Language is important

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If you’re new to the disability and community care sector, or already working in it, applying for a new job can be a challenging time and writing your resume and application letter is a big part of it. The language you use in your application also needs to be an important focus  – whether you’re new to the sector or otherwise.


When applying for a role, it’s essential to take a thorough look at the language an employer uses. Take the lead of the organisation advertising the position you’re applying for.

For instance, the organisation may list in the desirable criteria of a position that they are seeking a person who has “experience with clients with an intellectual disability”. The terms that they use will be the most appropriate to use in your own application and cover letter.

I always recommend doing your research before applying for a job. However, don’t let yourself get swamped in information - when applying for a particular position, treat the advertising employer as your guideline. Look at their history, ideas and terminology.

You may also like to take a look in the carecareers Employer Directory for a profile on the employer. Their profile will give you further tips on what language they use.

Beyond applying for jobs, living with a disability is not just a matter of language. Just as anyone else would, a person with a disability will live by their definitions, and everyone identifies differently. An organisation or government body may have formal ways by which to describe their ‘clients’ or ‘service users’, but ultimately this will be up to each individual.

For more information you might also like to read:

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Lucy Randall