Planning for life after high school is important, and choosing the right career is a big part of that.
The outlook for people with cystic fibrosis (CF) is better than it ever has been, and as medical research continues, may get better.
This means that as a teenager with CF, planning for life after high school is important, and picking the right career or job is a big part of that.
There’s a few basic things everyone, whether they have CF or not, need to think about when picking a career, but when you have CF, there are a few extra layers to them.
Before you choose a university degree or other course, and before you start looking for a job, stop and think about these points:
What are your formal qualifications? What’s your personality type? Are you hardworking? Quick to learn? How does your CF affect your physical ability?
Do you need flexible working hours? Are they any environmental hazards in the workplace that will affect your CF e.g. hair spray, spray paint? Would a sitting job be better for your CF than a more active job, or vice versa
If your ideal job isn’t really compatible with your CF, be open to new choices. Think about your skills and how else you can apply them. Chat to people in careers you might not have thought about before and find out how they got where they are.
Once you are ready to start working, and you’ve found a job to apply for, do some research about the company and the environment and be sure it’s suitable for you and your CF.
Update your CV, make sure you have all your educational qualifications, work history, volunteer experiences, and skills listed. Also have a couple of people on standby to act as a referee e.g. previous employer, sporting club managers, teachers, interest group managers.
Once you get an interview, be prepared for the questions you might be asked. Check out the interview tips on the Seek career website.
Remember you are under no obligation to tell the interviewer about your CF, unless it will have an impact on your ability to do the job. Have a look at the Employment and Disclosure page for more information.
Sometimes it can take a long time to find a job. You might get lots of “thanks, but no thanks” responses, but it’s important to stay positive about the process. Remember that stress can exacerbate your CF.
Being prepared and confident will help you get through this stage, and they are also qualities that employers love. Don’t lose sight of what you want, but have a few plans on how to get there in case the first one doesn’t work.
Your CV (or resume) and cover letter are often the first impression you will make on a prospective employer, so you need to make them look good, professional and sell yourself against the specific job ad.
Seek has some great tips for writing both (and they cover what to do if you don’t have any experience).
In short though, make sure you include these things on your CV:
Full name, contact numbers and email. Some people also add a photo, however this is discretionary.
You don’t have to include this, but some people choose to state they have CF and a small description about how it’s managed. It can demonstrate you are upfront and your resilience.
Have a look at the Employment and Disclosure page for more information.
All certificates and qualifications, including any leavers certificate from school if recent
This tells the employer what kind of person you are, and if don’t have formal qualifications, or it’s your first job, they are even more important.
List all the dates and details of your volunteer and paid roles. Volunteering experience is just as valuable as paid employment.
Add something that gives your potential employer some insight as to what sort of person you are, but make sure it’s relevant to the job. A detailed description of your love of computer games isn’t necessarily important, unless you are applying for a job in a video game store.
If you have previous employment use a supervisor or manager, however if it’s your first job you could use a family friend, teacher or someone who will speak well of you.
Extra support can be given for job preparation, finding and securing a job, getting support on the job, vocational education and training, apprenticeships and traineeships.
Try these sites for extra help: