If you’ve been convicted of a crime and served time in prison for it, one of the hardest things to do when you get out is to find a job. Ironically, getting a job is one of the most important things to start your reintegration back into good society. Here are some things you can do to find a job after being incarcerated.
- Do your preparation in prison. Get your GED and/or college degree while in prison so you have some credentials when you get out. Some positions require a high school diploma or equivalent as a minimum educational requirement. You have uninterrupted time in prison to study, so hit the prison library and study. Take advantage of vocational training programs so you have skills to help you get employed when you get out. If you already have an education, stay in the know of world and economic events. Keep your mind sharp and read.
- Don’t lie about your record. All employers do a background check on potential hires. Be upfront about your record and discuss it frankly with the interviewer. If you lie about it and it is eventually discovered, it is grounds for termination. Don’t downplay your past, but highlight what you are willing to do now to move forward. Don’t say you were wrongfully convicted. No criminal ever admits to the crime and it will only make you come off belligerent and bitter of the system.
- Be realistic. You have to accept that there are some positions that will not be open to you because of your criminal record. Most financial institutions, government positions and jobs with children may automatically disqualify you because you have done time. Most employers will also not be receptive to the idea of having an ex-con in the premises. You have to show your enthusiasm for any job and the willingness to work hard and prove yourself. Be willing to accept entry-level positions or even blue collar work. Once you have more work experience and have established some credibility, you can always move up or find another position.
- Work with your parole officer. You parole officer wants you to do well in the outside world. He may be able to refer you to a friend who is hiring, or a group that works with reintegrating ex-convicts back in society.
- Try smaller companies. A smaller company may be more flexible and willing to take a chance on you. You’ll be able to talk directly to the owner or operator, without having to go through so much bureaucracy.
- Express your willingness to do good and honest work. You must be able to express your sincerity in moving forward and working hard. Show that you are committed to do your best and that your boss can depend on you, even for menial jobs. Make the best of whatever opportunity comes your way because it is up to you to take it to the next level. If the only job you can find is in janitorial services, then be the best man on the team.
It can be a long and difficult process to find employment once you have a
record. Be focused and resolve to stay on the straight and honest path.
You’ve done your time so move forward. It will be a struggle, but you
can eventually put your past behind you.