Job Search Strategies for Ex-Offenders

There are good jobs available for people with felony records. Ex-offenders must pay attention to how to look for jobs. There are some jobs that people with certain criminal records cannot have. Because of your record, employers may be wary of you. There are employment and training programs to help people with criminal records.

Part of a successful life after prison is getting and keeping a job. Besides being paid, having a steady job can also give you:

  • An employment history that can help you find even better jobs down the road.
  • A feeling of pride.
  • The time to learn about different ways of thinking and doing things.

Follow these tips to learn what jobs are right for you. Take time to make a career plan. This will make your job search more focused and useful.

Tips for Job Search Success
Don't job search alone. Find a state program to help you. For example, learn about employment laws before you talk about your criminal background.
Be positive. Don't get defensive about your past. Focus on how you can overcome obstacles. Also, point out what you can do for a potential employer. Focus on new skills you have. For example, some people get job training while incarcerated.
Set short-term and long-term career goals. Go to the Create a Plan and Set Goals section for more information.
Create a resume that is honest and shows your work skills. 
Practice answering difficult interview questions.
Network so that more people will know you and can recommend you to employers.
Know which careers match your skills, interests and work values. Review your work from the Assess Yourself section.
Fill out a copy of an application form. Prepare answers to the questions on it. Find help if you need it. Usually, there is a section on an application asking for criminal background information. Always be honest with your responses. Consider stating ‘Will discuss’. If they insist on written answers, get help on how to respond.
Get a copy of your criminal record and review it with a legal professional or someone from the probation or parole office. You should understand what information is on your record and how it affects your employment options.

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