The following article is courtesy of Dean Chaffer and myplusstudent.com. Please check out their extensive range of sources on careers for students with disabilities.
A guest blog from Dean Chaffer, Graduate
“Having recently completed my MSc in Computing, I thought I would share a few thoughts on what you can do after your degree.
Enhance Your CV
You can enhance your CV in a number of ways. Look at the transferrable and key skills you have developed during your degree. Examples are report writing, proof reading and dealing with deadlines. Another angle to look at when enhancing your CV is your disability or health condition.
What skills have you developed as a result of having a disability that make you stand out?
Do you have a lot of resilience? Do you have management skills? Have you learnt to think creatively to solve challenges related to your disability? Ensure you provide examples – these could include working with a personal assistant, or managing a personal budget for your support needs. These skills show employers that you can adapt to different situations. To enhance your CV further, set yourself some new challenges such as raising money for a cause that you believe in. I raised money for an outdoor activities centre that supports people with disabilities. All of this this will give you a variety of different things to talk about at an interview.
Develop Your Soft Skills
Soft skills – communicating well with team members and colleagues, being able to express your thoughts, or give a presentation on a particular topic – are becoming increasingly important in the workplace. Dedicating time to improving your soft skills will help you feel more confident in interview situations or the next time you are required to give a presentation.
Enrol on a Masters Degree
From September 2016 the UK Government is offering loans to those wishing to undergo postgraduate study. You are eligible for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 to cover course fees and help with living costs if you meet the following criteria:
- Aged under 60
- Ordinarily live in England
- Do not already have a master’s degree or higher qualification
Postgraduate study offers you the opportunity to develop your written and research skills, which are essential if you wish to pursue a career in academia. If this appeals to you, be ready for a lot of independent learning and self-reflection.
Be prepared for a step up in the level of work you are required to complete.
If you are considering a postgraduate degree, you can search for and compare courses at ucas.com/ucas/postgraduate. Postgraduate open days also provide an ideal opportunity to discover whether a particular university is for you; visit the university’s website for more information.
Attend a Careers Fair
When looking for employment it can be useful to attend careers fairs. Benefits include having the opportunity to demonstrate your passion and knowledge for your subject and talking to relevant employers who are looking for somebody with your skills set. Be prepared – take along copies of your CV or business cards, and be sure to follow up with a polite e-mail after the event and make any enquiries about the next steps to take.
Attend Employment Diversity Events
Large employers often host employment diversity events looking at the different ways students, recent graduates and those with long-term health conditions can get into work. The days usually consist of a series of speakers from a particular organisation, who will tell you about different aspects of a particular role. There is also the opportunity to share challenges that people might have come across on their journey into employment. Practical issues relating to starting work are also explored, such as funding from the Access to Work scheme.
The companies may present some of the opportunities they have on offer for recent graduates like you.
There is also a chance to network with industry professionals to find out what it’s like to work in a particular organisation.
Have a look at the Recruitment and Disability section for more hints and tips and good luck!”