My name is Filippo, from Rome, Italy and I am neurodivergent. I have a mental disorder which causes my dyslexia.
Here are my top tips for managing university life with a disability:
1.The importance of networks
First, I wish I had a network of people and professionals who could support me in preparing my CV and cover letter and reviewing the technical/financial and competency-based knowledgen Through your networks, identify a mentor to support and develop you in your career path.
2.Work experience and careers events
If you do not have any work experience, that does not hinder you to apply to any employers. Volunteering and civil service is an ideal way to gain these skills, since you could get involved to team working, problem solving or organizational activities.
In addition to this, planning your career by attending as many events as possible is crucial. Participating in consulting, legal and financial services and other industry events via an organisation such as MyPlus Students’ Club would provide you with a better idea of which employer will make you thrive and grow in their workplace and enable you to network with your peers.
3.Key employability skills
I believe the key employability skills to have in any industry are:
Demonstrating an exceptional level of attention to detail
Being able to interact with senior management and clients
Acting as a team player with an ability to prioritise and meet deadlines
Being pro-active, confident and self-motivated; ability to problem solve
In order to be able to demonstrate these skills during a competency-based interview, I have reflected upon my educational and professional experiences to come up with situations where I could demonstrate attention to detail, communication skills, teamwork, dealing with difficult and challenging problems.
Here’s a tangible example of the ability to work in team, while I was taking part into a volunteering program in India, I was teaching teenagers English and literature with another volunteer. The team member who was helping me out, taking care of the teaching activities was not particularly skilled in Politics as she was a Graphic designer graduate. As a result, she was feeling out of context. Therefore, we decided together that she would help in crafting slides, these have been instrumental in delivering the key teaching concepts and diving through them with practical examples e.g., images, charts. Such slides and decks helped us to deliver the right messages. The result was the establishment of partnerships with employers and a wide network of opportunities for young, skilled workers in a fair and equitable workspace.
My condition may have certainly had consequences in my educational and professional paths. Nevertheless, compared to my peers, I have nurtured a profound sensibility towards others’ feelings and conditions, being able to thoroughly understand team dynamics. Moreover, I have had the capacity to think about a problem or an argument from a totally different angle compared to my fellow.
Having a different perspective is key in the workplace as an employee who can bring fresh insights to senior management and clients. I reflect our society, and the directional changes society might be taking in the medium- and long-run.
Finally, as I have experienced difficulties in writing and interpreting words, I have started to practice my writing and I have now developed a particular attention to the meaning of words. This is extremely important when demonstrating attention to details at work.
5.Prepare your CV.
Prepare your CV for example, in the financial services industry, it is important to:
prepare your CV, outlining the key employability skills and including the keywords of the job specification.
present your CV in the form of a story, identify a maximum of five stories coming from your (curricular or extra-curricular) experiences e.g., tell me about a time when you faced a challenge, worked in team etc.
know the current macroeconomic and industry environment – risks, challenges. There are many useful websites such as Financial Times, The Economist, Standard & Poor’s website etc.
prepare your technical: accounting, valuation via specialised website such as Break in Wall Street.
In conclusion, we already possess these highly sought capabilities and employability skills. It is just a matter of having the opportunity to showcase and apply them.
Take notes on interview questions
After each interview, it’s a valuable practice to make notes of the questions that the interviewer asked you. This can help you remember the types of questions that are commonly asked in your field or industry. It’s also useful for preparing for future interviews, as you can tailor your responses to these common questions.
Prepare for common questions
Analyse the questions that came up frequently during your interviews. These might include inquiries about your strengths and weaknesses, your experience, your problem-solving abilities, and your goals. Preparing well-thought-out responses to these questions can boost your confidence and performance in future interviews. There are portals on the internet gathering those question such as IB 500 questions for investment banking standard questions.
Reflect on the questions posed and your responses to them
Consider how you answered each question during the interview. Did you feel confident in your responses, or were there areas where you stumbled or felt less sure? Reflecting on your answers can help you identify areas for improvement in your communication and presentation skills.
Ask for Feedback
Don’t hesitate to ask for feedback from the recruiter or interviewer, especially if you were not selected for the position. Constructive feedback can provide valuable insights into how you presented yourself and what you could do better in future interviews. Take this feedback seriously and use it as a basis for improvement.
Mock Interviews and Practice
Consider engaging in mock interviews or practicing with a friend or mentor. Mock interviews can help you refine your answers, build confidence, and receive constructive criticism in a safe environment. Seeking out different perspective and ideas is essential to devise comprehensive answers.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
Rejection in job interviews is a common experience. It’s essential to maintain a positive attitude and not get discouraged. Each interview is an opportunity to learn and grow, and rejection is a steppingstone toward finding the right fit.
Document Your Progress
Keep a record of your interview experiences, feedback, and the improvements you’ve made. Over time, you can track your progress and see how you’ve developed as a candidate. I always keep a word document tracking technical and fit related questions and how to best answer on these.
Adapt and Customise
Remember that every job interview is unique. While learning from past interviews is essential, adapt your approach to each specific opportunity. Tailor your responses to the company’s culture, values, and job requirements. Attending companies’ events allows you to easily understand the most appealing companies for you.
In summary, treating each job interview as a learning experience and continuously improving your interview skills can significantly enhance your chances of success in landing the right job. It’s a process of self-reflection, adaptation, and growth that can ultimately lead to a more successful and fulfilling career.
In summary here are my top tips:
Use your networks and don’t be alone when preparing applications or interviews. It is better to work together, even remotely, to finalise applications.
Identify a mentor to support and develop you in your career path.
Gain work experience and attend careers events.
Develop your employability skills.
Identify your strengths and match them to the job universe e.g., If you are very good at writing, perhaps you could check out a career in legal services.