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Skill National Bureau for Students with Disabilities
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Get That Job

Are you looking for a job? Are you about to leave school, college or university? Do you have a disability?

This resource will guide you through the basics of how to get a job and provide solutions to problems that may concern you as a disabled jobseeker. It is aimed at graduates but most of the principles apply to any disabled jobseeker.

Although there are still some inequalities in the job market, employment opportunities for people with disabilities increase significantly after graduation. Recent surveys show that graduates with disabilities are well represented in most occupational areas.

Careers professionals can refer to What Happens Next? A Report on the First Destinations of Graduates with Disabilities published by AGCAS. This report looks at the positions of graduates who left university in the 2005-6 academic year.

Look at yourself

Matching yourself with potential jobs

Employers’ attitudes

Disabled people’s rights in employment

To disclose or not to disclose

Finding jobs to apply for

Marketing yourself and getting that job

Further resources


Look at yourself

Who are you?

Unless you know yourself, you won’t know what kind of job best suits you. Begin by considering your


Most people are unsure about what they really like doing. They can often end up in jobs they don’t like. Spend a few minutes thinking your interests by answering these questions.

  • What were your favourite subjects at school, college or university? Why?
  • What subjects did you like least? Why?
  • What are your hobbies or extra-curricular activities? Why do you like them?
  • If you have done paid or unpaid work before, what parts of your job did you like most? Why?
    What parts of your job did you like least? Why?


What are you good at? Spend a few minutes answering these questions about some of your experiences.

  • What school, college or university subjects were you best at? Why?
  • What subjects did you struggle with? Why?
  • If you have done paid or unpaid work before, what parts of your job did you do well at? Why?
  • What parts of your job did you not complete well? Why?


What do you want from a job? Try this exercise as a way of finding out your key career objectives. Give each of the following statements a score out of 10, where 1 is ‘not important’ and 10 is ‘very important’:

My work must

  • allow me to complete one project before moving on to another
  • offer steady employment and security
  • provide recognition and prestige
  • provide high financial rewards
  • benefit the community or provide a service to others
  • give me opportunities to use my initiative
  • involve working with others
  • provide opportunities to lead and direct other people.

How to score

Find the highest score and rank that statement 1. Find the next highest score and rank that statement 2, and so on. The order in which you rank these objectives shows the kinds of rewards you want from a job.

Although you may not find a job that matches all of your objectives in the order you have ranked them you should have a clearer idea about what matters most to you. Some objectives will be mutually exclusive. For example, if you are looking for high financial rewards you may struggle to find a job that will also benefit the community or provide a service to others.

Other resources

Perhaps you like history, have a talent for writing essays and your main career objective is achieving recognition and prestige. Do you know other people who match this pattern? Ask them what they do for a living.

Prospects planner is a useful online tool for graduates to help generate new job ideas, identify your skills and find out what motivates you in a job.  


When you put your interests, aptitudes and objectives together you will probably find that most of them overlap. Focus on these overlaps when you are thinking about a job, as employers want people who have something to offer.

  • Begin by getting to know yourself
  • Analyse your interests, aptitudes and objectives
  • Put your interests, aptitudes and objectives together and look for a pattern
  • Look at Prospects planner
  • Visit your careers service for more detailed advice

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Matching yourself with potential jobs

Now you know what you like doing, what you are good at and what your objectives are. The next step is to match these to the kind of jobs that are available. How do you find out which jobs are you suited for?

Careers Advisers

They are experienced in advising people in your position and can help you find out what kind of work will suit you best. Careers services also have well-stocked libraries with useful research material and summaries of different careers, which you can take away to read.

If you have already left university or a college of higher education, you can still use the careers service where you studied. If you have moved, you can use the service at your nearest university. You should be able to visit for up to three years after graduation. A careers adviser can take you through all the options that your degree has opened up and help you decide which direction you want to go in. There may be a charge for an interview with an adviser and some London universities also make charges for the use of their careers resources.

Prospects has an extensive graduate careers website at They also offer a free email careers advice service for up to five years after graduation.

Next Step is the new adult careers service - helping you get on in work and life.Get free careers and skills advice by calling Next Step 0800 100 900 between 8am -10pm 7 days a week

The University of London Careers Group also has a useful website at

Job descriptions from advertisements

Job advertisements are an excellent source of information. They often describe the kind of people who should apply in terms of interests, aptitudes and objectives. Read through employment advertisements in local, national and trade publications to find out what jobs are out there. Your careers adviser will also be able to recommend useful publications.

