assistive device, this is typically during the face-to-face interview (occasionally, it may be the phone interview for those who use TTY or assistive speech). For those with invisible disabilities, it's best not to disclose--if possible--until after your benefits are in effect. I give this advice based on actual experiences of people I know, not just on research and impersonal anecdotes, and have even done experiments myself to gauge responsiveness whose results mirror the findings of the study I cited.
It's common to feel self-conscious about a disability, especially when it's recently acquired. A healthier approach, though, and one that's more likely to land you a job, is to try to view your disability just like you would your eye color, shoe size, or the existence of freckles on your nose and be just as unlikely to proactively mention it to potential employers.
The journey toward a better job or career advancement begins with a better resume. For help with yours--whether you have a disability or not--contact Melissa Kelley CPRW today at 720-588-9793 or email@example.com. Book a free 15-minute consultation here.
Melissa Kelley CPRW has more than 25 years' editing and writing experience, as well as a background in automotive purchasing and secondary education (English/social studies/French); she has specifically been writing resumes since 2006. Her motivation to write resumes began when a relative went nearly six months without a response to his resume, all due to a simple misspelling that Microsoft Word didn't flag as a spelling error. Within six weeks after Melissa provided a simple copyedit to his resume, her relative had a new job.