Career One Stop – sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration – has created Job Search Help for Ex-offenders, an excellent resource for anyone with a record who is looking for work.
The site is basically a one-stop shop for just about everything one would need to know about conducting a job search, with tips and advice on how to find one.
Know your interests
The site is organized in several sections. People may want to start with Know Your skills. It includes a chart that matches various interests with job opportunities. Click on a job type, and you’ll find out how many people are employed in that job, wages they receive and the duties of the job, as well as typical training and also a link to job listings for each particular job which can be sorted by Zip Code.
Not exactly sure what your interests are? The site has you covered with a link to an interest assessment you can take online. It only includes 60 questions and can be completed in about five minutes.
Explore opportunities based on your interest
The assessment is just the beginning. A personalized profile will be generated and then you’ll be asked to decide how much job preparation you have or would like to have. Once you determine that, you can click on a link that will give a list of jobs. Each one has information concerning the knowledge and skills needed for that job, personality traits that make someone good at the work and the technology they might need to know how to use to do it.
Skills developed in prison
A job skills section highlights skills that one might have developed in the type of work that prisons offer – things like food service, welding, machining and sewing. A skills checklist covers soft skills like dependable, creative, flexible, honest, friendly and hard working, all skills that will be appreciated in any employment situation.
Learn about careers
The section on learning about careers talks about the difference between a job and a career and how to decide the steps to take in pursuing a career. An explanation on work restrictions gives general information about what types of jobs might be off limits to those with criminal records.
A useful link to the National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction, a state-by-state database of laws related to criminal convictions and employment. Just click on your state on the map and you can find out what laws apply to specific job types.
Another list provides ideas of common jobs that one might be able to obtain after being released from prison.
Setting career goals
A section on setting career goals offers tips on how to create short-term and long-term goals to set you on the pathway of long-term employment. A downloadable goal terminal with things to do and dates they should be completed is a way to keep on track.
A database to help ex-offenders find training in community college settings is searchable by occupation, school or program, as well as Zip Code to find the programs nearest you.
Those who would like help from a professional job counselor can search a database for the American Job Center (formerly Career One-Stop Center), which has free counseling, workshops, and skills training and testing, nearest you.
Jails to Jobs is searching for ideas for this blog. If you know of a company that is hiring ex-offenders, or if you have unique job search tips that could assist ex-offenders in finding employment or are aware of organizations or agencies doing exceptional things that benefit ex-offenders in their job search efforts, we'd love to hear from you.