Often, people with chronic illnesses have to be proactive in planning how they use their time. We may have to structure activities around our ‘good’ and ‘bad’ spells during the working day or week, and ensure we have a sufficient balance between productivity and rest. As such, we’re well equipped to show initiative and work independently at the tasks that come within a job role. We innately know how to carry out work safely and sustainably.
One element of life with a long-term condition that often goes unrecognised is how skilled we become at listening; properly listening. We take in an abundance of information about our health conditions, from doctors and other healthcare professionals, and internalising key messages from what is relayed to us can be crucial to illness management. These listening skills mean employers can trust that we’re engaged with and receptive to information that’s passed on to us from others and know how to act upon it accordingly.
People with health conditions can, unfortunately, face dozens of invisible barriers in life, many of which can be disheartening and demoralising. However, we pick ourselves up after every setback, and we keep going. We look after our health to the best of our ability, and we’re still driven to make the most of our lives and use our skills for good. Self-motivation is an incredibly desirable asset to many employers, and your lived experiences of chronic illness show that you have this quality in abundance.
Similarly to time management, it’s likely that your experiences of illness have led you to become skilled in prioritisation. You may have to deal with limited energy or limited time due to your condition, meaning that decisions constantly have to be made about how these things would best be spent; this may even feel like second nature to you. The ability to prioritise tasks is a crucial part of many roles, and your experience in this area may help you to stand out from other applicants… so be sure to showcase this one in particular!
Finally, we should never underestimate the importance of having empathy and being able to form human connections with others. The adversity which may come with chronic illness often leads to us becoming even more in-tune with the feelings and experiences of other people, and this asset can have hugely positive implications in the workplace. Being able to put yourself in the shoes of an organisation’s consumer audience, your colleagues, or even your recruiter can be a good indicator of your character and integrity, and shows that you’ll be particularly receptive to the goals of the organisation or the people it‘s designed for. We hope this goes some way in demonstrating just how much you, as a candidate, have to offer. If you identify any other transferable skills that have come about from your health condition, we’d love to hear about them!