Disability and Employment Gaps


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Anonymous writes: I am a 27-year-old female student, currently unenrolled, and looking for work. The problem is that I haven’t held a job in quite a long time, since I was 17, and I really don’t know what to say when I’m asked what I’ve been doing, because I had some trouble and had a brief hospital stay. What do you say and how to respond without letting on my disability?
The Career Doctor responds: I think you really have two very tough issues to deal with, but I think the tougher one is your lack of experience, not your disability. When you were a student during these last 10 years, what were you doing? You need to review all these years of school and see if you can develop a list of experiences — they do not need to be work experiences — where you have used, developed, honed skills. For example, have you done any class projects or major research studies or reports? You will probably need to develop a chrono-functional resume. Please read Should You Consider a Functional Resume? to get more tips and advice. As for your disability, I would suggest reading a great new article on our site, Job-Seeking Strategy for Differently-abled Candidates. You also need to know your rights. Wikipedia provides a good overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act.