Should you mention your stammer on a job application? Read our guide.
Are you looking for work or thinking about moving on from your current job? Do you want to know if, how and when you should talk about your stammer, or stutter as it's called in other parts of the world? Are you worried that you don't have 'good communication skills'?
If you're applying for a job, look past your stammer. Think about your wider skills and experience and bring these out in your CV and application.
'Excellent communication skills'
Employers often list 'Good/excellent communication skills' as being vital on job adverts. Don't let this put you off applying. Good communication is not the same as fluency.
Many people who stammer communicate very well. Effective communication involves far more than just speech. It includes body language, listening skills, facial expressions and tone of your voice. Good communication is the ability to share the right information at the right time. It's not about how you say it.
Potential employers need different skills, such as the ability to:
- use words thoughtfully
- analyse, write and present information
- create a trusting atmosphere with colleagues or customers
- manage change
- listen and interpret
- collaborate and problem-solve
- manage staff and build teams
- be an interesting speaker.
These are all communication skills. You may not be fluent, but you have lots to offer. Many companies nowadays understand the benefits of having a diverse range of staff. Stammering is part of that diversity.
Should I mention my stammer?
You can choose to go through the process without mentioning your stammer to the employer. Or you might decide to highlight it from the start.
You're not obliged to tell employers you stammer at the point of applying for a job. It might be wise not to tell them until you are offered an interview. This reduces the chance of them wrongly assuming you can't do the job because you stammer.
Some employers actually encourage people with differences or disabilities to apply. In these cases, it might make your application stronger if you tell them you stammer. Stammering can be a disability under the Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act. See Is stammering a disability? for more information.
It can be a good idea to find out if the organisation has a big focus on equality and diversity among their staff. If they do, consider telling them that you stammer when you apply. If they don't, perhaps wait until you are offered an interview and then tell them.
If you have to fill out an equality monitoring form when applying, you could mention it there instead. Equality monitoring forms are usually anonymous and stored separately from the application form.
If you do mention it, highlight the positive things stammering has given you. Things like empathy, resilience, determination, etc.
STAMMA's Employment Service
Do you have any questions around jobs and stammering? Or do you have any issues over job applications and interviews? Contact our Employment Service and we can help.
If you've been invited to an interview, see our Interviews page for tips.