I have a disability, and for certain jobs I will need an accommodation. Should I mention this on my resume? Will employers feel as if I’ve misled them if I don’t?
It’s a fact that job-seekers with disabilities have more challenges to overcome than anyone else. I wish I could say that disclosing such information up front won’t take some focus off of your qualifications, but that would be naive and untrue. Even though discriminating on the basis of disability is illegal, the truth is that some hiring managers will quietly reject a resume on that basis, thinking that with so many other qualified candidates, why should they take on what they consider a complication?
It is extremely difficult to prove that your resume was rejected because of a disability, and you aren’t looking for a legal battle, just a job. For these reasons, I would not disclose your disability on your resume. Lead with your qualifications to get an invite for an interview. If your disability doesn’t require an accommodation for the job you are applying for, or isn’t obvious, I wouldn’t volunteer any information about your disability in the first interview, either. Use that meeting the same way everyone else does — to assess the company and job and to focus on your qualifications for the role and why you would be a great hire.
If you are invited for a second interview, consider then being open about any accommodation you might need to perform the essential job functions at that time. You are not legally obliged to, and you could wait until you receive a job offer, but I don’t think that’s the best way to start a relationship.
In general, don’t be defensive. Acknowledge that job-seekers with disabilities have more challenges, which means you have more to prove and are going to be that much more committed and loyal. It’s one of the reasons why many employers proactively seek individuals with disabilities. Find them at the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (AskEarn.org); Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP.gov); Job Accommodation Network (AskJan.org) and AbilityJobs.com.
Gregory Giangrande is a chief human resources and communications officer in the media industry. E-mail your career questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande. His Go to Greg podcast series is available at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/go-to-greg/id1372568339