Job Hunting with a Chronic Illness
Job hunting alone can be daunting, now add a chronic illness and it can be downright scary. There are so many variables that can make the job hunt more difficult. How you are feeling daily to actually look for a job can make the hunt difficult. Then you add things like physical manifestations of your disease such as a limp, or being unable to walk without an aide. Or even your weakened immune system dictating what kind of jobs you might be able to consider. So what are things we can do to make job hunting a little easier on ourself and more productive? Below are some recommendations that can do just that that were found while looking for ideas to improve my own job hunt. Many of the suggestions came from Healthcenter.com, and monster.com. I will link the direct sites at the end of the blog.
1. Talk with your medical team before starting to look for a job.
They may have restrictions for you that you are unaware of that might dictate what kind of jobs you could apply for. Also, maybe there are medication changes that could be made. For instance maybe you will need to cut your pain pills so they don't cloud your judgement. So they might be able to recommend options that could work without jeopardizing your safety. There also might be other treatment options available for your disease that you are not aware of. They might also be able to get you started with some physical or occupational therapy that would make working easier for you.
People in your profession might know of openings before they are actually posted. So they could be a great benefit to your search. Just remember that you don't want to pester people in the process.
3. Find a way to STAND OUT in your field.
This may be one of the most difficult of the options discussed. As people with Chronic Illness often have low self-esteem due to the things that they have gone through. That being said it will be important that you find a way to make yourself stand out to the hiring manager or company. This can be done by finding a way to make others know how great you are, without boasting. (If you do have trouble with self-esteem you might want to consider seeing a counselor or someone that could help you find healthy ways to build your self-esteem.)
4. Contact a Career Counselor
This could be helpful if you are changing professions or just need help finding some options in your preferred profession. They can also help you create a resume and cover letter that will help to make you and your skills STAND OUT.
5. Develop a thick skin
This will be most important because you are not going to get every job you apply for or even interview for. So it will be important that you develop a thick skin and you don't get hurt by every rejection. Rejection happens to all of us and is just a part of life.
6. DO NOT DISCUSS YOUR CONDITION
There most likely will come a time when you need to disclose your condition(s) to an employer. However, the application and/or interview process is not that time. Employers are always looking for a reason to delete Candidates from their list of options so they can narrow it down to the best person for THEIR job. It is best that you keep your condition to yourself until/if there comes a time when you need to talk about accommodations for your new positions. The only time it would be okay to bring up your condition(s) would be if it would directly relate to how you will/would be able to do the new job.
Hopefully you find all of these tips helpful if you are looking for a new job or career. They have the potential to change the job hunting game. For further information on this topic please check out: