Completing a jail term and returning to normal life is at once exciting and nerve-wracking, as you may not feel ready to reintegrate with society. Taking it by steps, however, can smooth the transition, and one of your first goals should be to find a stable job. Although some companies are cautious about hiring those who have served jail sentences, most businesses are eager to offer a fresh start to those who are ready to work.
Create a professional persona
Find online resume samples and develop an up-to-date vita, or resume, that includes education and job experience. Be honest about a prior conviction. Contact professionals who are familiar with your character and previous work and might be willing to serve as references. Put together a professional outfit for interviews. It can be new or used, but should be clean and neat. Pay attention to grooming details like fingernails, hair, and teeth to make the best possible impression.
Seek out a mentor
Anyone who wants to succeed on the job can benefit from finding a mentor. This may be a long-time coworker or an acquaintance who works at a different company. Following up with career counseling can be beneficial, as well. Participate in local business events and civic groups to meet others who can offer helpful advice and guidance.
Consult a criminal defense attorney
Make an appointment with an attorney that specializes in criminal defense. You may not need legal representation, they’re a great resource for information on post-incarceration opportunities and rights for seeking gainful employment. The attorney may be to provide legal information about employers’ responsibilities for offering equal opportunity employment to everyone, including those who have spent time in jail. A lawyer in this area of specialization may also be able to make referrals to agencies that can help newly-released individuals find jobs.
Establish an effective work ethic
Once hired by a company, adopt a compliant attitude toward company rules and supervisors. Keep up with work duties, and consider going above and beyond as opportunities present. Arrive and leave on time, and work diligently to demonstrate your commitment to the job. Be courteous to everyone, and ask questions if you are unsure how to do something so you can avoid making mistakes. As the company becomes familiar with your solid work ethic, you may be considered for pay raises and future promotions.
Overall, reentering the workforce after serving a jail term is similar for any job seekers looking for work. Take the job seriously and give it your best.