Career Information for Ex-Offenders

There are good jobs available for people with felony records. Ex-offenders must pay attention to how to look for jobs. There are some jobs that people with certain criminal records cannot have. Because of your record, employers may be wary of you. There are employment and training programs to help people with criminal records.

Part of a successful life after prison is getting and keeping a job. Besides being paid, having a steady job can also give you:

  • An employment history that can help you find even better jobs down the road.
  • A feeling of pride.
  • The time to learn about different ways of thinking and doing things.

Follow these tips to learn what jobs are right for you. Take time to make a career plan. This will make your job search more focused and useful.

Tips for job search success
Don't job search alone. Find a state program to help you. For example, learn about employment laws before you talk about your criminal background.
Know which careers match your skills, interests and work values.
Set short-term and long-term career goals.
Make a resume that is honest and shows your work skills.
Practice answering hard interview questions.
Network so that more people will know you and can recommend you to employers.
Be positive. Don't get defensive about your past. Be honest about it. Focus on how you can handle difficulties. Also, point out what you can do for a potential employer. Talk about new skills you have. For example, some people get job training while incarcerated.
Fill out a copy of an application form. Learn how to answer questions on it. Find help if you need it. Usually, there is a section asking for criminal background information. Consider stating that you'd like to talk about this in person. If they insist on written answers, get help.  For example, create a page about what happened and why it won't happen again.

You are not alone. There are resources to help people get a job after incarceration. Use them to make a smooth transition to a job.

Possible Occupations for Ex-Offenders:
There are some jobs that people with certain criminal records cannot have. Each state is different. For example, most ex-offenders are excluded from jobs that require a state license. Explore careers that are open to you. Sometimes you can start with jobs that are considered "hard to fill". You can gain skills and experience and move into other jobs. Employers in these occupations may consider people with a prison record.

  • Assembly Worker
  • Construction Laborer
  • Demolition Worker
  • Janitor
  • Landscaping and Grounds Keeping Worker
  • Mover
  • Packager and Packer
  • Truck Driver
  • Warehouse Worker


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