Self-promote Your Disability as a Strength During an Interview | Disabled Person
The above picture is of a woman shaking the hand of a man in an interview.
Self-Promote Your Disability as a Strength During an Interview
1 in 4 people in the United States has a disability. That's 26% of the population.
As anyone with a disability knows, navigating a world not built for you is difficult. There are difficulties when there shouldn't be, ranging from lack of accessibility to judgment for something you aren't even in control of.
This definitely rolls over to help you land your dream job. Keep reading to discover how to self-promote your disability as a strength in a job interview.
Own Your Disability and Self-Promote the Advantages
Many people live with disabilities and have happy lives. There is no reason this shouldn't be the same for their careers!
It starts with the application process. And then you get to really shine during the interview. But how do you self-promote your disability as a strength? Find out below.
During the Application Process
In today's digital age, the application process can include pre-screening questions. And most applications have a self-disclosure area to let employers know if you have a disability.
It's important to not try and hide your disability if you need accommodation. Use examples of times you've thrived while navigating a challenge due to your disability. Be honest if it asks if you have any concerns or challenges that you'll need accommodation for.
During the Interview
During the interview is where you really get to showcase your achievements! Show them how highly competent you are in your job. If it's a new career, you'll want to focus on how you are adaptable and have transferable skills.
A few ways to show your strengths:
- Provide examples and achievements
- Focus on marketable and transferable skills
- Don't hide weaknesses
During the interview, you want to show them why they should hire you. Whether your disability is visible or not, you can highlight your strengths and abilities. Focus on what you can do, not what you can't.
Provide Examples and Achievements
Showing your strengths, achievements, and successes is important for a job interview. You want to wow the interviewer and make them want you on their team.
Just because you have a disability doesn't mean you can't have many accomplishments. Tell them about past awards won or how you improved a process that saved the company thousands of dollars.
Having strong examples to talk about during your interview is necessary to make a good impression. For each point or topic on your resume, you should have an example of achievement to back it up.
Focus On Marketable and Transferable Skills
Disabled and non-disabled people both need to focus on marketable and transferable skills. Some skills are important for any job, such as communications or time management. Others are very specific to the job you are applying for.
Study the job description. Understand what skills they require for the job and focus on those skills in the interview. When asked the "Tell me about a time when..." question, tie in one of the skills listed in the job description.
Talk About Any Weaknesses and How You Navigate Them
As with any job seeker, it's important you know your shortcomings and weaknesses before going to an interview. Research the job description and company to see where you may potentially have issues.
For example, if a key part of the job is public speaking and you're awful at it, you'll want to show them how you are resolving the issue. If there is something you can't do because of your disability, simply explain and then offer alternative solutions.
For example, the interviewer may want to know how you will visit different stations to observe workers if you are in a wheelchair. You can easily navigate this question by talking about how you can get assistance from someone else, use a different observation method, or suggest you plan observations ahead of time so the floor can be clear.
Be Honest if You Need Accommodations
If they ask if you need accommodations, be honest if you do. It won't make a good impression if you lie and then need them once hired. Be open and honest about your journey.
It'll probably impress the person you're talking to. How awesome you must be to go through life with daily struggles and still achieve what you have!
Know Your Rights Before Going to an Interview
Before going into an interview, you should understand the rights you have. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990. And it has a lot of rules around what employers cannot do when it comes to a disabled applicant or worker.
Many questions are illegal to ask, such as intrusive questions about your health. You do not have to answer these questions, but that could lead to them not considering you. It's recommended you state your health doesn't affect how you do your job or let them know you are uncomfortable with the question.
Disability disclosure is the concept that you only disclose what is necessary. If you have a visible disability, it's probably a good idea to address it briefly and move on to your achievements. However, if you have an invisible disability, you don't have to mention it at all.
Go Land Your Dream Job
Be confident. Know you awesome you are. Give the employer something to remember when discussing your achievements.
And remember your rights. Highlight how you are an empathetic, hardworking, and dedicated employee that has overcome so much already. Self-promote yourself as much as possible!
If you want to continue reading about how to navigate the job seeker landscape as a disabled person, check out our blog.