If you have a disability and are looking for a job, you may encounter an additional set of concerns that other job seekers may not have to deal with. One issue is when to – and if you should — disclose the fact that you have a disability to potential employers. It is not a cut-and-dry issue and you may receive different job search advice from different people. Here are some things to consider at different stages of the job search process.
Should You Disclose on the Resume or Application?
If you are able to do the job despite your disability, it is not necessary to include it on your resume or on a job application. In many cases, putting that information out there up front can set you up for discrimination or preconceived notions before you can demonstrate that you are a good fit for the job. Disclosing a disability early could limit your number of interview invitations. Besides, the law – the Americans with Disabilities Act – is on your side if choose to withhold the information.
If you decide not to disclose, you should look at your resume to see if there are any activities that unintentionally indicate that you have a disability.
Before the Interview
If you need specific accommodations during the interview, you may have to disclose before the interview to allow the company to make preparations. For instance if you need a sign language interpreter, you definitely need to let them know ahead of time.
During the Interview
It is up to you if you want to disclose at this time. You can take time during the interview to educate your potential employer about your disability and how you would function within the job environment. However, while this could be beneficial, it may confuse your job picture. If you don’t get a job offer, you may not know if it was because you were not the right person for the job or if it was related to your disability.
However, if you do get a job offer, you should then disclose if you have a hidden disability that would require accommodation. Most accommodations are inexpensive and may only affect time management. Letting the employers know what might be required once both parties are interested is only fair.
No Disclosure Ever?
If you don’t need any special accommodations, you can keep your disability to yourself as long as it does not affect your ability to perform the job.
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