By K W Warburton, The Reluctant Spoonie

Applying for jobs in 2021 is difficult for any person. Especially if you are a young person at the start of their career. Applying for jobs has always been a challenge for me as a disabled person, even before the economic downturn and pandemic restrictions. Here are my tips for applying for jobs as a disabled person in 2021.

Since applying for jobs using these tips, I’ve had an 80% success rate in securing interviews. When filling out job applications, I use examples from my voluntary work, blog and paid employment. I currently work in the third sector (non-profit and charity).

1. Read the job description and person specification carefully

focused woman writing in clipboard while hiring candidate
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Read the job description and person specification carefully before you even start writing your application. Sometimes, the job may not be the right fit for you and your requirements. Personally, I avoid any job that requires ‘frequent travel’ or evening and weekend work. Go through the person specification and list examples from previous roles where you have demonstrated that behaviour. This will help you when you are filling out the application form or tailoring your CV.

Read Bear Hug’s Top Application Tips

If no job description or person specification is listed, then you can email the hiring manager to request one. This will also give you a sense of the company. As a disabled person, it is always best to work for a well-organised company in a well-defined role.

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2. The Cover Letter

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Write a new cover letter for each job. Make sure that you address each point in the person specification in your cover letter. I usually write a short paragraph for each with evidence from my previous jobs and voluntary work. Use the STAR format: Situation, Task, Action and Reward for maximum impact.

STAR worked example:

Situation: Working in a clothes shop

Task: Designing a new window display

Action: Designed new display using new stock

Reward: Sales of new stock increased

How to write up: When I worked as a retail assistant in a clothes shop, one of my tasks was to design new window displays for each new season. Using my fashion skills, I was able to design innovate new displays that caught the attention of people on the street. This ensured that my shop had a high footfall of customers and increased sales of 10% whenever we had new stock to display.

3. The CV

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Tailor your CV for each job application. Ensure that your CV covers all the points from the person specification as well. If you have already done some of the tasks from the job description in previous roles, highlight these using the Problem-Solution- Results format. From my interview feedback, I have found that those who have done the job before are most likely to get the job!

Problem- Solution – Results worked example:

Problem: Low engagement on social media

Solution: A new social media campaign

Results: Increased engagement from 3 to 5%

How to write up: Boosted Instagram engagement with a new campaign centred around ableism during the pandemic which increased engagement from 3 to 5% within four weeks.

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4. Application Questions

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When answering situational questions, always use the STAR format as mentioned previously. Highlight your achievements and choose examples that are relevant to the job description.

Pro Tip: Print your application and proofread before sending it. You can also use the Grammarly plugin to check your spelling and grammar as you write.

5. The Disability Declaration

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Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

When applying for jobs as a disabled person, it is up to you whether you declare your disability at the application stage. If you usually require accommodations for interviews, then I would declare at this stage. If you do not, then I would recommend waiting until you have secured the job.

I hope you find these tips useful. Happy job hunting!

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