Stephen Hawking’s Career Advice – disability doesn’t have to define you

Having been confined to a wheelchair for much of his adult life world renowned physicist Stephen Hawking – who celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday – knows a thing or two about transcending limitations.

​While career challenges come in all shapes and sizes disability is one of the most visual. Tweet: While career challenges come in all shapes and sizes disability is one of the most visual @Angel_HR_UK #MyUSPMonday https://goo.gl/pXLpPx​
​To paraphrase Stephen Hawking: There is no disguising a wheelchair.

Although disabled people are protected from discrimination by the ​The Equality Act 2010​ research conducted by ​greatwithdisability.com​ found that 77% of disabled job applicants were still afraid to disclose their disability to potential employers!

But James Gower of Big Four accountant ​Ernst & Young (E&Y)​ who has cerebral palsy wrote in ​The Guardian:

“Recruiters want to hire real people, with real experiences, and having a disability means you have a unique perspective, an inherent ability to overcome adversity.”

Presenting your challenges as an advantage can be key to getting interviews AND setting you apart from a mass of generic applications. ​Tweet: Presenting your challenges as an advantage can be key to getting interviews @Angel_HR_UK #MyUSPMonday https://goo.gl/pXLpPx
What to do now?

For more inspiration on what adversity can do for you watch ​Aimee Mullins’s TED talk here​. An athlete, model and actress Mullins is also a double amputee. She says:

“Maybe that’s what adversity gives us: a sense of self, a sense of our own power.” Tweet: Maybe that’s what adversity gives us: a sense of self, a sense of our own power @Angel_HR_UK #MyUSPMonday https://goo.gl/pXLpPx

Ask yourself these questions, as suggested by the ​University of Kent​, when applying for your next role or writing your CV:

· What have I learnt from my disability?
· What difficulties have I overcome?
· What strategies have I used to overcome my disability?
· What transferable skills such as problem solving and flexibility have I developed through managing my disability?
· What beneficial effects has it had on my life?

They say:

“Always use positive words and images – focus on what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T.”

Get in contact with a supportive recruitment agency, like Angel. A good consultant will give you well informed advice and help you navigate the job market with more confidence.

What Next?:

Are you at a career crossroads because you feel defined by your disability? Need any guidance on what to do now? Any particular issues or insights? Need help? Let us know!

· Share USP Your Monday thoughts with #MyUSPMonday
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