Career advice for people living with disabilities

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Entering the workforce, in any capacity, is an unnerving task. Add the stigmas attached to being a person with disabilities into the mix and the potential for negative employment process and ultimately experience.


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Entering the workforce, in any capacity, is an unnerving task. Add the stigmas attached to being a person with disabilities into the mix and the potential for a negative employment process, and ultimately, experience is entirely possible. However, this is not a post about how awful it is to try and find work in South Africa as a person living with a disability, this is about knowing your rights, covering your bases and positioning yourself in as strong a position as possible to land your dream job.
The Clash sang “know your rights” and truer words have rarely been spoken. We spoke to Isaac Mangena of Rolling Inspiration regarding the Employment Equity Act and how it affects your rights. "One of the objectives of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) is to promote the constitutional right of equality – and eliminate unfair discrimination in the workplace. Although the EEA is not a disability-specific piece of legislation, specific emphasis is placed on equity and the right to equal protection and benefit for all, including persons with disabilities." This means that prospective employer cannot, legally, deny you a position because you live with a disability.
So now that we’ve established that you have as much a right to a job as anyone else in South Africa, it’s key to know what you should be doing, as well as avoiding, while job hunting. Firstly, your disability is not a negative, so don’t hide it, put it on your CV so that those reading it are aware and they don’t get surprised once you get called back for an interview.
Secondly we spoke to a specialist recruitment professional, Robert Walters, who shared some insights. He added: "It is important to disclose all information in a job application. A CV is the first point of engagement for candidates to best represent who they are, not only what function they can perform. The only thing that one would need to consider is whether their disability impedes their ability to do the job – otherwise there is no difference between them and any of the other candidates."
He went on to explain that the disclosure of any disability from the onset of hte recruitment process would stand applicants in good stead for a smoother recruitment process. “We often experience delays in the recruitment process when information is not disclosed and expectations are not managed up front.”
By sticking to the basics, being open and upfront, you are more likely to be taken seriously as an applicant, without jeopardising the opportunity. For a more detailed explanation and some more in depth advice, please have a look at HIPPO’s Career Guidance for People with Disabilities page where you can find more resources and guidance to consider once your started your new dream job.
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