Don't call me, I won't call you
May 15, 2012 7:41 PM   Subscribe

How should my brother indicate that he is deaf (and therefore cannot accept phone calls) on his resume without outright stating "no phone calls please"?

My brother is about to graduate from college and is TERRIFIED about entering the current job market as a deaf person (of course, he'd still be terrified if he could hear). He has a fine resume and portfolio but is looking for a subtle way to say "I can't use the phone". Any ideas? Thanks in advance!
posted by sredefer to Work & Money (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If he's willing to make it clear he's deaf, he can give an email, fax (if available) and TTY (if he has access) but no voice number.
posted by JMOZ at 7:46 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I feel like people in the deaf community will give him the best advice about this, but could he indicate "TDD Only" next to his phone number?
posted by pullayup at 7:47 PM on May 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Is his inability to use the telephone really the only way his deafness will affect his job performance? Won't it also affect his interactions with coworkers and in-person meetings with people outside the company?

Does he want to avoid stating that he is deaf?

In any case, this sounds like something that would be better handled in a cover letter than in a resume. A resume is for listing experience and skills. Background and special circumstances go in the cover letter.
posted by alms at 7:48 PM on May 15, 2012

Oh, wait, maybe I didn't understand. Does he want to say that he can't use the phone as part of his job, or does he want to say that prospective employers shouldn't call him, but should e-mail him instead?
posted by alms at 7:49 PM on May 15, 2012

I guess I should have been clearer. He will not be stating that he is deaf, he just wants a way to avoid listing a phone number without THAT drawing attention.
posted by sredefer at 7:50 PM on May 15, 2012

Hmm, he could use a google voice number, they auto-transcribe messages pretty well. But I don't think saying 'For further inquiry please contact me at' would draw much attention, especially if the resume was submitted by email in the first place.
posted by Garm at 7:56 PM on May 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

If you feel you must include a phone number ... and can't just indicate that on the resume ... Put down a phone number that leads to a voicemail that can be reviewed by friends or family.

And if you must ... Have the outgoing message indicate (in a professional-sounding manner) that the owner is hearing impaired, and that the message will be reviewed and relayed to the owner for follow-up.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:04 PM on May 15, 2012 [7 favorites]

If he gets an interview, it is going to become obvious really quickly. And then employers are going to wonder why he didn't bother to mention that he was deaf. That would seem to be something that would be relevant to most jobs.

This seems like a strategy for a lot of wasted interviews.
posted by musofire at 8:17 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

He can put a phone number down that leads to a voicemail box. That could be a Google Voice number if he doesn't already have such a number to himself. He can then call the voicemail service himself using a 711 relay service to pick up his messages.

His best bet though is to get advice on the whole job hunting process from other members of the deaf community and/or the resources available through his college. His college should have both a career counseling office and a student disability services office. This will not be new territory for either of them and he should be able to get advice, including information on his legal rights under the ADA, from these resources. He might also find communities like helpful to talk to others who have been there and can share stories.

Best of luck to your brother!
posted by zachlipton at 8:32 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm a little confused - I don't know any deaf (or Deaf) people who don't have a strategy for this. (I'm deaf myself.) I assume he doesn't use VRS, or he'd use that number. My strategy has always been to put down a google voice number, and then not bother answering my phone if I'm not set up to use it - which involves being plugged in to it, having VRS or whatever set up, knowing the call is coming and who it is, and so on.

I work in software and engineering, so my experience may be a bit skewed, but I have my email address *above* my phone number on my resume, and I always indicate in communicating with employers that I'd rather use email than the phone. This doesn't get me out of job interviews, but it does mean I don't get a bunch of voicemails saying, "hey, we're interested, can you send us XYZ/can we schedule an interview/are you interested in ____"; those get sent as emails. I also often ask if I can do phone interviews on Skype instead, and explain that it's easier for me if I can read lips.

Finally, google voice isn't perfect at transcribing voicemail, but it does a pretty good job - good enough that at a minimum I can usually figure out who called, why, and what number they left - and you can download voicemails as MP3s, so they're easily transferred to friends or family if someone needs to actually listen to them.

(Note to other commenters: TTY/TDDs are basically dead at this point. It's IP-relay or VRS these days, although the latter is only accessible to signers.)
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:39 PM on May 15, 2012 [27 favorites]

If you want to provide more information on what industry your brother is in or what kind of jobs he's looking for, that might lead to more specific advice. And feel free to send me MeMail if you want - I'd be happy to exchange emails with your brother directly.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:41 PM on May 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

don't include a phone number.
posted by jander03 at 8:43 PM on May 15, 2012

Where is your brother graduating from? If he's from Gallaudet, maybe their career services department would have some good advice?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:46 PM on May 15, 2012

I was going to suggest a phone number that transcribes voice mail like Google Voice. Just put it on do not disturb and return any calls the way he would anyway. Or, what spaceman_spiff said!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:50 PM on May 15, 2012

Actually, I'd suggest that he not hide the fact that he's deaf. Assuming he's applying for jobs that would requre reasonable accomodation, many employers would like to interview folks with disabilities.

Leave a phone number off of the resume and in his cover letter he might casually mention that he's deaf, but can lip read and speak. He might even mention involvement in special events or projects within the community. If he knows ASL, he can list that as one of his languages on his resume.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:23 AM on May 16, 2012

Cover letters often finish with an invitation that the applicant would like to talk with the reader, so this is one good place he can tell them what he wants. "If you would like to discuss this further, email is the best way to contact me. I can be reached at"
Or via voicemail, or whatever his preference is.
posted by aimedwander at 7:27 AM on May 16, 2012

I think the main problem is going to be filling out the online forms that everyone requires nowadays (which is mostly a frustrating repeat of your resume). I am sure [Phone Number] will be a required field that he won't be able to skip. I'd enter an IP Relay number and mention what it is in the cover letter. Obviously, if there is a way on the form to indicate that email contact is preferred, do that.
posted by desjardins at 8:46 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't have an answer to the question (plenty of good suggestions above), but I wanted to share a personal experience to maybe help put your brother a bit at ease as he enters the workforce...

I used to work for a large consulting company here in DC. There was a guy on our team who was deaf. He did all his work communications via email, but the cool part was that at staff meetings/functions/social events he had a company assigned translator.

Good stuff, and he taught us some basic ASL along the way...
posted by matty at 9:28 AM on May 16, 2012

I know a lot of people whose voicemail messages firmly redirect callers to email them instead. None of them are Deaf, they just find playing phone tag to be an inefficient use of their time. So your brother could simply have a voicemail message (you could voice it if his speech isn't clear) which says something like, "Hi this is John Smith's phone. The best way to reach me is via email me at..." Then set the voicemail to not give callers the option of leaving a verbal message. This approach would leave him much less vulnerable to offhand discrimination than mentioning that he's deaf before he's even been offered an interview.
posted by embrangled at 6:30 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

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