Ex-Felon Job Search
Finding a quality job when you have a felony conviction from the past can be harder than you may have imagined. It is often very frustrating because there are many doors that are not open for you to explore. With some exploration in the right areas, armed with the knowledge required to adequately market your skills and positive attributes, a good job search may well pay off.
Many ex-convicts find it a big challenge to adapt and, depending upon whom we’re talking about, and the nature of the conviction, a person may find him/herself slowly attracted toward the former lifestyle that goes in the wrong direction.
There may be many reasons for this. There is sometimes an enormous amount of stress and pressure to make an adequate living. There are family pressures, often driven by noble self-expectations to support the family and generally do well. The longer one has to do without adequate income, the more the pressure increases, whether real or perceived.
There is work available
First, make a list of possible jobs you can get. Unfortunately, you are going to be ruled out of many jobs that won’t hire anyone with a felony. This may include working in hospitals, prisons, and the schools or, places that require a security clearance. The good news, though, is that there are plenty of other good jobs that remain open for you to take part in.
You may have to start out with entry level work such as a grocery store or convenient store. You may be able to get hired at an office if you have some basic skills in that area. There is work in manufacturing, construction and the building trades, as well, and they are typically good-paying jobs. (Continued below)
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Consider going into business for yourself in order to get around the felony. Of course some types of work such as childcare would be out of the question due to the laws on the books. Yet you can start up a sewing business. You can also do freelance writing from home for various online businesses. This is a terrific opportunity if you live in a small town with very limited job opportunities or you lack transportation to get back and forth to work.
Home repair or remodeling, if you have the skills is another option. Computer repair -or, anything you can think of -which usually consists of something you’ve been drawn to all along. The most fortunate people, it is said, do something for a living that they love, or are drawn to by some larger force. (And, if you do something you love doing, it isn’t a job at all.)
Some people, who feel like they have something to convey, try their hand at counseling -to give back to the younger folks coming up that may have gotten started along the wrong path. For some it is a very rewarding activity.
Often, counseling is done as a volunteer. Don’t forget, the more you volunteer, the wider your social circle becomes -sometimes called your network. The wider that is, the more offers there are that come your way. More opportunities manifest themselves over the long-term.
Of course, none of this happens overnight. And, none of it solves your most immediate needs. It could be part of a long-term plan for yourself.
State Sponsored Reentry Programs
There are reentry programs that may be available in your state and locally to help you with finding a job. Do some checking to see what is available that can help you get your foot in the door for a job. For example, your local job service may have a placement program where the state will pay a portion of your salary for a given period of time, or for training, if an employer hires you. As long as you do your job well, they will keep you on as an employee even after those assistance funds have ended.
Information pulled from different states is on this website in the category entitled ‘Long Term Projections for Top Jobs in Your State.’ Follow this LINK to find your state, scroll to near the bottom and find the link to the state employment agency (it has different titles in different states). At the time of this writing, not all states have been represented. More states are added monthly.
Pay close attention to the information that is asked on a job application. The question may arise during a job interview, as well. Never lie about your record. It will eventually catch up with you (most often, at the most inopportune time).
Some of them ask if you have very been convicted of a violent crime or a drug related crime. If your offense fits a different category then you don’t have to disclose it. Some job applications ask if you have been convicted of a felony in the past 7 years. If it has been longer than that you don’t have to disclose it. Be forthcoming but don’t divulge anything that could be used against you unless to do so you would have to lie about it.
You need to focus on the long-term, regardless of how pressing your immediate needs are. Granted, it is hard to reconcile sometimes.
Case in point: This author is aware of someone who was immediately fired from a high paying job at a nuclear generating facility when a 16 year old DWI conviction became known to his superiors. The violation was lying about its existence on the security documentation -for which there is zero tolerance. In all other areas, the individual and his work were highly regarded and well respected.
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Image: Ben Oberg