Finding the right job for you

Searching for jobs can be a difficult process, but the right job can bring you fulfillment and independence. Here are some of the stages you’ll go through to find the right job for you.

  • Finding a job

    Finding the right job for you can take a while. Some people spend many years exploring careers, and your needs and interests can change over time. If you have CF, there can be many ways this is made more complicated. That’s why we have a team of Employability Advisors who can help you think through your options, and find the best fit for you, free of charge, via our Work Forwards programme.

    You can get in touch through our Helpline on 0300 373 1000 or 020 3795 2184, Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm, or email the team directly at [email protected]

    If you live in England, the National Careers Service can help with career information, skills tests, training and advice for any career stage. There are similar services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    As a person with CF, it’s normal to worry about how CF might affect your working life and if you will still be able to achieve everything you want to. There are extra things you might want to look for when looking for a job, too. Check a company’s website or social media accounts for:

    • Location
    • Work culture, work/life balance, flexibility and employee perks
    • Facilities like a canteen or a fridge
    • A ‘positive about disabled people’ or ‘Disability Confident’ logo
    • The company policy on disability. 

    You can listen to Rupert and Cicely’s experience of working with CF in our CForYourself podcast episode on Work and cystic fibrosis.

    Listen now

  • Types of employment contracts

    Here’s an overview of some different types of employment contracts:

    • Full-time contracts
    • Part-time contracts
    • Permanent contracts
    • Fixed-term contracts
    • Agency and temporary contracts
    • Internship
    • Apprenticeship
    • Self-employment
    • Casual working and ‘zero hours’ contracts

    It’s a good idea to discuss your potential new job with your CF team. They can give you advice about managing any risks to your health. They can also write a letter describing your medical fitness.

  • Applying for a job

    We have an in-depth guide to writing a CV, and you can access support directly from the Work Forwards team.  There are also many other online resources available which provide in depth guidance on how to approach different applications.

    Some useful overall tips:

    • Start by brainstorming your skills alongside key parts of the job description. These skills can be from previous paid work, voluntary work or work experience.
    • Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t.
    • Think about changing the order or wording of your CV slightly for each application to highlight the most relevant skills for the job you’re applying for.
    • If you’re filling out an online application form, type your answers into a word document before copying and pasting them into the application form. It makes it easier to edit, read over and spot mistakes.
    • Keep hobbies and others interests short and relevant if you talk about them.
    • Share your draft application with family and friends who can help identify your strengths.

    You don’t have to tell anyone you have CF at this point, though you can choose to, for example if you need a reasonable adjustment for your job interview.

    If you do discuss CF when applying for a job (for example if explaining gaps in your CV due to illness), it is best to be straightforward. There is more information in our section on discrimination and legal responsibilities. 

  • Interviews

    Make sure to practice

    Job interviews can be nerve-wracking. Take comfort in the fact that the interviewers are likely also nervous! There are things that you can do to help with this and the best thing is to make sure that you practice beforehand.

    The Work Forwards team of Employability Advisors are here to provide employability support to the UK’s CF community, that includes with practice interviews!

    As soon as you know that you have an interview, let us know, and we can see if we can arrange some practice for you. You can get in touch via the Helpline

    Alternatively, if you know someone, a friend or a family member, who has interviewed people for their job before, perhaps you can ask them to do some roleplaying. They can look at the job description, and give you practice questions to answer.

    Always try and give examples in your answers where you can. Anyone can say “Yes, I have good organisational skills”. But if you give them a brief example demonstrating that you have them, then they are more likely to believe you.

    You don’t have to tell anyone you have CF in an interview, though you can choose to.

    An interview is a great opportunity to ‘sell’ your skills and experience to the employer. Research the company and the job in detail and be ready and able to talk about why you want the job.

    Make sure you look over your CV and the application you sent, especially if you’ve applied to a few different places. Employers will often ask for examples of skills they need you to have. Think about some examples before the interview – these don’t always have to be examples from paid work. They could be from voluntary work or even hobbies, especially if you are applying for your first job.

    Interviews are also about you selecting an employer. Before the interview, think of a couple of questions you have about working there.

    It’s up to you, but if the application process has a second interview, that is usually a good time to ask about more specific working arrangements like:

    • Flexible working arrangements and working from home – this can make life easier when attending in person CF clinic appointments, for example
    • Work culture and work/life balance
    • Employee perks and benefits
    • Facilities like a canteen or a fridge
    • Future financial security – pensions and permanent Health Insurance plans. 

    If your interviewer can’t answer all your questions, you can ask them for the contact details of their Human Resources (HR) department.

    Always dress smart for an interview. It shows that you take the job seriously, and are making an effort. Also, you can always quickly 'dress down' if you turn up and everyone’s casually dressed.

    If for example, you wear a full suit and tie, and turn up and everyone is wearing jeans and t-shirts, you can always slip your tie and jacket off. If however, you turn up in jeans and t-shirts, and everyone is in business dress, there’s nothing you can do once there!

  • Being offered a job

    If you’ve been offered a job, congratulations!

    This is often the best time to tell your employer that you have CF. After an offer is made, but before you start. It is best to be clear and direct, but you can seek advice if you think questions are inappropriate or unnecessary.

    If you are already a member of trade union, or a students’ union if you’re in study, they can provide advice on inappropriate or unnecessary questions. You can get in touch via our Helpline, or email the Work Forwards team directly at [email protected] if you’re not sure.

    If you are not asked about your health, the information you share is a very individual choice. If you don’t tell an employer that you have CF, you have less legal protection. There is more information in the discrimination and legal responsibilities section. 

    Make sure you know how you’re expected to work and whether any reasonable adjustments can be made.

    Some specific questions you could ask your new employer include:

    • What flexible working arrangements can you offer?
    • Would it be possible to spread my contract hours across the week, month or year?
    • Is it possible for me to ‘bank’ my overtime or annual leave days for absences?
    • Would some home working be possible?
    • Can I avoid tasks that would expose me to a high risk of infection?
    • Would it be possible to have extra (perhaps unpaid) sick days if required?

    More information can be found in our information on balancing work and changing health. 

Our Helpline

Our Helpline is available to anyone looking for information or support with any aspect of cystic fibrosis, a listening ear, or just to talk things through. Our friendly team are here if you need us.

What is CF?

Cystic fibrosis, or CF, affects the lungs, digestive system and other organs. There are over 10,800 people living with it in the UK.

Financial support

Cystic fibrosis can bring its own financial burden. We provide a range of grants for people with cystic fibrosis and their families, support for those applying for benefits and information about prescription charges.

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