Finding a job as a felon can be incredibly difficult and daunting. You feel like your criminal record is holding you back from success. According to one 2008 study, more than 600,000 formerly incarcerated people have difficulty reintegrating into the community each year. With an unemployment rate nearly five times higher than the general public, it is no surprise that many felons struggle to find work.
While there are resources available to help ex-felons find employment, it’s important to understand how to navigate the process so you can get the job you want. That’s why we’re here to help. In this article, we will discuss strategies for getting a job with a felony conviction, including researching companies that hire felons, creating an effective resume and cover letter for your situation, networking, developing strategies for job interviews with tips from both job search experts and ex-offenders who have been through it all themselves.
Tips for Getting a Job with a Felony
1. Understanding the Challenges of Finding Employment as a Felon
Finding employment as an ex-felon can be challenging, but you don’t have to face those challenges alone. Resources are available to help you understand the process and determine the best steps to take in your job search. Knowing what to expect along the way can make all the difference when it comes to landing a job that suits your interests, skills, and experience.
The first hurdle to finding employment is understanding the challenges at hand. In many cases, employers may be hesitant or unwilling to hire someone with a felony conviction on their record. This means that you will need deeper research into companies willing to give felons a chance. Additionally, it’s important for those with criminal convictions to be honest about their history when applying for jobs and during any interviews, they might have. Honesty and openness are key in ensuring potential employers that hiring you won’t be a risk for them or their company.
2. Researching Companies That Have Open Positions for Felons
Researching companies with open positions for felons requires time and patience, but it is well worth the effort. You can start by looking into companies that have been known to hire felons or those with policies in place specifically for this purpose.
Many state governments also offer a list of employers willing to hire ex-offenders, so check your state’s website for more information. It can also be helpful to reach out directly to employers via email or phone, asking if they are open to hiring people with criminal records. Be honest and open about your background but emphasize your desire and enthusiasm for the job.
Finally, take advantage of online job boards dedicated to connecting felons with potential employers. This can allow you to quickly narrow down the best possibilities based on location, industry, position type, and more.
3. Take Advantage of Entry-Level Positions and Internships
You can quickly get frustrated when pursuing a job search after a criminal conviction, but it’s essential not to overlook entry-level positions or internships as viable options. These jobs have numerous advantages: they provide valuable work experience and an opportunity to prove yourself as an excellent employee. With the right attitude and effort, you can use internships and entry-level positions as stepping stones to more advanced roles down the road.
These lower-level opportunities may seem too basic for your skillset, but don’t discount them based on this assumption. Not only are these types of gigs typically easier for ex-felons to secure, but they also provide a chance for you to demonstrate commitment, creativity, reliability, and other desirable qualities that employers value. Highlighting your achievements in such a role on future applications can help you stand out from the competition.
4. Networking to Connect with Potential Employers
Networking is one of the best ways to find employment as an ex-felon. You can seek out contacts with knowledge and access to employers willing to hire felons, such as faith-based organizations, social services providers, law enforcement agencies, and support groups in your area. Additionally, attending job fairs or professional events can allow you to meet potential employers in person and maybe even land an interview.
Try to make a good first impression by being polite, confident, and well-spoken when talking with potential employers. Let them know you’re eager to show them what you can do and explain how your past mistakes have motivated you to become a better version of yourself.
5. Creating an Effective Resume and Cover Letter Tailored to Your Situation
Creating an effective resume and cover letter is essential when applying for a job as an ex-felon. Your resume should be tailored to highlight past achievements and qualifications that relate directly to the position you are applying for. Aim to keep your resume concise yet informative, providing detailed information about your work history, skills, and any previous training or education that might benefit the employer.
It would be best if you also considered including any volunteer or extracurricular activities in which you have participated recently. When crafting your cover letter, be sure to explain why you believe you would make a great addition to the team and how you can contribute positively to the company’s objectives. Use professional language and avoid discussing any personal matters related to your criminal record. Instead, focus on explaining the value you can bring to this specific job opportunity.
6. Developing Strategies for Job Interviews
As an ex-felon, you may feel that you won’t be taken seriously during a job interview. However, with the right preparation and attitude, you can present yourself in the best way possible and show employers that you are a great fit for the position. Before your interview, make sure to research the company and the position so that you are familiar with what they’re looking for in an employee.
Additionally, practice answering questions related to your conviction while highlighting your strengths and qualifications. Make sure to focus on building trust and showing potential employers your drive and commitment rather than trying to hide or downplay your criminal history.
7. Utilizing Resources Available Through Government Programs and Nonprofits
You may feel like a job search isn’t worth the effort, especially since many employers may be wary of hiring someone with a criminal record. Fortunately, there are organizations and government programs dedicated to helping ex-offenders find employment. Some programs that you can learn more about are Federal Bonding Program, Work Opportunity Tax Credit, Ban the Box, Fair Chance Business Pledge, Veterans Employment and Training Service …
You can take advantage of these resources to gain the skills you need to secure a job. For instance, most states offer access to education and training programs specifically for those who have been convicted of a crime.
These programs often aid in reducing recidivism rates by providing job seekers with career guidance, resume-building assistance, and other services for finding work. Additionally, some nonprofits provide mentorships and apprenticeship opportunities that help make the transition from incarceration back into society smoother. Taking full advantage of these resources can go a long way in bolstering your prospects of finding employment where your criminal record is not held against you.
8. Preparing for On-the-Job Success After Getting Hired
When preparing for on-the-job success after getting hired, remember that you have an opportunity to make the most of your newfound employment. However, as an ex-felon, you should also keep in mind that there is a real possibility that things may not work out as well as planned, and you could end up being fired. You should plan for any potential risks by having a backup plan in place, such as side jobs or a business of your own. This way, if something were to go wrong with your employment, you could easily transition into another line of work and continue providing for yourself and your family.
It is also important to consider what it will take to stay employed once you’ve been hired. Consider the employer’s expectations, remain professional, manage stress levels using healthy techniques like reading inspirational books or exercising, and stay focused on doing your job as best as possible. Maintaining strong communication with your supervisor is also crucial. They should always be aware of any challenges or issues you may encounter while working so they can support and help guide you along the way. Ultimately, employing these strategies will help ensure long-term job security.
9. Try New Avenues
You don’t have to be discouraged. With some perseverance and determination, you can rebuild your life after prison. Don’t just sit there upset and do nothing. Take action and make an effort to get where you need to be. While you wait to find the job you want, why not try new avenues? Who knows, there might be something better for you.
Look into freelance job websites like Fiverr for opportunities. There are plenty of jobs that don’t require background checks or ask about your past. Gigs such as recording voice-over, writing, and other basic-skill-needed jobs are perfect for starting again. Knowing that doing is not as easy as saying, but you have nothing to lose right now, why not give it a try? There are thousands of freelancers making a living there.
You have the power to successfully overcome the difficulties of finding a job with a felony conviction. Keep in mind that you are not alone in this journey. Many programs and resources are available to help you, so don’t hesitate to reach out for additional help. Take small steps and persevere, and eventually, you will find an opportunity that fits your needs and goals. You can make your dreams come true with hard work, patience, and the right resources.