Work & Education

Employment and disability: looking for work

Jane Hatton, who manages Evenbreak, a not-for-profit job board run by disabled people for disabled people, publishes her monthly article on the subject of employment and diversity.


Life would be much easier if all employers advertised their jobs in the same place. We could just go there and find them. But of course, nothing is that straightforward. Those jobs which are advertised could turn up anywhere, and many jobs are filled without ever being advertised at all (the so-called “hidden job market”). So, where to look? Here are a few ideas:

Newspapers and journals

Most local newspapers (paid-for and free) advertise local jobs. More senior jobs are often advertised in national newspapers on particular days. If you are a member of a particular trade or professional association you might subscribe to its journal, which will often display job adverts. To save money, have a look online to see if you can access the job pages there, or your local library or job centre should have copies of local and national newspapers. Buying “print advertising” is expensive, so not all employers advertise their jobs this way.

Job boards

There are many job boards around, some specialist and some generic. Pick the ones most relevant for you, and register on them, uploading your CV. As a tip, about once a month, update your CV and save it again, otherwise it will drop down the list of CVs that employers search for. It’s a good idea to use a range of job boards – some of the generic boards (e.g. Monster, Indeed, Total Jobs etc), and also any that specialise in your sector (some specialise in engineering, or sales, or hospitality, or charities, for example). And of course look on Evenbreak, as employers who are actively looking to attract disabled applicants advertise their jobs there.

Jobcentre Plus

You can access the jobs online, over the telephone or by visiting your local Jobcentre Plus, and advisors should be able to tell you about any local job fairs which might be coming up. Universal Jobmatch is a good source of jobs, but again, not all employers advertise their vacancies here, so don’t restrict your search to this one method. Disability Employment Advisers should help you search for relevant roles. Some are more helpful than others, so it’s worth doing your own search as well.

Recruitment agencies

There are a number of agencies, some better than others, so it is worth shopping around. They will want to see your CV, and might want to interview you. You are responsible for managing the relationship, so make sure you agree the lines of communication, and if you aren’t happy with the service you are receiving you can ask to be taken off their books and move to another agency. Again, be selective about which ones you use and perhaps just register with two or three. See if people in your network can recommend any through personal experience, otherwise look for those who are members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. Some may specialise in your chosen sector, or have departments that do.


It is estimated that 75% of jobs are filled without ever being advertised, so it is a good idea to let as many people as possible know the type of opportunity you are looking for. They may be able to give you inside information or introduce you to people who might be able to help you. Talk to people you know, and also consider online networking – particularly sites like LinkedIn. Recruiters are increasingly searching online for people with the skills they need, and if your profile isn’t there, they won’t find you.

Being pro-active

There is no harm in contacting companies you would particularly like to work for, finding out if there are any suitable opportunities coming up, and sending in a speculative CV. Timing is everything, and sometimes you might appear just as they are looking for someone with your skill set. It’s a good idea just to nudge them every now and again with a follow-up email so that you stay on their radar if a suitable role comes up.

I would advise using as many of these sources of jobs as you can – the more vacancies you find, the better your chances of finding the job that is perfect for you.

By Jane Hatton

Check out…

Employment and disability: gaining confidence
City disabilities: building a career
Building a business around your disability

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