First impressions count, especially when applying for jobs. We have created a helpful guide to writing a stand-out CV, tailored to the needs of those with a disability.

A CV, or curriculum vitae, is a document used to apply for jobs. Your CV should summarise your education, qualifications, experience and skills to show your potential employer why you make the ideal candidate.

Hints and tips:

  • Format correctly: A CV should typically be an A4 page in length, in a sensible font. Use headers to split up your CV into legible sections. Save your CV in a PDF format to secure the formatting.
  • Be positive: Your CV aims to impress your potential employer enough that they invite you for an interview. Save what you consider to be your weaknesses for discussion at the interview stage.
  • Be honest: Don’t exaggerate your skills or experiences. This may be revealed later and could risk you losing your job.
  • Disclosing your disability: Mentioning your disability on a CV is entirely your choice. If you choose not to mention your disability, this is not dishonest.

If you have a physical disability, suppose you are a wheelchair user, you may prefer to let your employer know of your disability. This could help your employer to implement the appropriate accommodations at the interview stage.

However, you shouldn’t feel the need to do this through your CV. Sometimes a cover letter is a more appropriate place to make your potential employer aware of your disability.

Our step-by-step guide to writing your CV

Contact details

Your CV should begin with outlining key contact details, including your home address, phone number and email address. You are not required to include your date of birth or nationality.

For example:

Joe Bloggs

45 West Street, Leeds, LS16 5XX

Tel: 07123456789

Email: [email protected]

Personal profile

Highlight your skills, abilities and attributes that make you who you are. Always be positive, enthusiastic and confident. Everyone has a different skillset. If your disability affects a particular skill, don’t be discouraged; focus on the abilities personal to you.

For example:

I am a well-organised professional who is able to learn new skills and adapt to novel situations quickly. I am confident with both working independently or as part of a team and can happily take on a leadership position. As a friendly and approachable person, I feel comfortable with communicating effectively with others.

Qualifications and achievements

Outline the qualifications you have gained, including the institution and dates. This could include the GCSEs gained at high school, A-Levels at sixth-form or a degree if you attended university. You may also want to mention your involvement in specific projects or extra-curricular achievements.

For example:

2008

BA (Hons) 2:1 English Literature at The University of Birmingham

2005

Three A-Level passes in History (A), English (C) and IT (B) at Leeds Sixth-Form College

2003

Nine GCSE passes (graded A* to C) including English, Mathematics and IT at Leeds High School

Work experience

Move on to summarise your previous places of employment, highlighting your responsibilities and the skills you acquired. For those seeking first-time-employment, then this section is not necessary. Instead, expand on your personal profile, or interests section (see below).

For example:

Aug 2008 – Present:   Journalist at BBC News

  • Researching articles;
  • Writing, editing and submitting copy;
  • Interviewing sources and attending key events;
  • Staying up to date with privacy, contempt and defamation law; and
  • Liaising with editors, designers and photographers and videographers.

Aug 2005 – May 2008:    Sales Assistant at Leeds Gift Store

  • Greeting and serving of customers;
  • Cashiering;
  • Stock control; and
  • Designing window displays and arranging stock within the store.

Interests

You may want to close your CV with some brief information about your hobbies and interests. This section is optional, but it allows you to convey your personality to your potential employer.

For example:

I enjoy visiting art galleries and museums in my spare time, as well as drawing and painting as a method of relaxing.

References

A referee is a contact that can vouch for your skills, character and work performance. This could be a previous manager, colleague, teacher or mentor. It’s essential to contact your referee in advance to make sure they are happy to provide a reference for you.

It’s not essential to include the details of your referee on your CV. Instead, you may want to highlight to your potential employer that you have contacts that could provide a reference if required. However, available references are expected by most employers, so this is not necessary.

For example:

References available on request