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QUESTION: Hello,

I am looking for a new job- a job that I am PASSIONATE about! I want to get back into the mental health research field. I am considering positions that allow work with people with mental illness and/or neurological disorders.

I have both- mental illness and epilepsy. You wouldn't known by looking at me. I've become an advocate for people with mental illness + and would like to include this in my cover letter in the most appropriate way- but have no idea how to do that. It's personal- but I want the employer to know that I cared about this work long before applying for their position and that I have invaluable input because of what I've done and who I am, in reference to this field.

So, how do I say this or get this across in an appropriate and professional way?

Thank you!
Kathy

ANSWER: Kathy,

Thank you for your question.

A cover letter should be a brief synopsis of the qualifications represented in the job posting and the actual skill and ability that you bring to the opportunity (one simple page).  

You may want to consider demonstrating the passion and enthusiasm you have for helping others and sharing your personal experience once a face-to-face interview is secured.

A written letter can be viewed or interpreted in many different ways and you want to at least move through the resume filtering stage and on to the consideration stage (face-to-face) prior to sharing your personal connection to the field.  This will minimize any communication gaps or misinformation or interpretation.  I hope this helps and good luck!

Denise Anne Taylor



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello,

Thank you so much for the advice. I think that makes perfect sense- to wait until an interview.

Would it be ok to mention that I am an advocate for the mentally ill in my CL? It doesn't offer any information about my personal sickness...If this is an appropriate thing to include- can you give me some examples of the best way to mention this?

Thank you so much!
Kathy

Answer
A simple statement that you have had a lifelong connection related to the advocacy for the mentally ill would be appropriate.  One sentence.  

Also, is the term "mentally ill" still utilized today or is there more current 'language' or descriptor that is more in alignment?  Such as mentally challenged, mental health, mental disorders etc to represent in a more positive direction versus the word 'ill' which can sound hopeless, small, weak vs. sounding hopeful, progressive and healing etc?  Just a suggestion as you proceed.  

I am not familiar with this area of expertise, however, it may be a helpful suggestion as you move forward.

Good luck.

Denise Anne Taylor

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Denise Anne Taylor

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aka CAREERMEDIC (TM), a Career Coach with the background to DIAGNOSE. HEAL. REVIVE. your career. Job Search Strategies | Career Transition | Job Interview Coaching/Strategy | Resume Development/Review

Experience

Bespoke career services tailored to your needs. Business Etiquette, Job Interview Strategy, Your Job Search, and Career Transition Services have been provided to private clientele, major corporations, educational institutions, and associations throughout the United States.

Organizations
The Best of MichBusiness, Advisory Board Member 2014-2016 Metro Detroit Chapter of UN Women, Member 2013-2016 Women of Tomorrow, Mentor 2013-2016 Michigan Business and Professional Association, 101 Best and Brightest Companies, Advisory Board Member 2005-2014

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science, Communications, Oakland University, Rochester Hills, MI Certified-Business Etiquette and International Protocol, The Protocol School of Washington

Awards and Honors
Startup Weekend Detroit-Winner, Crowd Favorite 2015

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