Commencing The Career Development Journey by lindash


Commencing The Career Development Journey

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									Commencing the job-searching journey can often feel like a complex and arduous procedure for all job-seekers,
including job-seekers with a disability. Identifying personal career pathways, the demand for complex skill requirements,
fierce competition for positions and varied or limited work experiences are just some of the issues that
face people who are seeking employment.

Job-seekers with a disability also have to consider the possible or perceived impact their disability may have whilst
seeking and maintaining employment. Job requirements and the fear of disability discrimination in the workplace are
some of the issues that may impact on the job-searching journey for many people with a disability.

Disclosure of disability is an issue that many people with disabilities grapple with when seeking employment. Disclosure
of disability should not be the focal point whilst developing a career plan and seeking employment. As with all job-
seekers, the emphasis should first be on the person’s skills, qualities, abilities and interests, followed by self-
assessment about disability and disclosure. The following steps identify one process in developing career options for
ALL job-seekers:

Commencing The Career Development Journey

1. Self Assessment

The cornerstone of any job search preparation is self-assessment.
If a job-seeker is able to describe their personality and values, reflect on the knowledge gained from previous
experiences, and articulate their skills in detail, then they have the basis of knowing what they want in a job and career.
This is also the basis for addressing the selection criteria in job applications.

2. Identification Of Work Preferences And Experiences

Identification of work preferences and experiences that are related to the job-seeker’s interests and personal
requirements such as work conditions, preferred work location, knowledge areas and education levels is required. This
assists ALL job-seekers to create a balance between work aspirations and lifestyle considerations.

3. Exploration

Exploration of career fields, occupations and areas of interests assists job-seekers in formulating job options.
Investigation may include seeking information about:
          occupations - job descriptions, inherent requirements of positions of employment, qualifications required to
          gain entry to careers, and sources of additional and related information
          industries and professions - current developments and activities in industries and professions
          labour market trends - current and projected labour market demands, recent salaries, and skills required for
          employment and
          training courses - information on the range of courses available through universities, TAFE, and other
          vocational education and training providers
          Internet and library resources
          community agencies and government and career services
          opportunities to meet with employers and employees in person.
4. Decision Making

This is the stage at which job-seeker’s begin to prioritise and narrow down their options, and choose which possibilities
they wish to pursue. Careers services, agencies, friends and family may assist with this process. Time is required to
reflect on choices made.

5. Planning

Having decided on a career direction, identifying goals and the steps required to achieve those goals is required. Job-
seeker’s need to identify possible constraints or barriers they may have and suggested strategies and resources to deal
with those issues, resources required and the length of time needed to achieve the goals. For job-seeker’s with
disabilities, identifying possible constraints or barriers may also include disability specific issues and strategies
such as:

      •    does the job-seekers disability impact on the inherent requirements of the job
      •    what type of work related adjustments might be required to meet the inherent requirements of the job?
      •    what additional skills would be required to meet the inherent requirements of the job such as the use of
           assistive technology or job re-design
      •    identification of additional support services (if required) such as disability employment services,
           commonwealth rehabilitation services, counsellors etc.

6. Doing

At this stage, job-seekers need to act on the information gained, the decisions made and the steps identified to achieve
the identified goals. Typical activities at this stage of the career planning process include preparing cover letters and
résumés, completing application forms, and also preparing for interviews. This stage is where much of the
information gained in the earlier steps can be utilised.

7. Disclosure Personal Plan

Once a career plan has been established that reflects the job-seekers skills, abilities and interests, a personal plan that
outlines the choices that could be made specific to disclosure, needs to be considered by job-seekers with disabilities.
Investigation of legislative rights, responsibilities, experiences of other employees and employers with disabilities, and
disability services and support networks may assist in composing a plan that outlines effective
disclosure strategies. This Resource may also assist job-seekers in developing a Disclosure Personal Plan.

Access to University and TAFE careers services and other specialist employment and recruitment services can greatly
assist job-seekers in developing and implementing an effective career and/or Disclosure Plan.

Disclosure Of Disability

Every job-seeker with a disability is faced with the choice of whether or not to disclose their disability. Ultimately the
decision is a personal one, based on a number of issues. Below are some of the considerations job-seekers may make
at the time of developing a career plan and seeking employment
Why Job-Seekers May Choose To Disclose

Ursula is very keen to work with elderly people who have visual impairments and she believes her own
experiences of managing a visual impairment will provide a valuable addition to her work. Therefore, she has
decided to disclose her disability when speaking to prospective employers or
employment agencies, to provide evidence of her skills and commitment to this work.

Job-seekers with a disability may choose to disclose their disability to:

      • obtain disability specific information to assist in developing an effective career plan that addresses possible
          barriers and strategies
      •   identify disability specific employment services and support networks
      •   discuss employment requirements with recruitment agencies, employment organisations and/or professional
          registration boards
      •   meet with employees and employers with disabilities to obtain information, experiences and suggested
          strategies in seeking employment
      •   identify and access disability specific employment and recruitment schemes e.g. Willing and Able Mentoring
      •   assist in identifying disability specific positions of employment (if the job-seekers career plan is to work in a
          disability related employment area)
      •   discuss disability issues with prospective employers to determine whether the inherent requirements of the
          position could be met, with or without work related adjustments, and what support services and supports are
          available in the organisation
      •   Obtain information about an organisation’s employment equity strategies.

