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The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted August 02, 2019 by

How to Use Your Disability as a Strength When Applying for a Job

Lois Barth is a Human Development Expert, Speaker, Life and Business Coach, and Author of the book, “Courage to SPARKLE; The Audacious Girls’ Guide to Creating A Life that Lights You Up.” Lois will be a panelist at the College Recruiting Bootcamp on D&I at EY on December 12th in New York City.

Did you know that bones that were broken and healed properly are stronger than bones that have never been broken at all? It’s a fact, as well as a great metaphor for those with disabilities. As a life and business coach, I often tell my clients to use that fact in an interview, not harping on the disability, but being strategic in sending the message that adapting to, and in some cases, overcoming a disability, makes them a far stronger candidate than someone who has never gone through adversity.

There are, in fact, many ways to turn a disability into a desired ability when applying for a job. Of course, it all depends on the type of disability, the position and the company culture.

Start with Some Research

There are many factors to consider about a company before applying for a job. I guide my career-coaching clients who are getting ready for an interview to think of themselves as an investigator out to solve a mystery. Begin the process by looking at the company on a broad-stroke level. What does the website tell you about the organization? You can learn a lot about the culture from the messaging, the use of buzz words (such as diversity, inclusion, team engagement), company values, charitable contributions, community involvement and recent initiatives. Additionally, pay attention to the images: Do they include photos of employees who are diverse? Do the images reflect a company that is more conservative, or one that is more progressive?

You can also Google them to discover any current or past newsworthy trends in both their industry and their organization that may impact hiring. For instance, if they just received a “Best Places to Work” award, it’s likely that their culture is positive and inclusive. On the other hand, if you find a backlash for recent marginalizing of a group, you may want to steer clear. Review sites like Glass Door can be tricky because it’s usually the employees who have extreme experiences (they either love it or hate it) that take the time to write, which means you’re not getting the full picture. You may, however, notice themes among the reviews.

Once you get a company overview, take a deeper dive into the job description. What are the primary functions? Whom are you serving? What core competencies are they looking for and is your disability an asset (it often is) or a deficit? How do you spin it to either show how your disability will make you a better candidate or at the very least, won’t hinder your performance?

Use Story-Selling to Make Your Pitch

Recently I worked with a client whose disability was fairly obvious from the get-go, but given his non-profit focus, it was an asset, because he had overcome so much to get where he is and the job that he was interviewing for was serving an underserved and neglected population. I strongly suggested that he lead with his “story-selling pitch” which was a wonderfully touching story about learning to deal with his disability, and how, in the process, he learned so much about empathy, persistence, critical thinking, and determination, all of which were desired qualities for this position. Within the story, we weaved in his hard skills that embodied a whole slew of accomplishments that were germane to the position. The interviewer became intrigued and after several interviews with board members, he was offered the job.

If your disability is blatantly obvious and may be perceived as a deficit, but nobody’s talking about it, using a well-crafted story that highlights the key qualities the employer is looking for can be very impactful. Many job descriptions list qualities such as critical thinking, determination, adaptability, and self-starter, to name just a few, that people who have successfully navigated their disability have had to develop.

However, if your disability may bring to question functionality and the ability to perform a job, then that needs to be addressed head-on. It’s best to do this in a fluid, conversational tone, using examples from the past to dispel any concerns a potential employer may have.

As a rule, I suggest candidates do more listening than talking. Ask thoughtful questions and focus on being interested versus interesting, which works for people with or without disabilities! Don’t play the disability card, but don’t try to avoid it either. Rapt attention, genuine interest, enthusiasm and energy are rare these days, which means demonstrating these qualities will take you far. Of course, you also need the hard skills to back up your competency.

Finally, don’t be afraid to bring humor to the situation. When appropriately stated, humor can go a long way to dispel any tension that may be present. It shows that you are not overly sensitive, that you have a sense of humor and humility, but you’re not ashamed of your disability. In general, people hire people they like; people whom they can relate to and trust, regardless of a disability.  

Know Your Strengths 

One of my colleagues had very intense dyslexia and ADHD. She couldn’t sit still for more than 20-30 minutes, and paperwork that should have taken 10-20 minutes took hours and was tortuous. On the positive side, she was amazing with people, could pivot on a dime, had tons of energy and loved making people feel special. She was also hilarious, passionate about health and loved helping people.

Fortunately, the health club where she was working saw her strengths and was smart enough to move her from a stifling mid-level administrative position to a sales job where she could meet and greet clients. Her people skills, creativity and natural curiosity about others, made her very good at this position and, in turn, the position made her very happy. Within the first month, she became head of sales.

Before you begin applying for positions, take a realistic assessment of your strengths: What do you bring to the potential employer? Do your abilities mesh with the job description and the qualities they value? Again, be sure to do your research on the industries, companies and jobs that provide a good fit with your unique assets.

For instance, if someone has ADD, a job that demands constant switching of tasks or mostly short-term projects takes advantage of this person’s proclivities. Meanwhile, someone with OCD may excel at a job that requires being very precise and detail oriented. For people who don’t pick up social cues and operate at their best by themselves, a strong analytic research job that requires long hours of solitary focused work may be a perfect fit. In other words, depending on the job, “alleged disabilities” may be a huge benefit.

Do Your Research. Lead with Enthusiasm. Make it About What You Can Provide.

Those are the three main takeaways when applying for any job. Remember, you may have a disability, but you are much more than your disability. You’re a whole person, with skill sets and talents that are valuable to the right employers. With every disability, there is another ability that has gotten strengthened to compensate. That’s why, even though it’s become quite PC, I do like the phrase “learning differences.” We all have challenges and we all have assets. Nobody’s exempt from the human being club that’s full of complexity and diversity. The more you embrace it as just one of the many facets of your humanity, the more you can celebrate (and sell) the one-of-a-kind gem that you are.

Lois Barth is a Human Development Expert, Speaker, Life and Business Coach, and Author of the book, “Courage to SPARKLE; The Audacious Girls’ Guide to Creating A Life that Lights You Up.” Lois supports her clients to overcome their negative self-talk, manage stress and advocate for themselves and dynamically create the next chapter of their life. She has worked with over 800 clients and on a professional level has helped them in every area from career transition, interview skills training, communication and building their business. The creator of Smart Sexy TV, she has been the makeover life coach for SELF Magazine; Fitness Magazine and Fit Blog (Sears) as well as the “Stress Less–Thrive More” Lady for C.T. Style TV (ABC Affiliate). A sought after expert, Lois has been quoted and published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, College Recruiter, SELF Magazine, to name a few.  Her speaking clients include L’Oreal, Women in Banking, Capital One, Mid-Atlantic Women in Energy, Society of Women Engineers, and the American Heart Association to name a few. 

Join Lois Barth, along with your fellow university relations, talent acquisition and other human resource leaders from corporate, non-profit and government agencies at the:

College Recruiting Bootcamp on D&I at EY

Organized by College Recruiter and hosted by Ernst & Young

Thursday, December 12, 2019

9:30 AM – 2:30 PM (EST)

Ernst & Young World Headquarters

121 River Street

Hoboken, NJ 07030

For more information and tickets, go to: http://www2.CollegeRecruiter.com/BootcampOnDIatEY

Posted May 10, 2018 by

Young women going into business: You need to hear this advice from EY’s Angela Ciborowski

 

For women who are interested in going into business, there are many fantastic opportunities out there and many challenges as well. We spoke with Angela Ciborowski to discuss how young women can empower themselves to succeed in starting a business career. Ciborowski is an Associate Director at Ernst & Young, where she leads MBA Strategic Programs and advises MBA recruiting.

She is so passionate about empowering women in business that she created the Empower You Graduate Women’s Leadership Conference. This event is designed to lead, inspire and motivate future women leaders. Ciborowski provided some deep and insightful comments that we think will inspire you to move forward in your early career! (more…)

Posted April 13, 2018 by

Build your leadership skills as an entry-level employee: Interview with Cy Wakeman

 

As an entry-level employee who wants to grow professionally, you hear constantly that you must build your leadership skills. What does that even mean, and how do you know you’re building the right leadership skills? I interviewed Cy Wakeman, an international speaker on leadership and management, and President and Founder of Cy Wakeman, Inc. She has a fantastic and authentic philosophy of leadership, and I’ve shared major takeaways from our interview below, including what not to learn from your manager, how to request and handle feedback, and tips for women.  (more…)