At this stage, you are not looking for jobs to actually apply for. Just think about the types of jobs that might suit you.

Talk to people

Think of all the people you know who have jobs – your friends, your brothers and sisters, your parents and their friends, teachers and lecturers, sports coaches, and shopkeepers. Ask them about their work and about their interests, aptitudes and career objectives. Most people will be happy to talk about themselves. This is a good way to learn about different kinds of jobs and how certain personal characteristics match certain kinds of jobs. It also lets people know that you’re looking for work, and you never know what job opportunities may come out of a casual conversation with the right person.


  • Ask a careers adviser for specific information about which types of jobs might suit you
  • Read employment advertisements to learn more about possible careers
  • Ask everyone you know to help you understand more about the job market

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Employers’ attitudes

More and more employers are recognising that recruiting a diverse workforce is a good thing. Look for the 2 ticks symbol on an employer’s job advertisements or recruitment literature. This means that they take positive steps to employ disabled people. You can be confident that your application will receive equal consideration. Employers who have been awarded the Disability Symbol have committed to:

  • a guaranteed job interview - to interview all disabled applicants meeting minimum criteria for job vacancies and to consider these applicants on their abilities
  • consulting disabled employees - to make sure that the most is being made of their abilities
  • keeping employees if they become disabled - to make every effort to retain employees if they become disabled
  • improving knowledge - to ensure that key employees develop the awareness of disability needed to make these commitments work
  • checking progress and planning ahead - to annually review these commitments and what has been achieved, plan ways to improve them and let all their employees know about progress and future plans.

Check whether they are members of the Employers’ Forum on Disability (EFD). The EFD aims to improve the job prospects of disabled people by making it easier for employers to recruit, retain and develop disabled employees. Membership of the EFD shows that a company has a positive attitude towards disabled people.

Attitudes to diversity and equal opportunities go much wider than disability. Look for clues about an employer’s general attitude in their brochures, advertisements and annual reports. For example, do they offer teleworking, career breaks, paternity leave, job sharing? If a company seems open and flexible in these ways, then disability is unlikely to be an issue either. You can also check that an employer has included disability in their equal opportunities statement. Ask for a copy or look on their website.


Internships, or work placements, are also a valuable way in to the job area that you are interested in. They can be a stepping stone from university to a full-time job.They allow you to gain valuable work experience that can be an advantage when it comes to applying for competitive graduate vacancies. Internships are normally undertaken while you are still studying and run during the holiday periods.

Some organisations that help students to find internships or placements in the UK are:


Kaplan Aspect 

National Council for Work Experience 

Placement UK 

Prospects Web 

The Student Placement Co 

Work Placements UK

The BBC also offers a wide range of work experience placements

Each year there is a National Work Placement Exhibition. Go to for details

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Disabled people’s rights in employment

Since October 2004, all employers have been covered by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), regardless of the number of staff they employ. The DDA is legislation which aims to stop discrimination against disabled people at work, applying for work or training for work. There is also protection for people on work placements. The only exception to this is the armed forces.

Am I disabled according to the DDA?

The DDA says you are ‘disabled’ if you have ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. This definition includes sensory impairments, learning disabilities and mental illness as well as physical disabilities and medical conditions. You don’t have to register as a disabled person to be defined as ‘disabled’. The definition is designed to be as broad as possible and covers a wide variety of conditions and impairments, although each part of the definition must apply to you before you can be classed as disabled under the Act. 

Under amendments to the DDA in 2005, cancer, HIV and Multiple Sclerosis are now covered from the point of diagnosis. This means that some people who had not previously considered themselves as disabled may be protected. 

Fitting the definition simply means that you will be protected under the law if someone unlawfully discriminates against you on the grounds of your impairment or health condition.

What does the law say?

Under the DDA Part 2: Employment and occupation, discrimination is outlawed in all aspects of employment and occupation including

  • advertising jobs
  • recruitment and selection
  • retention of employees
  • promotion
  • training.

Employers must not

  • directly discriminate against a disabled person
  • treat an employee less favourably for a reason related to their disability, without good reason
  • harass an employee.

Employers must

  • make reasonable adjustments in all of aspects of employment, working conditions or the workplace to enable or assist you to do a job.

Employees can

  • present a complaint of discrimination to an Employment Tribunal (Industrial Tribunal in Northern Ireland)

What are reasonable adjustments?

Employers must make reasonable adjustments to the workplace, working practices and the job description when required.

