Finding a job that is right for you
Whether you are just beginning your career or want to change your current role, job hunting can be exciting but also overwhelming. In addition to creating a strong CV and filling in application forms for prospective employers, you will also need to take cystic fibrosis (CF) into account. It is important to focus on your goals and find a job that works for you
- Search for positions regularly and prepare a CV: the job market is constantly changing, so you may want to keep your eyes open for new and different opportunities. A strong CV outlining your skills and experience will help you attract the attention of potential employers.1 Creating a catchy CV and job hunting can be time-consuming and tiring, so make sure you keep to your daily routine when working on your CV. Plan time to write it and, also, factor in time to keep it up to date. Your school’s careers counsellor or a recruiter can advise you on CV building and interview preparation
- Plan ahead: consider applying for jobs that have a suitable environment for you. Research the position prior to an interview and think of a few questions you might get asked, but also be prepared to ask your own questions, including questions regarding the working conditions and employee wellbeing2,3
- Choose carefully: there may be more to consider than the job title and salary. Prior to applying, or during the interviewing stage, you may want to consider the following:
- Is a flexible working pattern or hybrid working an option?2
- What is the work environment like? You may wish to ask about restroom accessibility, staff room fridge for food/medication storage, first aid room, onsite occupational health centres and other facilities that may be important to you2
- Ask for advice: have a mock interview with a school career advisor, relative or friend, or ask for their opinion on pros and cons about potential positions. You may also want to discuss your career plans with your CF team, as they may offer further advice and alternative viewpoints and considerations
Work perks, legal protection and government schemes
There will be important aspects to consider regarding a new job, including work perks, legal protection and government schemes. You may also want to factor in your current financial situation and how that would be affected by employment or a new workplace. The best time to discuss your health with an employer may be after a job offer is made.2
You may want to discuss flexibility of working hours, the possibility of hybrid working or a workload planned around your CF care schedule. Also, consider the number of sick leave and personal days offered, as well as other possible benefits that some bigger companies may offer. It is your choice how much information you disclose about your CF status to your employer, but make sure you highlight your strengths and abilities too.2
The Equality Act 2010 protects discrimination against people with disabilities* in the workplace.4 This protects you at all stages, including the interview process (being excluded or asked inappropriate questions) or during employment (such as refusal to make reasonable adjustments).2,4,5 If you believe that you are being discriminated against due to your CF, seek advice immediately from ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.5
You can get additional support from government schemes available for people with disabilities.* Your local Jobcentre Plus office can connect you with a disability employment advisor, who can inform you of these schemes and support you and your employer.6-8
Here are a few steps you can take to alleviate stress while looking for another job and to ensure your transition between jobs is as seamless as possible.
- Government benefits: you may be entitled to benefits that offer financial support. You can get guidance on benefit entitlement from Citizens Advice or your local Jobcentre Plus office.7 Northern Ireland residents can contact the Jobs and Benefits Office or the Employment and Support Allowance Centre8
- Stay connected: keep in touch with former colleagues and friends for job leads, and use professional networking websites to widen your job search, connect with more people and bring attention to your profile. Search for free, online programmes that can help you strengthen or widen your range of knowledge and skills, and keep your CV up to date
- Look after your health: searching for a new job can be time consuming, but it is important that you continue looking after your wellbeing, nutrition, and general health.9,10 You can discuss any concerns with your CF team
Planning your finances can be difficult, but there is help available. In addition to work and government benefits mentioned above, you may also research for websites that offer budgeting tips or ways to contribute to a savings account. You could also request advice from family, friends, your CF team or Jobcentre Plus work coach to discuss different financial planning options, budgeting tips, or available benefits and discounts.
*We understand that terms such as ‘disabled’ and ‘disability’ may feel negative and restrictive for people with CF and that they may prefer not to be defined as such. However, a chronic condition such as CF may bring times of ill health, challenges and need for treatment. It is at these times that your legal rights are important in many aspects of life, including at work. Therefore, the term ‘disability’ is used to outline your rights. In England, Wales and Scotland, the Equality Act 2010 (or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in Northern Ireland) protects you against unfair treatment and discrimination due to a disability or another characteristic, such as race, age or gender. You are protected as soon as you are diagnosed with a lifelong condition such as CF, even if you can carry out work and day-to-day activities with none or minimal disruption.2,4,5
Indeed 2022. Why is a CV important? Everything you need to know. Available at: https://uk.indeed.com/career-advice/cvs-cover-letters/why-is-a-cv-important. Accessed January 2023.
Cystic Fibrosis Trust 2021. Employment Factsheet. Available at: https://www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk/sites/default/files/2021-02/Employment%20factsheet%20Jan%202021.pdf. Accessed January 2023.
Bell SC et al. Respirology 2018;23:1190–1197.
UK Government 2015. Equality Act 2010: Guidance. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance. Accessed January 2023.
ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service). Improving equality, diversity and inclusion in your workplace. Available at: https://www.acas.org.uk/improving-equality-diversity-and-inclusion. Accessed January 2023.
Job Centre 2022. How to get a job when you have a disability. Available at: https://www.jobcentreguide.co.uk/jobcentre-plus-guide/34/about-disability-employment-advisors. Accessed January 2023.
Citizens Advice 2022. Benefits. Available at: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/. Accessed January 2023.
Contact Jobcentre Plus. Available at: Contact Jobcentre Plus: How to contact Jobcentre Plus - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Accessed January 2023.
Lian R et al. Respir Care 2019; 64:1116–1122.
Cystic Fibrosis Trust 2018. Leaving home and eating well with CF. Available at: https://www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-12/Leaving%20home%20and%20eating%20well%20with%20CF%20Jun%202018.pdf. Accessed January 2023.
Information placed on this digital platform is not intended as a substitute for consultation with your healthcare professional.
If you have any questions about the content on this site please speak to a member of your CF care team.