Posted April 06, 2018 by

What to do with my degree: Entry-level communications jobs and salaries

 

The biggest misconception about majoring in Communications is that it’s a fluff major, or it’s for students who don’t really want to study. In reality, though, the field of communications – which encompasses public relations, marketing, mass communication, journalism, and advertising – is a versatile major that opens the door to a wide variety of careers. It’s not a fluff choice; it can be a very smart choice. Here we dive into entry-level communications jobs and the salaries you can expect. (more…)

Posted March 13, 2018 by

Need a summer internship? Q&A with expert career counselors

 

For students and grads who are looking for a summer internship, we pulled together some great advice from our friends Vicky Oliver, Author of “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions,” and Joanne Meehl, “The Resume Queen”® and “The Job Search Queen”® at  Joanne Meehl Career Services. They answered some questions from internship seekers, including where to start, what to do if you live in a small town, whether to consider unpaid internships, how to handle time off and more.

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Posted March 08, 2018 by

Career guidance: Four keys to getting your career off to a great start

 

Congratulations, you landed a job out of college! You’ve launched your career, but to make sure you keep going in the direction you want, keep your eyes on the ball. You (not your employer) are the owner of your career. I learned a few lessons early in my career that I share that career guidance here. Things worked out alright for me, but looking back I believe the following four points can increase your chances of starting off in the right direction and excelling in your chosen career. (more…)

Posted February 28, 2018 by

Definitive Guide to Resume Writing for Students and Grads

 

We have eleven resume tips to help students and grads write a professional resume that not only gets past the machines and attracts the eye of a recruiter, but stands out against other job seekers. Our Definitive Guide to Resume Writing for Entry Level dive into these tips:

  1. Be specific about yourself. A big mistake you can make is to describe yourself generically
  2. The right format. Take advantage especially of the top half of your resume.
  3. Getting past the machines that scan your resume. Don’t assume a pdf is okay, and don’t try any tricks.
  4. Tips for women. You might be surprised at the research.
  5. Tailoring your resume. Another big mistake is to submit the same resume for many jobs.
  6. Tips for veterans. Learn how to market your military experience.
  7. Video resumes. When and how should you use them?
  8. Tips for engineers. We got some good tips from a recruiter at Intel.
  9. Proofread. Proofread, proofread.
  10. Following up after submitting the resume. You’re not done after you hit “apply”.
  11. Resumes for your second job out of college. Learn tips for what to change on your resume.

Read the Definitive Guide to Resume Writing for Students and Grads

Get your dream job by following these resume tips

Posted February 12, 2018 by

Entry level finance jobs and the skills you need to land one

 

If you are considering a career related to finance, what are your options? Here we share entry-level finance jobs that are available to you, along with the salaries you can expect. We’ll also share the skills you need to launch and grow your career, and what makes a Finance major worth it.

You will find finance jobs in just about every organization, across all industries. Eunice Frey, HR manager and blogger says, “It is up to you to select the industry that you feel works best for you and has the right level of career progression available for you to take advantage of.” She sees a lot of professionals in finance and banking end up stagnant and frustrated because they are not advancing in a meaningful direction. You should reflect on what career path you might enjoy most, and choose an industry and organization that can provide that to you. (more…)

Posted January 23, 2018 by

What to say at a career fair, and more preparation tips

 

If your school hosts a career fair, don’t miss out. Not attending is a missed opportunity to advance your job search. We heard from three experts with years of experience advising and recruiting college students, and they shared deep insight into what impresses recruiters today, including what to say at a career fair, what to wear, the right attitude and what to do after the event. (more…)

Posted January 10, 2018 by

Jobs for teachers and beyond: Career advice for Education majors

 

With a degree in Education, you might be searching for jobs for teachers, but do you know what other opportunities are available to you? If you had majored in Education forty years ago, you would have earned the most popular degree at that time, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Today, despite a steady decline in the number of Education graduates, it is still one of the top ten most common fields of study for college students.

What are your options today as an Education major? We checked in with two people with backgrounds in the education field, who are passionate about helping college students find their calling. Kaitlyn Maloney is the Recruiting Specialist for New England Center for Children, and Dr. Robert Shindell is President and CEO of Intern Bridge, Inc. (more…)