As a job seeker with a mental illness, it can seem daunting and slightly worrying when it comes to writing a resume. So many thoughts can fly through your mind such as, “Will they mind that I have a mental illness?”, “Does it affect my chances of getting the position?”, or “Will they think of me as less-abled when it comes to the task at hand?”
These are perfectly valid thoughts when you have a mental illness, but you need not worry. Today, I’m going to talk you through everything you need to know about writing the perfect, interview-securing resume even if you have a mental illness.
Don’t Mention Your Mental Illness in Your Resume
The first thing you need to know is that you’re protected from discrimination because you have a mental illness (disability). There are many acts in place to stop this happening, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
This act forbids companies with over 15 employees from discriminating individuals who have mental or physical conditions, asking about your medical condition or taking pre-screening medical tests. With this in mind, there’s no reason for you to mention the mental illness in your resume.
“. . . the only way an employer will find out is when you come in for an interview, or you’re organizing an interview and you ask what the best entrance into the building is for a wheelchair or any other requirements that may need to be made . . .” — Charlotte Holder, a resume writer for Essay Roo.
Focus on the Positives on Your Resume, Not Your Mental Illness
When it comes to writing your resume, the sole purpose of the document is to highlight your skills, your achievements and what you can bring to the business you’re applying for, so you need to bear this in mind through every stage of writing.
Not only should you use this opportunity to showcase what you’ve achieved in the past, but you also need to focus on your strengths and what abilities you can use and how they are going to help and provide for the position you’re applying for.
A resume is supposed to be a positive document that can show what you can bring, so make sure that is what it is. Highlight and include your previous work experience and note how that experience can help you in this future role. Be proud of how you have excelled in the past and how you can excel in the future.
Gaps in Job History Due to Mental Illness
One of the most common problems faced when writing a resume is what to do about mental illness-related gaps. Due to your mental illness, perhaps through treatment or recovery times, there may be gaps that appear within your resume’s work history section.
Thanks to modern day computer systems, it can actually be easy for companies to scan these dates to find out what happened by researching your medical history. However, the best way to address this is just to be honest and to add any significant dates, perhaps three or more months, and simply write ‘Illness and Recovery.”
Not only does this identify the gap regarding mental illness in your resume, but it also mentions you’ve recovered and you’re ready to start working again.
This article was written by:
To be a guest author on the Your Mental Health Blog, go here.