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University is an education in the broadest sense. Our University section will enable you to make the most of your time at University and take advantage of all of the opportunities available to you.
Making the most of your time at University
In this section you can find all the advice and guidance you need as you apply for jobs and prepare for interviews.
In the Recruitment section there is a wealth of information about completing applications forms, online tests, and the various stages in the recruitment. Whilst the Disability section provides advice on how to manage your disability during the recruitment process including information on how to inform an employer of what you require and referring to your disability during an interview.
Managing Your Disability
The Organisations section is where you can find out about various organisations, the opportunities they offer and their individual approach to disability.
Profiles / Stories
It’s always great to hear from those who have been successful.
This section profiles many individuals, working across different industries, at various stages of their careers. Their interviews demonstrate that is possible to have a successful career regardless of whether or not you have a disability. They also illustrate the adjustments that can be made in the workplace.
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I recently graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Law with European Law and, having undertaken their 2014 Summer Vacation Scheme, I was delighted to accept a training contract offer from Reed Smith. I’m due to begin the firm’s bespoke MA (LPC with Business) in 2015 and greatly look forward to joining the London office following this.
As well as their standing as a market leading international firm, as a disabled student, Reed Smith’s diversity and inclusion programme which attracts candidates from the widest possible pool was crucial to my initial decision to apply to them. Furthermore, the genuine commitment to these principles which I witnessed during my time at the firm made my decision on being offered a training contract an extremely easy one.
During my penultimate year of university I was diagnosed with a form of dyslexia. Having gone undiagnosed throughout my time at secondary school, it was only on being pushed to my academic limits at university that the condition began to significantly affect my studies. I particularly struggled with the intense time pressure of exams and consequently achieved disappointing 1st and 2nd year results, leaving me severely disheartened at my prospects of fulfilling my aspiration of securing a training contract with a top international law firm.
It was initially with great reluctance that I went for a dyslexia screening as, although both my siblings had been diagnosed with the condition, pride and the wish to fit in had always stood in my way. However, my eventual diagnosis in fact acted as a reassurance, as it went some way to explaining why I had struggled so much in exams. Whilst adjustments to my exam arrangements, including additional time, helped directly improve my performance in assessments, the broader support I received helped me adapt my study patterns to mitigate the effects of my dyslexia. In turn, this led to a significant improvement in my exam results, giving me the confidence to overcome my previously disappointing grades and apply for the top legal job I desired.
Of the firms I applied for none were more understanding of my dyslexia than Reed Smith. From the very outset I was made to feel completely at ease, as they not only allowed me additional time for the assessment process, but demonstrated flexibility and a supportive approach that meant I was really able to be myself and perform to the best of my ability throughout the vacation scheme. This openness allowed me to be confident in communicating the effects of my dyslexia to my supervisors and peers. In turn, this meant I was able adjust my work pattern to be as effective as possible.
Whilst people deal with their disabilities in different ways, I think that being open is hugely important and is certainly the best approach when applying for jobs. In being realistic and acknowledging your disability’s effects, it not only allows you the best chance to mitigate or overcome them, but also puts potential employers at ease, demonstrating that you know how to deal with your condition. Although it sometimes does feel slightly uncomfortable asking for adjustments for assessments, or more generally in the workplace, in doing so you are simply putting yourself on an even playing field with those applicants without disabilities, and it will only improve your chances of performing well and being successful with your application.
I can only thank Reed Smith for giving me this opportunity and I look forward to joining the team.
Read more dyslexia stories:
Degree / Previous: Law
Year Joined / Path : 2015
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