It’s hard enough these days to find a job, but for those with a criminal record it can be even worse. An estimated 65 million Americans face that problem when they’re looking for a job. New laws prevent blanket discrimination against this, but if you’re dealing with that problem, there are some things you can do to help prepare yourself as much as possible.
While serving your time you will have nothing but time on your hands. This is a perfect opportunity to further your education any way you can. If you didn’t get your high school degree, now is the time to start working to get your GED.
It is also possible to get a college degree while in prison. There are also plenty of opportunities provided by non-profits for training while serving time. Read everything you can get your hands on that will help you in the real job world. Learn new skills that will help you in a trade. These days a plumber may be just as employable as a marketing executive in the current job market.
There are also programs to help you once you get out as far as training and job skills. Take advantage of these. Get help in putting your resume together and practicing for a job interview. If you have a parole officer that will help you, reach out and get that help. In fact, seek out help from anyone you can. Find a non-profit that fits your needs and get in touch with them. Let them know you are willing to work hard and do whatever it takes to become employed.
You will more than likely have to start at the bottom and work your way back into the system, especially if you are looking for a job that has a lot of responsibility. But these days even people that don’t have a criminal record are having to do that. Just concentrate on getting your foot in the door and proving to your employer and yourself that you can, not only do the job required, but you can go above and beyond what’s needed to get ahead.
If you find that you are going nowhere in a job search, you might want to consider creating your own job. It worked for Alfred Lomas. He was a member of one of the largest and most notorious gangs in L.A. He decided to radically change his life and became a Christian.
He started as a director of a food program that delivers food to warring gang neighborhoods. He now risks his life to bring peace to the same neighborhood by negotiating with rival gangs to stop the violence. He also started L.A. Gang Tours, which is a successful tour through those same neighborhoods and brings jobs to the area.
The main thing is to stay focused on keeping your attitude positive and keeping your skills sharp. It’s hard enough for those that have a college degree and no record right now, so you will have to be patient and just keep looking ahead.