Even if you have had gaps in your education or employment due to a long-term health condition, you may have more transferrable skills from your everyday experiences than you might think. Here are just five ways your chronic illness makes you more employable, to help to think more creatively about what you can offer potential employers…
Often, people with chronic illnesses have to be proactive in planning how they use their time. We may have to structure activities around our ‘good’ and ‘bad’ spells during the working day or week, and ensure we have a sufficient balance between productivity and rest. As such, we’re well equipped to show initiative and work independently at the tasks that come within a job role. We innately know how to carry out work safely and sustainably.
One element of life with a long-term condition that often goes unrecognised is how skilled we become at listening; properly listening. We take in an abundance of information about our health conditions, from doctors and other healthcare professionals, and being able to filter through and identify key messages from what is relayed to us can be crucial to illness management. These listening skills mean employers can trust that we’re engaged with and receptive to information that’s passed on to us from others, and know how to act upon it accordingly.
People with health conditions can unfortunately face dozens of invisible barriers in life, many of which can be disheartening and demoralising. However, we pick ourselves up after every setback, and we keep going. We look after our health to the best of our ability, and we’re still driven to make the most of our lives and use our skills for good. Self-motivation is an incredibly desirable asset to many employers, and your lived experiences of chronic illness will show that you have this quality in abundance.
Ability To Prioritise
Similarly to time management, it’s likely that your experiences of illness have led you to become skilled in prioritisation. You may have to deal with limited energy or limited usable hours due to your condition, meaning that decisions constantly have to be made about how these things would best be spent; this may even feel like second nature to you. The ability to prioritise tasks is a crucial part of many roles, and your experience in this area may help you to stand out from other applicants… so be sure to showcase this one in particular!
Finally, we should never underestimate the importance of having empathy and being able to form human connections with others. The adversity which may come with chronic illness often leads to us becoming even more in-tune with the feelings and experiences of other people, and this asset can have hugely positive implications in the workplace. Being able to put yourself in the shoes of an organisation’s consumer audience, your colleagues, or even your recruiter can be a good indicator of your character and integrity, and shows that you’ll be particularly receptive to the goals of the organisation or the people it‘s designed for.
We hope this goes some way in demonstrating just how much you, as a candidate, have to offer. You can also find this information in video form on our YouTube channel:
If you have identified any other transferrable skills that have come about from your health condition, we’d love to hear about them!
You can find out more and get in touch with Astriid via our contact page. You may also be interested in our research report – Employment And Long-Term Illness: The Invisible Talent Pool!