What is considered ‘reasonable’ always depends on individual circumstances. Adjustments could include

  • making physical changes to premises
  • offering flexible working hours
  • providing appropriate equipment or personal support, such as an interpreter.

Many adjustments cost employers less than £50, many are free, and the vast majority cost less than £5,000. Larger companies with more money and resources could be expected to do more to change the workplace if needed than smaller companies, but all employers must show that they have looked into the costs of adaptations and what funding is available from government sources.

Access to Work scheme

It will help you to know what sort of adaptations if any, you need, what the cost might be and whether you can get funding. Access to Work is available through Jobcentre Plus (the Training and Employment Agency in Northern Ireland). It can pay for the full cost of adjustments for job applicants or new members of staff and can contribute to the cost of adjustments for existing staff. For further information, read Skill’s information booklet Help for disabled jobseekers from Jobcentre Plus.

Still not getting anywhere?

If your job search has been unsuccessful, it’s easy to start thinking that it is because of your disability. It is a good idea to talk to your careers adviser to get a second opinion. If you think that you have been unfairly treated, write everything down and get in touch with Skill. You could also contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

You can find more information on the DDA in Skill’s booklet Understanding the Disability Discrimination Act: information for disabled students

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Disability Equality Duty

Since 1 December 2006, all public bodies in Great Britain have been covered by the Disability Equality Duty (DED). This legal duty means that colleges and universities, schools, government departments, local authorities, NHS trusts and boards, police and fire authorities must:

  • promote equality of opportunity for disabled people
  • eliminate disability discrimination
  • eliminate harassment of disabled people
  • take account of disabled people’s needs, even if this means treating
    disabled people more favourably than non-disabled people
  • promote positive attitudes towards disabled people
  • encourage participation by disabled people in public life.

As employers they have to train all their staff in the requirements of the DDA and the Disability Equality Duty. They must also review and improve their employment policies and practices including recruitment, promotion, training and support available to individuals, and always keep the recruitment, retention and staff development of disabled employees under review.

Certain public bodies are also covered by a specific duty and have to produce a Disability Equality Scheme every three years. This includes an action plan for implementing the DED (to be reviewed every year) and a statement of how disabled people, such as employees, have been involved in developing the scheme.


  • Most disabled job seekers and employees are protected by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
  • The Access to Work scheme can help pay for any extra disability-related support you may need at work
  • Look for employers who advertise their commitment to equal opportunities for disabled people with the 2 ticks symbol
  • Find out about an employer’s attitude towards disabled people by reading their equal opportunities policy
  • All public bodies are covered by the Disability Equality Duty and have to promote equal opportunities for disabled people. Look on public employers’ websites for a copy of their Disability Equality Scheme

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To disclose or not to disclose

Looking for work is a challenge for everyone. But because you have a disability, you may face additional obstacles. Often, the biggest concern is disclosure - whether to tell a prospective employer that you are disabled, and when to do it.

Have a look at the pros and cons below. If you are still in doubt, ask for advice from a careers adviser or from the Disability Employment Adviser at your local Jobcentre. They can help you work through some of the issues around disclosure.

Why should I disclose?

Employers can only make reasonable adjustments if they know you are disabled. If you disclose your disability to the company you have applied to work for, they cannot reject your application on the grounds of your disability if a ‘reasonable adjustment’ can be made to accommodate you. For example, if specialist computer equipment allows you to overcome the effects of your disability, it would be unreasonable if the employer did not consider your application. Employment is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). If you declare your disability and feel that you have been discriminated against during the application process, you can take your concern to an employment tribunal.

Disclosing your disability does not necessarily have a negative effect on your chances of getting a job. Many employers have equal opportunities policies that indicate their openness to recruiting and employing without prejudice. You can ask to see a company’s equal opportunities policy and how this policy affects the company’s recruiting practice. Many employers use the Employment Service’s 2 ticks symbol to advertise their commitment to consider disabled applicants without prejudice. Membership of the Employers’ Forum on Disability (EFD) shows a similar commitment.

You can control the way your disability is explained to a prospective employer. There are positive ways of disclosing a disability which can emphasise your skills. For example, rather than telling a prospective employer ‘I have a hearing impairment which has caused me difficulties’, you could say: ‘Because of my hearing impairment, I have developed an excellent ability to concentrate. This enhances my ability to perform complex, detailed tasks such as entering and analysing data on spreadsheets’. Another positive way of disclosing would be: ‘Having a visual impairment means that I developed an interest in and aptitude for Information Technology at an early age. I am keen to develop my IT skills further in my career’.

