Should we mention the visual impairment in the CV/cover letter?
We would say: no!
In fact, we wouldn’t mention our disability in the CV/cover letter if we are not sure it is a strength point for the job vacancy.
But, it can also depend on several factors and it is important to assess them to make a responsible decision.
We suggest examine the company culture, mission and values, as well as the culture of your country. Then, you should be sure that you can perform the job you are applying for.
If you think that your disability might be seen as an added-value or a strength by the company, because of the company’s values and culture, or because of the kind of tasks you should perform if you will be engaged, then you can decide to mention it in the CV / cover letter.
Otherwise, as said at the beginning of this paragraph, we advise not to mention it.
If you decide not to mention your disability in the CV/cover letter be aware that, if contacted for a job interview, the recruiter will definitely notice it.
At that moment, before the job interview will take place, you should decide whether you wish to inform the employer before the job interview (e.g. if you call asking for the way to reach the company workplace you can mention your visual disability explaining you need to know the way to go by bus), or during the interview itself: in this case, don’t be surprised if the recruiter is astonished at your arrival! And be prepared to face his/her reaction.
During the EBU 2015 training, a participant mentioned a blind girl who took different assistive devices with her to the job interview, in order to show them to the potential employer. We had never thought about this, and we guess it might be a good idea to take some assistive devices. The interviewer will see with his own eyes that assistive technology exists and can support blind people in performing many tasks.
Another concrete example: once, a young Italian person told that he mentioned his visual impairment in his cover letter. He described briefly how a screen reader works and he added the Internet website of a screen reader producer so that the company could get more information. Thanks to this, he was able to get the job without any problem because the company took information and the employer felt more comfortable in hiring a visually impaired person.
Unfortunately, we have to say that recruiters and employers aren’t always so open-minded… they are often capable of prejudice or stereotyping.
If you manage to get the job, it might be your challenge to demonstrate that a blind person can be a resource for the other workers and that sometimes the disability can be an added-value for the company! For instance, thanks to the engagement of a blind worker, the company might decide to process all data in electronic format (excluding thousands of paper-printed documents)
Source: Cascio & Ebels, 2016, p19-20.