LSE alum Tony Richards shares his thoughts and experience on how to find inclusive employers:

Searching for your first job is the hardest thing anyone will ever do, and it’s made even harder if you have a disability. I know this all too well because it took me a good year before I got my foot on the first rung of my current career ladder.

It was a huge challenge for me and I made a lot of mistakes on the way. However these are two things I figured out when I finally cracked it. First, you must be ready to say what you can deliver. Secondly, and most challenging for those with a disability, you need to find an accommodating employment culture where you can thrive.

The first bit is the easiest (but still really hard). You’ve all succeeded in securing a place at one of the most competitive universities on the planet so clearly you all know how to do it. But don’t forget that what employers want is not just a list of grades or academic achievements, they are looking for evidence of what you can deliver. LSE Careers has plenty of resources to help you articulate this.

If you’re reading this and you have a disability the second is the hardest; that is finding an employment culture where you can thrive. I would always look for employers that are positive and accommodating about employing disabled people and publically show willingness to make the appropriate reasonable adjustments for their disabled staff.  This is a really tricky task, but if you take on board some of the following tips you might make this search a bit easier:

  • Reflect carefully on your disability: Disability affects everyone differently. So thinking carefully about how yours affects you is the most important first step in figuring out if the job you’ve applied for is the right one.
  • Look for Disability Confidence: The Government is encouraging employers to become ‘Disability Confident.’ Looking at the official list of certified ‘Disability Confident’  employers might help narrow down your search.
  • Scrutinse the application form: Many application forms/job descriptions’ will ask if you have a disability, and what adjustments can be made. If this is not there ask yourself the question, is this employer really committed to accommodating someone like me? If you feel the answer is no, it might be best to look elsewhere.

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