Applying for a Job
If you are looking for work, there are three things that you will need to prepare:
1. A resume
Your resume should have your contact details and a summary of your work experience and education. You should also include the skills and knowledge you have learnt through hobbies, volunteering and caring for others. Work experience is not limited to paid employment.
A resume is usually no more than 3 pages long depending on the job you are applying for. You can use dot points and headings to make your resume easier to read. You do not need to provide personal information on your resume such as your gender, age, disability or ethnicity.
2. A list of referees
When you apply for a job you should have at least two referees who can talk about your skills and experience. A referee is usually someone you have worked with before, but they can also be a friend who understands your professional capacity, a support worker or someone you volunteer with.
3. A cover letter
Most job applications require you to include a cover letter. A cover letter should clearly state why you want the job. Your cover letter should always be specific to each job that you apply for, but it helps to write a short sample one so that you have something to start with each time you apply for a job.
Note: When you apply for a job you do not need to disclose your disability in your application or when you attend a job interview unless the disability will impact on your ability to do the job. You can do this individually with your boss or with the human resources manager at your work.
Tip: You can download our Cover Letter and Resume template to help you get started!
Support to find a job
JobAccess is the national website for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers.
JobAccess can link you with Disability Employment Service (DES) providers that help people with disability, injuries and health conditions to get ready to look for a job, find a job and keep a job.
Learn more on the Job Access website (external link).
JobActive helps all Australians – including those with disability - to find a job. If you looking for a job, the JobActive website has information and tips to help you get started, as well as tools to help you find a suitable job in your area.
Learn more on the JobActive website (external link).
Rights at work
In Australia, all employees have rights that cannot be taken away. These include:
- the right to be paid fairly for the work you do - the minimum wages you can be paid are stated in the 'award' for the area you work in. You can find out what your award is on the Fair Work website (external link)
- the right to take leave when you are sick, need to care for a family member, have a baby, or take holidays
- the right to take breaks during work hours
- the right to any supports you need to do the job. These are called reasonable accommodations.
Note: Your specific conditions as an employee will depend on the type of employment you are in and where you work. You can find out more about your rights at work on the Fair Work website (external link).
Many people who have a disability are not sure whether to tell their employer about their disability.
There is no legal requirement for a person with a disability to disclose information about their disability unless it is likely to affect their ability to do the job and to be safe at work.
However, it can be helpful to talk to your employer about your disability, and what can be done to make sure your disability is considered in the workplace. This may include what you need people to do, say or just be aware of. It can also be helpful if you are asking for reasonable accommodations.
Reasonable accommodations may include things like:
- flexible work hours to go to appointments or look after family
- paid leave when you are sick, if you have experienced discrimination or violence, or someone close to you dies (also referred to as 'sorry business')
- assistive technology devices like screen readers, dictation systems or hearing aids
- extra time to read and/or process information
- movable desks and ergonomic chairs
- ramps on work sites
- access to accessible toilets and lifts
- an on the job support worker.
Tip: You can learn more about reasonable accommodations on the Australian Network on Disability website (external link).
If you have a disability and need support at work, you have the right to ask your employer for reasonable accommodations. However, employers do not have to make changes in a workplace if it would cause significant hardship to their business. For example, a small business would not have to alter a work vehicle for a disabled worker if the cost was too high.
In Australia, there are government support programs that help to pay for the supports or adaptions you need at work. These programs can provide funds to you or directly to your employer, depending on the situation.
Employment Assistance Fund (EAF)
JobAccess provides funding through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) to cover the costs of making workplace changes. This can include buying equipment, modifications or accessing services for people with disability.
Learn more on the Employment Assistance Fund website (external link).
National Disability Insurance Scheme
If you are an eligible National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant, the NDIS can also help to pay for things that you need at work. Funding may be provided to your employer or directly to you, depending on your requirements.
Learn more about the NDIS and employment support on the NDIS website (external link).
It is never OK for an employer or someone you work with to treat you badly because of your disability, gender, sexuality, or anything else about you that you cannot change.
If someone does not give you a job because you have a disability, or refuses to allow you to have the support you need at work, this may be considered a form of disability discrimination.
Tip: You can learn more about workplace discrimination on the Disability and Discrimination page.
By law, any worker is allowed to join a trade union. A trade union is an organisation that advocates for your rights at work and stands up for you if you are treated unfairly by your employer.
A union can argue on your behalf for fair wages, accessible and family friendly work practices, and a safe work environment.
There are currently almost 100 unions in Australia. The union you can join depends on what sort of work you do and where your workplace is.
Tip: You can find the union that is right for you on the Australian Unions website (external link).