It is illegal to give false information. Many application forms and medical questionnaires ask direct questions about disability and health. If you give false information and your employer finds out after you start work, you could be liable for dismissal.

You are obliged by law to tell your employer if your disability has any health and safety implications for you or for others.

You will be eligible for help through the Access to Work scheme. If prospective employers are worried about the extra costs of giving you a job, you should tell them that financial support is available from the Access to Work scheme. For example, the scheme funds specialist equipment and covers extra transport costs.

You can make a good impression. Admitting any difficulties you have had and highlighting the ways you have overcome them shows maturity and determination. Employers value these qualities and will probably be impressed.

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Why some people do not want to disclose

  • Fear that they will be discriminated against and rejected by prospective employers
  • Not wanting to discuss their disability with a stranger
  • Feeling that their disability has no direct affect on their ability to do the job they have applied for

Occupational health and ‘Fitness to Practise’

Some professions, like nursing and other health professions in Great Britain, and teaching and social work in England and Wales (not Scotland) have their own ‘fitness to practise’ regulations. These are standards of competence and behaviour, and also relate to the physical demands of the job and health and safety requirements. They are designed to protect the public. People entering these professions have to disclose disabilities and long-term health conditions.

No-one should assume that a disabled person is unable to become a teacher or health professional. Under Part 4 of the DDA colleges, universities and training providers have to put in place support to help students access the course and successfully complete their studies. This includes support during any work placements in schools, health centres or hospitals.
When you are qualified and looking for work, employers have to make similar adjustments to the workplace, working conditions and job description, under Part 2 of the DDA. Government funding is available through the Access to Work scheme to help with the extra costs of doing this.

The former Disability Rights Commission made recommendations for employers and occupational health services to encourage disclosure and the recruitment and retention of disabled people.

Employers should

  • not ask candidates irrelevant health questions
  • only ask questions about disability before making a job offer if they relate to the recruitment process
  • use occupational health providers that understand the DDA and focus on reasonable adjustments.

If you choose not to disclose your impairment or long-term health condition, employers should not treat this as a disciplinary offence, unless there are serious concerns about your competence or behaviour.

Occupational health services should

  • make sure that health questionnaires relate to the particular job
  • only carry out a health assessment after a job offer is made
  • focus on providing long-term support to help you stay in a job
  • consider recruiting disabled occupational health professionals.

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When is a good time to disclose?

If you do decide to disclose then timing is very important. Sometimes it is advisable not to disclose your disability initially but to wait until later in the application process. Sometimes it is best to disclose straight away. It depends on your circumstances.

Where can I disclose?

On the application form
Some application forms ask direct questions about health and disability, so you can give all the details there. You may also feel that your disability has helped you have experiences that actually increase your number of skills. Most application forms include an open section asking why you think you are suitable for the job. This would be a good place to explain your disability in a positive way.

On medical questionnaires
You may be asked direct questions about disability and health on a medical questionnaire. You must answer these questionnaires accurately.

On equal opportunities monitoring forms
You may be asked to fill out an equal opportunities monitoring form, which will ask questions about your ethnic background, gender, age and disability. These forms help employers find out what range of people apply for their job vacancies. Equal opportunities monitoring forms are not used to judge your application. They are separated from your application before reaching the people who will decide whether or not to shortlist you for the job.

In a covering letter
If you attach a covering letter to your application, you could mention your disability in this letter. Again, use this as an opportunity to make your disclosure positive.

Before attending an interview
If you are invited to interview and need practical support, such as a sign language interpreter or help getting to the interview, you can contact the employer to ask for support. In a large organisation you should contact the Human Resources Department. Support for attending an interview would be seen as a ‘reasonable adjustment’ under the Disability Discrimination Act.

At the interview
You may have a disability that you cannot hide from an employer. It may be a surprise for the people interviewing you if you have come this far in the application process without mentioning your disability, even if it has no effect on your ability to do the job. Because of this, they may concentrate on your disability by asking irrelevant questions that could have been explained earlier, either on an application form or in your covering letter. This may prevent you from talking about the real issue - how your abilities match the job requirements.

Key points to remember

  • Do not assume that a prospective employer will have a negative opinion of your disability
  • You can apply to any employer, not just those that have formally acknowledged their positive view of disability
  • Always remember that you can disclose your disability positively


  • There is no rule about whether or when to disclose your disability to a prospective employer
  • Think through your decision to disclose carefully, and get advice if you need it
  • If you do decide to disclose your disability, remember to be positive. Your selling points are your abilities not your disabilities

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Finding jobs to apply for

You can find job vacancies from a number of sources.

