Be the Boss Over Cancer

I wish to apply to a position posted at our integrative cancer center.  Apart from the skills they ask for "passion" .  I am passionate about diet and exercise in facilitating my own recovery and would value the opportunity to work with patients and staff promoting these to cancer patients.  Is it bad to refer to my passion for wanting this job and passion for the integrative approach coming by way of my own cancer experience.  The job is part-time but I WANT IT! Thank you for your advice.


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  • Rosalind Joffe

    Rosalind Joffe on Mar 5, 2013

    Career Coach Comment:

    Dear Tamara

    From the little that you've written, I think that this job sounds like a terrific fit for you.  As you noted, they're looking for someone with passion and it sounds like that's right up your alley. What makes you concerned about mentioning that your passion comes from your own experience?  If you look at the career coaches listed here, we've all had some sort of experience with illness -- and most likely, that experience is what's created each of our passion.  It's hard to feel passionate about something that you have no personal connection to.  I wish you the best outcome possible with this.  Let me know if you get the job, ok?

  • Rebecca Nellis

    Rebecca Nellis on Mar 5, 2013

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Tamara,

    Ultimately, the decision to share your cancer experience is a very personal one and you should do whatever feels right to you.  However, it is worth considering whether your cover letter is the best place to disclose your survivorship.  There are still a lot of misconceptions about cancer and what someone who has been diagnosed is capable of and since your cover letter and resume are devices specifically used to get you an interview it is always best to do everything you can to make them compelling but also not give anyone a reason to not call you in.  On paper you have no opportunity to respond to concerns or negativity about your diagnosis (should they arise) and you will never know if that disclosure is the reason you weren't called in.  I think it is possible to share passion about this without being specific about your own diagnosis.  It is also worth noting, if this employer is bound by federal or state laws that prevent discrimination they won't be able to ask you any questions about your cancer or health beyond whether you are able to perform the essential functions of the job.  

    We definitely hear from people who choose to share their diagnosis right up front because they wouldn't want to work somewhere that didn't know and couldn't appreciate the value of what going through cancer gave them.  We also hear the opposite, people who never discolse during the job search process.  There is no right answer.  Whatever you decide, it is just important that you think through all the possibilities and outcomes to make sure you make the choice you will feel the most comfortable with however it turns out.

    Please keep us posted!


    Rebecca V. Nellis
    VP, Programs and Strategy
    Cancer and Careers

  • Tamara D.

    Tamara D. on Mar 5, 2013

    Thank you very much for responding.  By the time the responses were posted I had to submit my application and gambled by including a brief reference to my personal experience.  With any other job, I would not disclose this info because it would constantly be a question of whether I could meet the demands.

    I had a call back Monday for an interview!  Just finished round one interview this morning.  So they definitely responded well.  The rest is about me versus my competition I think.  Again thanks so much for your input. 

  • Rebecca Nellis

    Rebecca Nellis on Mar 5, 2013

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Yahoo!  That is wonderful news Tamara, I can't wait to hear how it turns out!

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