Hearing loss in the workplace can be a challenge, but with the right resources and environment, it doesn’t mean it will affect your work. But how do you get that message across to a potential employer? Do you tell the interviewer right away that you have hearing loss, or do you wait until after you get a job?
Here are my 7 tips for looking for a job as someone with hearing loss, and how to get the best out of your CV or résumé:
This is your chance to prove to employers what you’re capable of, what you’ve achieved, what your skills and personal qualities are. Make yourself stand out above others.
There have been debates about this topic. My personal view is not to disclose my hearing loss on my CV, unless it’s relevant to the job. (i.e. at a deaf charity/working with deaf people.) I personally would only disclose my disability if there is a separate application form that directly asks you to state it.
When you don’t outright disclose your hearing loss on your résumé, it gives the potential employers a chance to see what you’re capable of, without having preconceived notions of your abilities. Even if they discover your hearing loss at the interview, it gives them a chance to focus on who you are, not your deafness.
If you do want to state your disability, be careful as some people prejudge or assume this might restrict you from doing the job. However, the other side of the argument is they might see how much you have achieved, even though you have a disability.
This must be a personal decision.
Depending on the job you are applying for, it’s always good to tailor your CV/résumé in different ways to relate more to specific jobs. For example, I’ve tailored my applications differently when applying for marketing jobs than I do with lifeguard jobs. This might mean having more than one CV for different jobs, but at least you will have both copies for future reference.
I also like to think about what the employer is looking for and to choose the relevant job experiences that would appeal to them.
Even though you may have a hearing loss, don’t let that stop you from showing your future employer what you’re capable of. Don’t focus on what you can’t do, turn it around and show them what you can do!
My motto is: deaf people can achieve anything they dream of, given the right support.
This is a very important tip. For everything you state on your CV or résumé, make sure it’s true. You’ve got to be able to back your statements up with examples. If I’ve designed marketing materials, I take a portfolio of my work along to an interview. If the employer wants to see proof of my qualifications, I show them my certificates.
At the end of your résumé, you should always include a minimum two referees or references. These can be contacts from previous employers or somebody who has known you in education or professionally. These points of contact are there if potential employers want to find out more about you.
Ensure that you contact your referees for permission before using their contact details. I’ve also found it helpful to ask for a written reference letter before leaving each job. This way, I have a copy in case it’s needed.
If you feel you haven’t got much job experience, don’t worry! Focus on the things you have done. Employers are looking for skills, such as communication, leadership, team building, organisation, etc. Fundraising or voluntary work, or playing on a sports team or a club, can all have positive experiences that translate into the work environment.
If you’re looking for work experience, why not contact companies to ask if you can shadow them for a week, or volunteer in a charity shop or at a retirement home? Unpaid internships or volunteer activities all show dedication and commitment to the employer.
I hope that these tips help in your job search, even if you do have hearing loss, and I wish any job seekers the best of luck with employment. If you’ve got any extra tips for job searching or working with hearing loss, please comment below!