Careers Services

This is the best place to start. They have lists of job vacancies, newspapers and graduate recruitment brochures, and many other listings. A careers adviser will be able to help you choose the most useful resources for the jobs you are looking for.


Many job vacancies are now advertised on the internet. Go to Useful Websites [link to section] for some online resources for graduates.

Presentations and careers fairs

Employers often give presentations to students. These usually take place in the autumn term or during the ‘milkround’, when a number of large employers visiting selected universities to interview students. Ask your careers adviser for more information.

Careers fairs are an excellent way of seeing lots of employers in one day. You can pick up job application packs and can sometimes apply there and then. Fairs are held locally and nationally and are organised by the careers services, by AIESEC (sometimes with the Student Industrial Society) and by specific employers, such as the Civil Service and the legal profession.

Some fairs have specific themes, such as conservation, charity work, or information technology. You can get the dates and locations for careers fairs from AIESEC.
Some employers will accept a Standard Application Form at careers fairs. You can get these from your careers service and fill them in advance, to save time on the day. Ask to see a list of visiting employers so that you can plan which ones to speak to on the day. You can even contact an employer in advance and explain that you would like to talk with their representatives at the fair. You will then be able to let them know of any arrangements you may need.

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Newspapers and trade publications

Printed publications, including local and national newspapers, offer a great range of job vacancies. Your careers service can tell you which ones are relevant to the area of work you are interested in.

Recruitment Agencies

Employers pay agencies to find suitable people for their job vacancies, so they have an interest in getting you into appropriate work. They also have access to some vacancies that are not advertised, and their services are free for jobseekers. Agencies may specialise in certain areas, such as finance, charities, or marketing, and have relationships with specific employers. Sometimes they offer you advice or even training so you can take jobs that suit your preferences and abilities.

Skill’s information booklet Using recruitment agencies as a disabled job seeker describes some of the main issues for disabled people when using agencies and the ways in which recruitment agencies are now covered by the Disability Discrimination Act.

Accessing the hidden job market

As many as 80% of jobs are never advertised. But this should not stop you job hunting. Most unadvertised jobs are usually middle and upper-level vacancies, not entry-level graduate positions. Normally an employer needs to fill a specific position but does not have the time to undertake a full recruitment process. They will interview suitable people they have met recently, or those recommended by colleagues. Some of the ways to get yourself noticed are explained below. But be prepared to spend time and energy on this approach as it is unlikely to lead directly to a job and should be combined with traditional job hunting methods.


Make yourself known to potential employers by telling all your friends and contacts that you are looking for work. Telling the right person at the right time can have the result you are looking for. Highlight the positive aspects of your job search, even if it has been a negative experience so far.

Set up an information interview

This is where you speak to someone (usually more senior) in a job similar to the one you are looking for. By asking the person questions, you learn about the job and whether it matches your interests, aptitudes and objectives. It also gives you a chance to become known to someone in the field in which you are interested in working. Your careers adviser will be able to help you identify and approach an appropriate person for an information interview.

Join professional organisations

Many professional organisations, for example The Institute for Public Relations, encourage students and graduates to join. As a member, you will be invited to events, meetings and presentations. This gives you the opportunity to meet potential employers. You will also receive publications with job vacancy advertisements.


  • Ask a careers advisor where to look for advertisements for the jobs you are interested in
  • Use all the resources available to you  – the internet, presentations and careers fairs, newspapers and trade publications, and recruitment agencies
  • Try networking to access the hidden job market. This approach can work, even though it takes time and effort

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Marketing yourself and getting that job

How do you convince an employer to give you a job? The key is to make your application forms, CVs, and covering letters work for you, and perform your best at the interview stage. This section explains how to succeed in the application and assessment process.

Application forms

Filling in application forms is usually straightforward. You will need to provide basic education and employment details. Most application forms also give you space to offer any further information. You may want to use this section to introduce your disability positively. Use the rest of this space to explain how your skills and experience match the employer’s requirements. Where a job description and person specification are provided, make sure you address each point and give evidence to show how you meet the requirement.


A CV is your ultimate marketing tool. Its aim is to make you stand out to potential employers and get you an interview. For maximum impact, a professional CV is vital. 

