What is Dyslexia?
The NHS reports that around 10% of the British population has dyslexia to some extent, so that makes it one of the most common learning difficulties. The British Dyslexia Association define dyslexia as “Dyslexia is a learning difference which primarily affects reading and writing skills. However, it does not only affect these skills. Dyslexia is actually about information processing. Dyslexic people may have difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear, which can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills. Dyslexia can also impact on other areas such as organisational skills.”
Choosing whether to disclose
So this means dyslexia will affect people in different ways. For those with mild dyslexia, you may not even consider yourself as having a learning disability nor wish to disclose to a potential employer. Other students decide to only disclose dyslexia after a job offer. This may be a good option if the recruitment process consists of one telephone interview and then a final face to face or video interview and there are no psychometric tests.
However, in the Careers Service we also see many students who have real concerns about disclosing dyslexia, coping with online tests and remembering examples for competencies-based questions. If you are one of these students, then do read on!
Benefits of disclosing dyslexia
Disclosing means essentially that you have the opportunity to put in place some support that enables you to compete on a level playing field with all the other candidates. It’s worth remembering that if you don’t disclose dyslexia and do poorly in a test, or interview, you can’t then disclose afterwards and ask for your results to be adjusted.
Some examples of reasonable adjustments
- You could request extra time on psychometric tests. If you know that this would be a real help to you, then consider doing this as early as possible in the recruitment process. This allows employers to consider your request and put in place any changes.
- You could ask to have some brief notes in the interview to jog your memory on your competency examples.
- If you need longer to process information, then you may ask for a short pause after an interview question to give you time to consider an answer.
These are three common examples of adjustments but do book to see a Careers Adviser if you would like to explore these further or need other adjustments in the interview process.
So how can you sell dyslexia as a strength if you disclose to an employer?
You may be thinking at this point that, you have no choice but to disclose because you need adjustments. But have you ever considered the strengths that you have developed over time as a result of dyslexia?
If you have been diagnosed a while, you have probably developed or are developing some excellent tools and techniques for managing short term memory, processing information and developing your organisational skills. Perhaps, you are excellent at building lists, prioritising and planning ahead. Maybe you have developed excellent Microsoft Xcel and Project Management skills. Skills like these are highly sought after from employers. So do think of the skills that you have developed. These are your strengths and you can really highlight these to an employer on applications and interviews.
Visual and Creativity Skills
There are also many positives to thinking differently and being neurodiverse. Many dyslexic people show strengths in areas such as reasoning and in visual and creative fields. Think whether this might be you, and examples of this you could use in your applications. If you are not sure, talk to your friends, family, mentor or book to see a Careers Adviser.
Resilience and Determination
Strengths developed as a result of your dyslexia can also show huge determination and resilience to overcome and work through challenges that you may have had in your academic studies, an internship or extra-curricular activities. Your examples might be an excellent way to demonstrate these sought-after competencies in a recruitment process.
How to Disclose
An example of how to disclose and demonstrate a strength on an application might be:
“ I have dyslexia and this means that I may need support with …. However, it has also meant that I have developed some key strengths and in particular …. For example, I have developed excellent organisational skills. I was the Events Organiser for the Netball Society and …” (evidence your strength with a strong example and you can use STAR to do this – Situation, Task, Action and Result)
It is perfectly acceptable to use one or two disability related examples on an application or interview, but do remember to take your examples from a wide variety of your experiences from academic, internships and any extra-curricular activities.
Hopefully, the above has boosted your confidence, given you some ideas and some food for thought on what strengths you may have developed as a result of dyslexia! Do book to see us if we can help you in your exploration of these!
Further Events, Resources and Information
The Careers Service run a webinar on to Disclose or Not to Disclose a Disability on a regular basis. Check out current ones here
Check out our Strengths webinar too.
Identifying your Strengths: Using A Disability to Stand Out From the Crowd –
Wed 4th Nov 11.00 am -12 noon
Further resources can be found here
- To discuss any disclosure or reasonable adjustment concerns, log on to myfuture.bath.ac.uk and looking for Careers Appointment Plus. If you cannot see a suitable time then you can also book by:
- emailing firstname.lastname@example.org,