Jobseekers Guide

This brochure has been produced to answer those questions most commonly asked by jobseekers with epilepsy, and to outline the basic steps in developing an effective jobsearch strategy.

 

You need a good deal of preparation and planning to find a job in today’s competitive labour market. Every jobseeker should have a jobsearch strategy.
If you have epilepsy, you may also have to consider some additional issues.

Developing a Jobsearch Strategy

Before you start looking for a job, you will need answers to the following questions:

  • What do you want to do?
  • What are your strengths and what can you offer an employer?

It helps to choose something you will enjoy doing rather than taking the first thing that comes along. Seeking advice from someone who does the kind of work you are interested in can also help.

 

It may seem obvious but an employer will be more likely to employ you if you have a genuine interest in the job. It is also important to be realistic about your ambitions. You may become frustrated and disheartened if you seek a job for which you are unqualified or unsuited.
Your epilepsy should not influence your choice of work unless there are obvious hazards involved in that area.

Making the Most of your Jobsearch

Securing a job involves more than just looking in the paper or sending off 100 resumes every week. A well-prepared jobsearch strategy gives you the edge over other jobseekers and helps you make the most of your time.

 

You will also gain confidence because you know what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.

Your jobsearch strategy may include:

  • Preparing a script so you know what you are going to say to employers on the telephone, in letters and in person
  • A commitment to make at least three personal visits to employers every week
  • An undertaking to make at least three telephone calls to employers every day
  • Regularly visiting job centres, reading newspapers and contacting employers.

The hidden job market

A large number of job vacancies are not even advertised. These jobs form part of the “hidden job market” which you can only access by actively seeking out vacancies.

This involves

  • Asking family, friends and acquaintances to be your eyes and ears in the job market
  • Approaching employers in person as well as the usual telephone and letter applications
  • Keeping a written record of employers you have approached and recontacting them after a month or so

Jobsearch services

There is no shortage of services available to help you find work but you must be willing to go out and use them. Libraries, job centres, youth access centres and a range of government sponsored training courses are there to assist you.

 

Local libraries, for example, provide books to help you put together your own jobsearch plan.

Should I tell an employer about my epilepsy?

In deciding whether or not to disclose your epilepsy, consider the following questions:

  • Will my epilepsy affect my ability to carry out my work?
  • Is my employer likely to find out, whether I tell them or not?
  • Do my workmates need to know in case I have a seizure at work?

If you think an employer needs to know that you have epilepsy, then it is better to tell them rather than to have them find out for themselves.

 

If you seizures are so infrequent that they don’t interfere with your work, them you may decide that the employer does not need to know.

How do I tell an employer I have epilepsy

The way you react to your epilepsy and learn to deal with it will often determine the reactions of others, including employers. Many people fear discrimination if they disclose their epilepsy. However, HOW you tell an employer will often determine their reaction.

 

Being prepared to talk openly and to explain your epilepsy at interviews is better than simply stating that you have epilepsy. By understanding the employer’s concerns and addressing them, you can give yourself a better chance of securing the job. You are also giving the employer an opportunity to understand your situation.

It is important for you to keep your epilepsy in perspective. After all, a job interview is all about your ability to do the job.

Original courtesy of Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria: Revised April 2002