Are you living with a spinal disorder and want to find work that’s right for you?
At APM, we help thousands of job seekers every week find meaningful work that suits their unique strengths, skills and capabilities.
In this guide, you’ll find expert information and advice about how to get a job if you’re living with a spinal disorder like scoliosis or ankylosing spondylitis.
We’ve included tips about writing a resume, managing interviews and searching for work as well as some great job ideas to get you started.
Can I get a job if I have a spinal disorder?
If you’re living with a spinal condition such as scoliosis or ankylosing spondylitis, you might have faced challenges looking for the right job.
Experiencing ongoing pain, fatigue and stiffness can leave you feeling discouraged about keeping up with the demands of work.
It’s natural to feel disheartened during your hunt for a job.
If you want to work, there are many employers and workplaces with jobs that are supportive of your unique needs and capabilities.
At APM, we’ve seen how working in a supportive environment can benefit people with spinal conditions and improve their wellbeing.
On top of being better off financially, work can give you a sense of purpose and help you connect with others in a meaningful way.
Great job ideas for people with scoliosis, sciatica and other spinal conditions
In spinal conditions such as scoliosis, sciatica and spinal stenosis, symptoms and physical limitations are different from person to person.
It’s important to seek professional advice about what types of jobs and work environments are right for you.
When searching for work, consider:
- Is the role physically demanding?
- Will I be required to do repetitive actions for a long time?
- Can I take breaks when I need them?
- Are there workplace adaptations that can help me do my job well?
- Is the workplace culture understanding and supportive?
At APM, we help people find meaningful work by focusing on their unique strengths, abilities and limits. We believe there’s a job out there for everyone.
Looking for some job inspiration?
Here are 8 Job ideas for people with scoliosis or a spinal disorder:
- Exercise instructor
- Sales agent
- Mindfulness coach
- Administrative assistant
- Project manager
How to get started finding a job when you’re living with a spinal disorder
When you’re looking for work, try to use a range of job searching techniques such as:
- Searching online - Use several different job boards such as Seek, Indeed and JobSearch to find job opportunities. Set up an email alert to notify you when any relevant job opportunities arise.
- Asking people you know - Not all job opportunities are advertised. Tell your friends, family and peers that you’re looking for work and you could be surprised what opportunities arise.
- Approaching companies you want to work for - If there are companies you want to work for, try calling or visiting their place of business to see if there are any positions available. Prepare to explain why you’d be a great addition to their company.
- Registering for Disability Employment Services with APM.
Disability Employment Services by APM is a government funded program that helps people living with injury, illness or disability find and keep a job.
As Australia’s largest Disability Employment Services provider, APM can help you find suitable job opportunities and supportive workplaces where you will thrive.
We can also support you to manage in the workplace with confidence. We work closely with you and your employer to find adjustments and solutions so that you can do your best work.
Writing an effective resume and CV
A resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is an important document that shows an employer why you’re the best candidate for the job.
Resumes and CVs should include information about:
- Your education
- Any qualifications you have
- Relevant experience and skills
- Positive qualities that you’ll bring to the job
Your resume should demonstrate why you’d be a valuable addition to the company.
Don’t just send in the same cover letter and resume to every job. Target your information to the specific job description and company to show why you’re an excellent candidate for the role.
Get more tips from APM’s guide on how to write an effective resume and cover letter.
How to manage job interviews
Job interviews are daunting for everyone.
If you have been overlooked or misunderstood when applying for a job with ankylosing spondylosis, scoliosis or another spinal condition, it’s normal to feel nervous about interviews.
When you plan, prepare and practice, you will feel more confident about the interview process.
Here are some excellent tips for job interviews:
- Practice talking about your strengths and skills. Think of real life examples of when you demonstrated your strengths and skills.
- Research the company and prepare two or three questions to ask the interviewer about the company or the role.
- Prepare answers for common interview questions like ‘Tell me about yourself’, ‘What attracted you to this job?’ and ‘How do you work under pressure and handle stress?’
- Arrive early for your interview and turn your phone off before you go in.
- Speak clearly and confidently. Stay on topic and don’t ramble.
- When it’s over, thank the interviewer for their time.
For more information, read APM’s expert interview tips.
Should I disclose my disability in an interview?
When it comes to disclosing your injury, illness or disability in a job interview, there are a couple of important things to know.
There is no legal obligation for people with disability to disclose information about their injury, illness or disability, unless:
- Your injury, illness or disability will affect your capacity to meet the requirements of the job (outlined in the job description).
- You need accommodations made for you, such as (but not limited to) requiring information on wheelchair access entrances to the interview site, workplace adjustments, access to assistive technologies and devices or other accommodations for non-physical disabilities.
The physical and skill-based requirements of a job should be detailed in the job description so you will know when applying if the job is right for you.
Managing in the workplace with a spinal disorder
The demands of a workplace can feel overwhelming when you experience symptoms such as pain, fatigue and stiffness.
Many people wonder how they will find a job with scoliosis when sitting down or standing up for a long time can aggravate their symptoms.
Mobility issues and severe pain from conditions such as spinal stenosis can limit a person’s ability to perform physically demanding work.
Returning to work after a spinal cord injury can be daunting, especially if your physical capabilities have changed.
If you’re worried about managing in the workplace with a spinal condition, help is available.
APM can work with you and your employer to find solutions so that you can keep working. Your employer could be eligible for funding to make workplace adjustments to support you.
Workplace adjustments for people with spinal disorders could include:
- Specialised tools and equipment such as ergonomic chairs, floor mats and adjustable desks.
- Flexible scheduling so that you can take breaks when you need them.
- Safe spaces where you can lie down when you need a break
- Days off for recovery and medical appointments.
At APM, we understand that everyone is different. We work closely with you so that you can get the right support for your unique needs and abilities.
Need a little help? We are here for you.
Finding a meaningful job and a supportive workplace can be challenging when you’re living with a spinal condition.
At APM, we believe everyone has the right to experience the life-changing benefits of work.
We’re committed to finding employment opportunities that are right for you.
When you register for our Disability Employment Services, you’ll receive tailored and personal support so that you can navigate the world of work with confidence.
APM can help you with:
- Finding job opportunities that suit you
- Writing resumes, cover letters and job applications
- Preparing for job interviews
- Training for skills that make you more employable
- Workplace adjustments and support so you can thrive in your job
Ready to get to work? Register with us today and let’s get started!