Using disability as a strength when applying for jobs

For years, James Gower followed the advice of career advisers who told him to hide his disability on job applications. He thought disclosing his disability was akin to pointing out his weaknesses.

“My biggest fear when applying for graduate roles was that my disability would mean I’d be phased out or not considered to be up to standard,” Gower wrote.  “It’s an incredibly difficult position to be in. How do I accurately, yet positively, portray my disability? When, if at all, do I disclose my disability to my potential employer? And, how can I be sure my disability doesn’t affect my ability to do my job, especially once I’ve been hired and I’m in the working environment for real?”

By not disclosing his disability, Gower, who has cerebral palsy, was hiding his true self. And eventually he realized the advice he was following for years was wrong.

“It quickly became apparent that the sooner I was open about my disability, the sooner the employer could consider reasonable adjustments and see past my potential disadvantages,” he wrote.

“My disability has started to enable me to make a difference. Working for a multinational firm I’ve been able to promote disability awareness on a larger scale. There is still a long way to go. Disability is such a broad definition, and a disability can affect each person in such a variety of ways, but that, in my view, is even more reason to continue to broadcast the best things about disability.”

You can read James Gower’s entire article here.


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