Posted 8/25/2013 by Mark Miclette
The current state of the economy means that the job market is incredibly tight, but it pinches a little tighter still for the men and women who have just been released from prison. There are still many companies that look at someone who served time as untrustworthy or unreliable, without even knowing anything about the individual applying for the position. It’s tough out there for former inmates, but that’s not to say it’s a total lost cause, especially if you used your time in jail to study and take advantage of the education opportunities that many prisons now offer their inmates.
Depending how long you were inside, you might consider contacting your former employer to see if they have a position available for you. The chances of landing your old job may not exists, especially if you were incarcerated for an extended period of time, but if you had a solid work record with the company, they may be able to find a place for you. If they don’t have anything available when you call, ask if your former boss would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. Having someone on your side can really help you find a new job moving forward.
Make sure that your resume is up to date, which includes adding former employers who are willing to give you a good reference. It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to list your prison time on your resume, although you may be asked to explain why there is a chunk of time between your last job and your date of application. You also don’t need to inform potential employers about your time in jail unless specifically asked to do so on the application. This should not be considered lying, but make sure not to try and evade the issue if you are directly asked. Many companies do background checks, which is sure to yield your conviction, which means it’s much better to be up front and honest if you are asked about your past.
It’s also a good idea to perhaps lower your expectations on the type of job that you might land. Check the newspaper every day, as there tends to be a number of jobs for general laborers. That means a lot of hard work for not particularly great pay, but many of these companies just want someone who will show up and work every day, regardless of what they may have done before. If you find that your best attempts at finding a job are falling flat, there is no need to give up. Parole officers do more than just check to see that you are following the rules, which means they can often be a big help in getting you back to work. They will often have a list of companies that are willing to hire people regardless of criminal record, but just make sure that you actually take the time to apply to every one of the companies on the list.