First of all, let me assure you, that almost EVERYONE has gaps in their employment history! Just because you’re disabled does not mean you should approach your resume or your upcoming job interview any differently than anyone else. Here are some tips that may increase your success in the process of obtaining your next employment opportunity:
- Gaps Happen—to anyone! As mentioned above, almost everyone has gaps in their employment history. Layoffs due to a struggling economy or Covid are both current and have happened to many people, disabled or not. People who are not disabled take time off for surgery, medical treatment, family issues (having a child), or to go to school. All of these apply to everyone not just those with disabilities.
- Be prepared to explain the gaps without including information about your disability or medical conditions. For example: If you are returning to the workforce, but your disability prevents you from doing what you did before you can explain by saying, “I realized that driving truck was not something that I wanted to do anymore. I’ve decided that I would like to work in an office setting where my hours are predictable and I will be able to spend more time with my family.” Another explanation for time off due to health reasons could be, “I needed to take some time off work to focus on my health. That issue is now resolved and I am ready to go to work.”
- Remember, it is up to you whether you choose to disclose your disability to a potential or current employer. You are not required to do so, unless you choose or need to request accommodation for that job.
- Use your previous work history to demonstrate that you are a reliable individual that you did your job diligently and were promoted or given additional responsibilities (supervising other employees, training new hires, etc.). Additionally, there are qualities that you’ve developed directly as a result of your disability that make you an asset to any hiring manager. Here are a few to think about!
- Patience and determination to get things done, despite setbacks.
- Creative in providing solutions and ideas for solving challenges
- Dependable- You don’t take your ability to work for granted. People with disabilities generally take fewer days off, take less sick leave, are more loyal and stay in jobs longer than other workers.
- Utilize skills used in volunteer and or school activities to showcase organizational skills. Put on a garage sale and managed taking cash and giving change? Perfect for a cashier position! Organized a school or church sports activity? Perfect for working with people, deadlines and details! Worked in the kitchen at a summer camp? Demonstrates ability to multitask, follow directions, meet deadlines, plan menus and follow health and safety regulations.
While these are some of the tools we utilize in advising our clients when they are preparing for job interviews, we often brainstorm with each client on how to address their disability with each potential interview for a specific job. That’s one of the reasons we say “We’re here for you throughout the entire process!” Whether you are recently recovering from a disabling condition and are seeking Social Security Benefits, or you’ve been disabled for a while and know that you want or need to do more to make ends meet and raise your quality of life. We are here to guide you in each step along the way!!
‘Till next time…have a great week! Questions? Call me! 866-687-1842 or email me at Becky@MPES.net