Tips for a winning CV

  • Be assertive and emphasise your strong points
  • Highlight transferable skills and achievements, with examples
  • Use active verbs, such as ‘implemented’, ‘analysed’, ‘contributed’
  • Use positive language and avoid jargon
  • Make the format visually attractive
  • Make it short - not more than two A4 pages
  • Proofread your finished CV to pick up any spelling mistakes and inconsistencies
  • Target your CV. Make it correspond as closely as possible to the required qualifications and experiences of the job you are applying for

For more help, speak to a careers adviser or look at the Prospects graduate careers website for sample CVs.

Covering letters

Always attach a covering letter to your CV or application form unless you are instructed not to. Use the letter to highlight connections between the job vacancy and your experiences and qualifications. Keep the letter short and relevant. Show that you can offer the skills and knowledge they are looking for. Above all, keep your writing neutral. Even if you have experienced prejudice, this is not the place to express your grievances. The main aim is to convince the employer to invite you for interview.

For more help, speak to a careers adviser or look at the Prospects graduate careers website for sample covering letters, including an example of how to disclose your disability in a positive way.


If you are asked to provide the names of referees, it is important to get their permission first and let them know about the position you are applying for. Your referee may have concerns about how your disability would affect you in the workplace, so make sure you discuss this with them. Let them know about the requirements of the job and explain what adjustments you may need. Ask them to get in touch with you if they are not sure about something. This will help them write positively about you and your disability.

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An interview is your chance to present yourself to a potential employer. It is a two-way process, so you can find out what the company or organisation is like. Read the tips below for a successful outcome.

Preparing for an interview

  • Contact the employer in advance to arrange your access requirements for the interview, such as a sign language interpreter
  • Think about visiting the interview venue in advance to check the facilities
  • Re-read the job description
  • Try to anticipate the kind of questions you may be asked
  • Make an assessment of the challenges your disability may raise for the employer
  • Think of the reasonable adjustments your employer can put in place to make the workplace accessible for you – for example, adapted keyboards, having your chair raised or lowered, being able to bring your guide dog to work or using a textphone system
  • Be aware of the financial assistance that is available, for example, through Access to Work, to cover the cost of specialist equipment

At the interview

  • Dress smartly
  • Be friendly and try to appear calm and confident
  • Remember that the interviewer may be nervous too
  • Ask the interviewer to leave any discussion of your disability to the end of the interview, so that you are assessed on your qualifications and skills
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to speak more slowly or to repeat a question
  • Highlight the specific skills you may have developed as a result of your disability

Assessment centres

Large companies often use assessment centres to help judge the suitability of job applicants. Assessments usually last between one and three days. They usually involve the assessors observing how you interact with others, complete tasks and tests, and make presentations. Try not to compare yourself with other candidates – employers are generally measuring all applicants against a specified standard. Your careers adviser can help prepare you for this kind of assessment, and centres are obliged to make any necessary adjustments for you.


  • Application forms, although standardised, give you room to explain your particular skills and experience
  • The basic rules for filling in application forms are the same as those for writing CVs and covering letters
  • CVs are the ultimate marketing tool – use them to attract prospective employers
  • Covering letters should be short and to the pint, and they should explain how your abilities match those the employer is looking for
  • Keep in touch with your referees. Make sure they know about you, your impairment (if necessary) and the sorts of jobs you’re applying for
  • To succeed at interviews, be prepared
  • Ensure that your individual needs are met by employers

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Getting that Job

Getting a job isn’t easy but it’s not impossible either. You need to ask yourself questions and decide which sorts of jobs are suitable for you. Then you can start applying and going to interviews.

Lots of people struggle to get the right job, especially if it’s a first job. Disabled people can experience added difficulties if employers are not as open as they should be. But you can control how others view you and your disability by being aware of your rights, talking positively and highlighting your skills and experience.

Further resources

Useful Contacts
Useful Publications
Useful Websites

If you need more help or are in doubt about any stage of your job search, contact Skill or your local careers adviser.


Useful Contacts


Association of Disabled Professionals 

Te: 01204 431638 Fax: 01204 431638
Email: adp.admin@ntlworld
Provides advice, information and peer support to disabled people, their advisers and friends focusing mainly on employment and related issues. ADP also works to try to ensure that legislation which will directly affect the lives of disabled people takes their needs and aspirations into account.

Blind in Business (BIB)

Wingate Annexe, St Alphage House, 2 Fore Street, London EC2Y 5DA
Tel: 020 7588 1885 Fax: 020 7588 1886
Provides a range of services to both undergraduates/graduates and employers to ease the transition between education and employment for visually impaired individuals. BIB works through the whole application process, from supplying recruitment materials and vacancy information in a range of formats, to providing specialist seminars and advice. All the services are free and available to any visually impaired young person looking for work.

Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) 

Sheraton House, Castle Park, Cambridge CB3 0AX
Tel: 01223 460277 Fax: 01223 311708
An independent development agency working in the area of lifelong learning and career development. CRAC offers expertise, information and access to a national network.


59 Banner Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1Y 8PX
Tel: 020 7689 0033 Textphone: 020 7689 1048 Fax: 020 7689 1049
Offers advice on preparing for interviews and careers counselling for deaf people. You would need to go in person to the office in London for this service. Contact Deafworks for details of their hourly charge.

Disability Action (Northern Ireland)

Head Office, Portside Business Park, 189 Airport Road West, Belfast BT3 9ED
Tel: 028 9029 7880 Text: 028 9029 7882 Fax : 028 9029 7881
Disability Action's Employment and Training Service offers information and support for people with disabilities, to help them gain and retain employment or to participate in vocational training. It also provides disability and diversity awareness training to employers, organisations, businesses and other interested agencies.

Disability Wales / Anabledd Cymru

Bridge House, Caerphilly Business Park, Van Road, Caerphilly CF83 3GW
Tel: 029 2088 7325 (use announcer for Minicom) Fax: 029 2088 8702
Provides independent advice and information, training opportunities and support for disabled people both directly as Disability Wales services and indirectly by supporting local agencies. Also provides training and advice to employers, service providers and policy makers in Wales.


33-41 Dallington Street, London EC1V 0BB
Tel: 07852 764 684
A not-for-profit organisation that helps disabled people into employment. It works with employers and anyone with a disability seeking employment, and has strong links with universities and other disability charities.

Employers’ Forum on Disability

Nutmeg House, 60 Gainsford Street, London SE1 2NY
Tel: 020 7403 3020 Minicom: 020 7403 0040 Fax: 020 7403 0404
A national network of employers who wish to develop their policies and practice on employing people with disabilities. Does not operate a placement service for disabled job seekers. Can provide a list of members whom you can approach to enquire about vacancies or sponsorship.

Employment Opportunities for people with disabilities

53 New Broad Street, London EC2M 1SL
Tel: 020 7448 5420 Minicom: 020 7374 6684 Fax: 020 7374 4913
Has 16 regional centres around the country offering advice to disabled people on job seeking. This includes help with writing CVs, job searches, completing application forms and producing good application letters. They also have specific services for graduates.

Group for Solicitors with Disabilities (GSD)

114 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL
Tel: 020 7320 5793/5794 Fax: 020 7320 5673
Aims to achieve equal opportunities among disabled solicitors, would-be solicitors or clients, and to provide a forum for discussion so that their views are passed on to the Law Society and solicitors' profession at large. It also addresses the needs of disabled students studying for professional examinations or seeking employment in this field.

Leadership Recruitment

6-10 Market Road, London N7 9PW.
Tel: 020 7619 7299 Textphone: 020 7619 7187 Fax: 020 7619 7399

Leadership Recruitment is a work-based development programme for disabled people of graduate level. People recruited to the programme are employed by Scope for 12 months, during which their career aims and development needs are assessed, and work placements are offered with various national employers.

Papworth Employment Programmes 

The Papworth Trust, Papworth Everard, Cambridge CB3 8RG
Tel: 01480 357 200 Fax: 01480 830 781
Various programmes supporting disabled people who are long-term unemployed, as well as those who have acquired a disability as a result of a workplace injury, serious illness or a road traffic accident. Workplace evaluation, job searching, job analysis and matching and access to mainstream Jobcentre Plus programmes where relevant. There are centres in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex.

Prince’s Trust

To find a Prince’s Trust office in your area, visit their website or call freephone 0800 842 842.
If you are aged between 18-30 with a viable idea for your own business, you may be able to get help from the Prince’s Trust’s Business Programme. Their Business Start-Up Loan package offers loans (on average £2,500) and grants of up to £1,500. Mentors and Business Advisers can help with marketing. To be eligible for funding from the scheme you must have tried to raise the money elsewhere but failed.


National Autistic Society, Studio 8, 6-8 Northampton Street, London N1 2HY
Tel: 020 7704 7450 Fax: 020 7359 9440
Only specialised employment service for people with Asperger syndrome and autism in the UK. Helps with work preparation and also provides support in the workplace.


Remploy Limited, Stonecourt, Siskin Drive, Coventry CV3 4FJ
Tel: 0800 138 7656
Minicom: 024 7651 5869
Fax: 0800 138 7657
Remploy offers a work experience programme relevant to students and graduates with disabilities. Their Interwork programme also offers individual support for job-hunters.

Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID)

19-23 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8SL
Tel: 0808 808 0123 Text: 0808 808 9000 Fax: 020 7296 8199
The RNID's Employment Training and Skills Service provides information and advice to deaf or hearing impaired jobseekers.

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

105 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NE
Helpline: 0845 766 99 99
The RNIB provides information and advice to blind and partially sighted jobseekers. Contact your local RNIB Employment and Student Support Network for further information.

Scope’s Employment Services

Scope, 6 Market Road, London N7 9PW
Tel: 0808 800 3333
A team of Employment Officers operating across England and Wales. Service include general employment advice and referrals to training opportunities and sources of funding for equipment and workplace adaptations for people with cerebral palsy.

Shaw Trust

Epsom Square, White Horse Business Park, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 OXJ.
Tel: 01225 716 300 Textphone: 08457 697 288 Fax: 01225 716 334.
Shaw Trust provides training and work opportunities for people who are disadvantaged in the labour market due to disability, ill health or other social circumstances. Many of their services are tailored to the requirements of people who have experienced mental ill health or who have a learning disability.

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Useful Publications

The Arberry Profile: Career Opportunities for Disabled Graduates

Advice on careers, managing finance, making the most of work experience, preparing a CV and perfecting interview and presentation skills. The Arberry Profile is distributed in print format during the Autumn terms of the academic year, primarily through university careers services, departments and Disability Officers.

Employment, health and disability – Getting in, staying in and getting on

Employment factsheet available from the former Disability Rights Commission's archived website.

GET 2007: The Hobsons guide for students with disabilities

Provides useful careers advice for disabled graduates. Includes information from large employers about their graduate development schemes. Available from careers services or from Hobson’s distributors on 01752 202301. Price £9.99 plus postage and packaging.

Into Series

Published by Skill and available from the online Bookshop
These are guides for disabled people thinking about specific careers. They include information about qualifications, entry routes and fitness to practise regulations, as well as profiles written by disabled people already training or working in these professions. Price £2.50 for students and £6.50 for professionals.

  • Into Architecture
  • Into Art
  • Into Law
  • Into Medicine
  • Into Nursing and Midwifery
  • Into Science and Engineering
  • Into Teaching
  • Into Volunteering

Moving into work

A guide covering the support available from the benefits system and government schemes for disabled people wanting to move into work. Includes information on self-employment.

Available from Disability Alliance, 88-94 Wentworth Street, London E1 7SA
Tel: 020 7247 8776


Skill Information Booklets

Careers and work for disabled people

Disclosing your disability 

Help for disabled jobseekers from Jobcentre Plus 

Understanding the Disability Discrimination Act: information for disabled students

Using recruitment agencies as a disabled jobseeker 


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Useful Websites

Civil Service Summer Placement Scheme 

The Summer Placement scheme is a 6-8 week work placement that runs across July and August specifically for undergraduates and graduates with disabilities. Trainees are placed in a range of government departments and undertake the type of work that Fast Streamers do. Through the scheme trainees are able to develop further the skills and abilities required for the Fast Stream.

Disability Now 

Newspaper covering disability issues, including some job vacancies.

Disability Toolkits 

Work experience is of increasing importance on a graduate CV. Disability Toolkits aims to help you gain and make the most of work experience and placement opportunities, exploring some of the issues that you might face as a disabled student and providing you with information and sources of support that may benefit you.

Doctor Job 

Popular general website for graduates seeking jobs and advice.

Ethical Careers 

Unique service helping students to find a socially and environmentally responsible career

Four All 

Channel Four website aiming to get more disabled people in TV

Grad Jobs 

Information on graduate vacancies and recruitment exhibitions across the UK

Guardian Jobs Unlimited 

Jobs advertisements and other resources for job seekers


Website of job vacancies for disabled people 

Leading recruitment website for academic and associated communities


Careers information, interview tips, CV building service and job vacancies

Prospects Web 

Comprehensive guide to graduate jobs, careers and postgraduate study. Contains a database of employers, job vacancies and useful information about a variety of careers

Student UK 

Useful advice and information for current students on career and job hunting, including some graduate vacancies.

Where women want to work 

A one-stop shop to research and compare the most progressive employers, particularly the best organisations that women choose to work for.

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Skill would like to thank all the members of the Disability Sub-Committee of AGCAS, particularly Anne Dutton, Caroline Harvey and Hillary Whorral, for their assistance.


[Updated January 2008]

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