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Should I declare my illness in CV? watch

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    Hi Guys,

    I'm currently in the process of applying to graduate schemes and in my final year of Uni. In year 10/11 of secondary school, I was diagnosed with with cancer. I missed the majority of year 10 and half of year 11 after spending 2 months in hospital.

    I wasn't the smartest child at school, so this had a considerable effect on my GCSE grades.

    I do have C in English and C in Maths, however all the other subjects I wasn't able to take due to missing so much of school. I'm guessing employers are looking at my GCSE grades and looking at the missing GCSE's and questioning it.

    I have done a placement year, and an additional summer placement at a well known pharmaceutical company, which has led me to believe it must be my GCSE's letting me down.

    My question is, should I declare my illness somewhere in my CV and flip it into a positive outcome?

    I should also add I've had the all clear and I'm completely fine now!
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    Gosh that is so awful, send a cover letter accompanying your CV explaining the situation.
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    The fact that I've been all clear for around 8 years now, means the chances of it coming back are extremely low. With that being said, I'm sure you understand how an illness works and that it can happen to anyone, regardless of their history.
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    (Original post by Jut)
    Hi Guys,

    I'm currently in the process of applying to graduate schemes and in my final year of Uni. In year 10/11 of secondary school, I was diagnosed with with cancer. I missed the majority of year 10 and half of year 11 after spending 2 months in hospital.

    I wasn't the smartest child at school, so this had a considerable effect on my GCSE grades.

    I do have C in English and C in Maths, however all the other subjects I wasn't able to take due to missing so much of school. I'm guessing employers are looking at my GCSE grades and looking at the missing GCSE's and questioning it.

    I have done a placement year, and an additional summer placement at a well known pharmaceutical company, which has led me to believe it must be my GCSE's letting me down.

    My question is, should I declare my illness somewhere in my CV and flip it into a positive outcome?

    I should also add I've had the all clear and I'm completely fine now!
    I would agree with the earlier POSITIVE poster who said put it in a covering letter if you get the chance.

    However, if you have a decent prediction for a degree I would not bother mentioning it at the moment. GCSEs mean nothing really if you have a good CV. There may be an area where you have to describe why you are the person for the job and you could mention it then - despite a cancer diagnosis blah blah etc - managed to overcome etc etc.

    Some people are a bit funny about cancer - it can make them feel a bit anxious - don't know why - think they feel they may catch it ( I work in oncology - I know) so if you can maybe just play it down it may be better to begin with.

    Well done for getting to where you are now.
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    Thinking about it imo yes. just put a short explanation where your GCSE resuls are or where you put the school attendance. It should be no more than two sentences and maybe one would be better.

    Dont forget you can talk to your own careers adviser at the uni or one on the phone from the national careers service. Normally id say covering letter, but in this case because its more in the past I would customise the CV, but uts personal choice. By drawing attention to it, then it makes it clear and then you cna get on with the interview. Your degree is far more important. As said by the squirrel you are going to get all sorts of reactions.

    Btw I think it shows character by havng to deal with it. Showing you only have 2 GCSE's will look odd by itself.
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    OP, I agree that a cover letter would be a good idea, but it's not necessary to put it on your CV.
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    If this is for post-degree jobs, and it's a CV you write yourself rather than an online application form with set questions, do you still even list your GCSEs? I think mine only has my degree & my school-leaving qualifications (i.e. my A-Level equivalents).

    I don't think you should necessarily mention it on your CV. What's traditional at least in applications for further study (master's for instance), is to have a referee mention it in their letter of reference - do graduate schemes ask for them? If so, you should tell your referee about your illness and how it affected you at school, so they can include that in their letter, while still stressing how amazingly well you've done since you've been well again, such as during your degree.

    On the whole I'd agree with squeakysquirrel that it isn't really worth drawing attention to at the moment. I doubt it's your GCSEs alone that are tripping you up, if you are strong in other areas such as work experience. I'd agree with him/her that you could mention in response to specific types of questions, about challenges you've overcome or something like that, but I wouldn't mention it straight off the bat in your applications, if that makes sense.

    Good luck!
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    1. They'll probably see it as heroic, he had to fight harder than most

    2. It would be illegal to discriminate on this basis

    3. They will realise that after 8 years the risk is tiny
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    I was always told not to mention illnesses / disabilities on my cv
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    (Original post by Tiger Rag)
    I was always told not to mention illnesses / disabilities on my cv
    I can empathise with this because there is stigma and it's completely unfair to be seen as only a label, but in OP's case, it's something which affected him in the past but is no longer doing so, so his grades over that period are not representative of his true ability.


    It's like saying you have a 6 month gap on your CV because you were caring for a disabled relative, it's simply an explanation.
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    (Original post by Tiger Rag)
    I was always told not to mention illnesses / disabilities on my cv
    I have never heard of an actual rule.
    The questions are:
    Should he mention it? Imo its a yes because if they think something is missing they presume you are hiding something. two GCSE's will look unusual.It accounts for nearly two years.

    How and where? Think its a balance of wanting not to hide, but not wanting to dwell. Just info thats there and available. It can be dealt with by one sentence.
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    i'd personally say not to particularly on your CV.

    on your cover letter it's hit and miss but saying you were ill wastes characters and isn't a great way to sell yourself (its an unspoken rule to have nothing negative even something as small as "no" on your cover letters).

    I personally had my referees mention any illnesses in their letters of recommendation.
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    Personally i wouldn't because CV is about qualifications
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    (Original post by Oilfreak1)
    i'd personally say not to particularly on your CV.

    on your cover letter it's hit and miss but saying you were ill wastes characters and isn't a great way to sell yourself (its an unspoken rule to have nothing negative even something as small as "no" on your cover letters).

    I personally had my referees mention any illnesses in their letters of recommendation.
    I don't think its a negative its just information. Gaps are negatives.

    He might not get to referee stage.

    TBH in these situations if you are really worried op, then just ask graduate recruitment and take their guidance.
 
 
 
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