Why Job-Seekers May Choose NOT To Disclose

Sean has decided to investigate all employment options that are available to him now that he has successfully
completed his degree in Engineering. He has decided not to disclose his disability, because he feels that through his
course he has developed a range of strategies and skills for assisting him to complete the broad range of tasks required
of engineers. He has tested these skills in numerous field trips and practicums.

Job-seekers with a disability may choose NOT to disclose their disability because:

      •   they believe that they can manage their career development plan and job seeking activities in the same way
          as any other job-seekers
      •   they do not believe that disclosing would be effective in developing a career plan or seeking employment
      •   they fear that they may be treated differently or may not receive the same opportunities as other job-seekers
      •   they are able to access information and resources without disclosing their disability.

What To Disclose

It is not essential to disclose specific medical or personal information about a disability. A persons disability is only
important in so far as it may have an impact on some aspects of the inherent requirements of the chosen career and to
help identify any work related adjustments which may be required.
   To Whom Should Disclosure Occur?

   A job-seeker with a disability may choose to disclose their disability when developing a career plan and seeking
   employment. Disclosure of disability may be made to the following personnel:

         •   careers advisors; to assist in the development of an effective career plan and job opportunities
         •   disability specific employment services and support networks; to assist in job-seeking activities and
             opportunities and/or develop external support networks
         •   professional registration boards; to identify professional registration requirements
         •   employees and employers with disabilities; obtain specific disability and employment information, develop
             mentoring networks and other support structures
         •   disability specific employment and recruitment schemes; to take advantage of equal employment opportunities
             and schemes
         •   prospective employers; to assist in obtaining information about the organisation, the prospective position,
             equity programs, support structures, workplace adjustment schemes.

   The Purpose Of Disclosing

   The main purpose of disclosure at the point of developing a career plan and job seeking is to:

         • obtain information about career options, skill requirements and career registration requirements to determine
             whether the job-seeker can meet the job specifications of prospective positions of employment
         •   assist in identifying possible work related adjustments that may be required in positions of employment
         •   establish external support structures to be put in place when a position of employment is made available
         •   develop mentoring and peer support structures with employees and employers with disabilities
         •   access disability specific recruitment and employment schemes
         •   discuss a particular position of employment with a prospective employer to obtain information about the
             requirements, organisational structure, and/or support services.

   Disclosure is most effective when people are clear about the purpose and the desired outcomes of disclosing. This
   ensures that disclosure occurs with the right person, in a timely and appropriate manner and with a clear goal in mind.

         “Effective disclosure begins when individuals are knowledgeable about their disability and are able to
         articulate both their disability-related needs and their (skills)” (1)

   Job-Seekers: Rights And Responsibilities In Disclosing Whilst Developing A Career Plan And
   While Looking For Work

   Job-seekers have a right to:

         • have information about their disability treated confidentially and respectfully
         • seek information from organisations about equity policies, practices and strategies from potential employers
             prior to applying for positions of employment. These policies and practices may be available from public
             organisations and larger private organisations
         •   choose to disclose their disability prior to applying for positions of employment to discuss specific
             requirements in relation to their disability or to discuss the inherent requirements of the position and how they
             will manage them effectively.


         •   job-seekers need to be aware that disclosing prior to applying for a position does not remove their
             responsibility in disclosing their disability once in the position of employment IF they wish to implement work
             related adjustments
         •   job-seekers with a disability need to address the essential requirements of an advertised position, regardless
             of the fact that preliminary discussions had occurred with the prospective employer.
  Other Parties: Role And Responsibilities When Job-seekers Disclose Their Disability Whilst
  Developing A Career Plan And While Looking For Work


         •   for support services, as identified by the job-seeker with a disability, to meet and discuss with them the
             identified issues and inform them about available support structures, strategies and services
         •   for support services to inform the job-seeker about legislative rights and the different points of disclosure in the
             employment environment
         •   where appropriate, the identified support service may start to develop a ‘Plan of Action’ with the job-seeker to
             develop strategies to meet the identified employment goals
         •   prospective employers and/or recruitment organisations that choose to meet with the job-seeker, are required
             to provide information, advice and guidance about employment opportunities in an objective, non-
             discriminatory manner.


         •   to keep all Information confidential, unless the job-seeker has provided written consent to have information
             disclosed to other parties such as human resources, recruitment organisations, other support services or other
             employment contacts
         •   to be non intrusive and respectful of the job-seeker’s right to privacy
         •   if a prospective employer chooses to meet with a job-seeker prior to them applying for a position of
             employment, it is the responsibility of the employer to objectively provide information in a non-discriminatory
             manner. If the job-seeker then applies for the position, it is the employers’ responsibility to objectively assess
             their application, as with any applicant, to determine whether they have met the criteria for the position to
             warrant an interview.

  It is important to know that it is against Federal and State laws to discriminate against someone on the basis of their
  disability. The Federal Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992 protects people with disabilities from discriminatory
  treatment in a range of areas including employment.

  An employer’s (or prospective employer’s) main obligations under both the Acts are

         •   not to discriminate directly by less favourable treatment
         •   not to discriminate indirectly by treatment which is less favourable in its impact
         •   to make reasonable adjustments where required
         •   to avoid and prevent harassment.

For further information refer to:

   •    Disability Discrimination Act Information Sheet in this resource
   •    Human Rights and Equal Opportunity, Disability Rights, Employment Information website


(1) Scholl & Mooney, Undated Draft Document, Disclosure in work based learning programs

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