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Training TOOL-KIT


Getting Work for Ex-Offenders: Part II
Editor’s note: In response to continued requests experience filled with disappointments. But it
for articles about this topic, this is the second in a can also be an exciting time to learn about
two-part series designed to assist job developers yourself and land a job you really love. While
and others who work with people with criminal you will encounter disappointments, frustra-
backgrounds. Part I was an overview of the topic tions, and rejections along the way, accept
written by a counselor in the corrections system.
The conclusion will focus on practical advice for these negatives as part of the process in find-
the job developer (or other employment specialist) ing a job. Constantly check your attitude to
and the job seeker. make sure you’re positive and pointed in the
right direction.
n today’s economy, finding a job is quite a

I challenge for the nearly 700,000 ex-offenders
who leave state and federal prisons each
year. And yet, without a job and support
 The ex-offender job seeker must be
honest with himself/herself – and others.
Take a good look in the mirror. Who and what
do you see? If you have a history of deception
network to meet their basic needs, many
ex-offenders fall back into old habits that lead and excuses, it’s time to come clean and face
them back to jail. who you really are. Once you discover who
It’s true that some employers may not want you really are, there’s no need to deceive
to hire someone with a criminal record. In yourself and others.
fact, some laws specify that certain occupa-
tions (such as banking, insurance, and child-  The ex-offender job seeker must dis-
care) are either off limits or carry restrictions close a criminal record at the appropriate
for individuals with various types of criminal time and place. When and to whom should
convictions. However, many others are willing you disclose your record? In today’s high-
to give ex-offenders a second chance. But tech society, in which employers can easily
what should ex-offenders do to land a good conduct background checks, there’s no place
job that will keep them out of jail? The fol- for ex-offenders to hide. The best time and
lowing are some ideas: place to disclose your record is usually dur-
ing a job interview and before accepting a job
 The ex-offender job seeker is respon- offer. Many employers will ask about red
sible for his/her own employment fate. flags in your background during a job inter-
While many people (such as a job developer) view, or they will conduct a background
will assist with your job search, YOU are check just before or immediately after offer-
responsible for taking the actions necessary ing you a job. You should never disclose your
to get a job. Don’t rationalize your current criminal background in a letter or on a
situation, lack of progress, or frustrations, by résumé. This is an important issue that needs
blaming other people or believing that you to be handled in a face-to-face meeting with a
are a victim. After all, you are where you are prospective employer.
because of CHOICES you made. Don’t
expect others to find, or give, you a job. You  The ex-offender job seeker must seek
have to earn a job by communicating your the help of other people who can assist at
qualifications to prospective employers and various stages of the job search. Your sup-
gaining their trust. port network will be an important asset. This
includes family, friends, acquaintances, and
 The ex-offender job seeker must devel- organizations designed to help ex-offenders.
op and maintain a positive attitude and Make sure you develop a support network that
remain motivated throughout the job can give you good advice, referrals, and
search. Finding a job can be a frustrating encouragement to help you through the ups

March 2011 JTPR Training Tool-Kit 1

also by Ron and Caryl my life around by getting my GED. organized. consult The Ex-Offender’s Job Hunting Guide. likely to get out of them overnight either. and why hiring the job employable! „ seeker would benefit the company. I’m really excited about working back into society. Positive – “What are the normal hours for Everything you worked for will be lost due to someone in this position?” your failure to disclose. Ex-offenders ARE past behind them. In addition. Your compare with other companies in the area?” criminal record will surface at some point. Negative – “I have to see my parole officer once a month. Test Job-Searching Attitudes energetic. But it IS possible to meet employers seekers must convey a positive attitude that who will want to hire them because of their demonstrates how they’re going to put their talents and new attitudes. it isn’t diffi. you know anyone who might have an interest Reality: As stated previously. at your company. What about Wednesday? That checks to determine not only truthfulness but looks good. many firms increas. Could we do luck you DO fool the potential employer something in the morning?” about your background.” exercise to test some job-searching attitudes. and I reentry. Negative – “Do you have a job?” Myth: I’ll have to lie about my background Positive – “I’m conducting a job search. In fact. 2 JTPR Training Tool-Kit March 2011 . ex-offender job selves.” Ex-Offender’s Quick Job Hunting Guide. honest.” to make sure there’s a good fit between the Positive – “I have a conflict tomorrow. The situations they’re in overnight. and they need to believe in them- In a successful job search. you can learn the make up the time. I turned the 10 Steps into Action.impactpublications. www.” basics in an hour or two. Consider some “not so good” and better things for an ex-offender job seeker to say to an employer Editor’s note: This article is designed as an in a job interview: overview ONLY to this topic. They need to be patient. individual and the job. Would it be Reality: If you don’t know how to use a OK if I took off three hours that day? I could computer or the Internet. and controlling my anger and available at the websites listed previously. Libraries and One. have Ex-offenders didn’t get themselves into the Internet connections you can use for free. Rather than live a lie. www. the first Friday of each month. Other resources on this topic are also new skills. and downs of making a successful transition addictions. your lie will be exposed.” Myths vs. Can I have that day off?” Myth: I can’t use the Internet in my job Positive – “I need to keep an appointment search because I don’t own a computer. You don’t have to own a computer either. For additional examples.exoffender Negative – “I just got out of prison. in someone with my qualifications?” cult for employers to find out about your background.com. and conclude with an to a more progressive company. Putting Positive – “While incarcerated. Summary Stop Career Centers. tell the truth in a positive way. even if by Wednesday would be good. and when it does. Negative – “Will I have to work weekends?” and there’s a good chance you’ll be fired. learning Krannich.” The following ideas will separate several Positive – “It was time for me to move on myths from realities. Do to get a good job. for instance. regardless of whether Negative – “I can’t come in for an inter- someone’s been in jail. Realities Negative – “I didn’t like my last employer. what if your parole officer checks up on you and calls your Negative – “What does this job pay?” employer? What if an old prison buddy shows Positive – “How does the pay scale here up unexpectedly? Word gets around. view tomorrow since I’m interviewing for ingly conduct background and reference another job.com and The need a job. if necessary. by Ron and Caryl Krannich. and they aren’t job developer can help.