- Postgraduate researchers
- Premia- resources for disabled researchers
- Career management
- What do employers want?
What do employers want?
Employers want to know three things from an applicant:
- Can you do the job?
- Do you want to do the job?
- Will you fit in with their organisation?
You need to do thorough research of the job and the organisation before applying for that job. Targeting your knowledge, skills, experience and interests to both job and organisation will maximise your chances of success. As a disabled PGR, there may be extra factors you will want to consider at each phase of the application process.
1. Can you do the job?
Researching a job description and person specification and matching your knowledge, skills and experience to them will tell you whether you meet the essential criteria. If you have kept a research training portfolio, you will have a lot of material to draw on. With or without a portfolio, if you can produce examples to use as evidence that you can do the job, you will have proved to yourself that you can do it. This exercise will give you the confidence to apply.
During the process, it is a good idea to separate your ability to do the job from any reasonable adjustments you may require - and are entitled to have - to complete the demands of the job. Being clear in your own mind about this distinction will help you when you are convincing an employer that you are the right person for the job. If the exercise shows you that you don't fit the essential criteria, your chances of success are limited; it may be better to look for something which is a closer match.
It is advisable to find the evidence of the required skills from all aspects of your life. You may have examples which show that managing your disability has had a positive impact on your skills development. You can use them to your advantage to demonstrate that you are good at:
- being proactive
- problem solving
- taking on responsibility
- thinking creatively
- using your initiative
- finding innovative solutions
- time management
- communication, negotiation, planning and organisational skills
- having a high level of self-awareness.
These are all attributes any employer wants. Providing evidence that you are using these skills every day will help to make you a candidate worth serious consideration.
2. Do you want to do the job?
Recruitment is an expensive business for employers. They want to make sure that the short listed candidates are the best. They know that someone with high motivation is likely to be a successful employee. You need to provide evidence which shows that you will relish the challenges the job offers. You will be drawing again on your knowledge, skills and experience. But the emphasis will be on matching what motivates you with the requirements of the job.
3. Will you fit in with the organisation?
Anyone applying for a job should find out as much as they can in advance about the organisation. It will help you to know if the organisation's current working practices meet your requirements, or whether you will want to ask for some reasonable adjustments to be made. If an organisation does not mention the availability of adjustments in its promotional material, don't assume it's not possible. They may never have been asked before.
If your application has suitably impressed the employer and demonstrates a ‘can do' approach, adjustments should not be a problem. The key here is for you to be able to offer the employer a solution before s/he has even registered that there is an issue.