How to Help a Felon Get A Job

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Do you have a loved one that has been incarcerated and is now seeking employment? If so, you’re probably wondering how to help a felon get a job.  You can assist them through the process by offering encouragement and helping them gain a footing in certain employment area or at training sites.

Major Points Covered in this Article:

  • Becoming a Mentor to a Felon Who Needs a Job
  • Assisting a Felon Assess Their Skills and Personality Traits
  • Reviewing Off-limit Careers
  • Using Your Knowledge and Support to Create an Action Plan
  • Help Them with Their Resume

Becoming a Mentor to a Felon Who Needs a Job

One of the best things that you can do when trying to become a mentor for a felon is to research as much as you can about how to get jobs with a felony so that you understand their struggle.  Use this website, or one like it to help your loved one or friend match their skills with a particular job or career. One thing to keep in mind –  the jobs most available to felons include food service, retail operations, warehousing, construction, automotive repair, manufacturing and customer service.

With that being said, it is always easier to get a job when a person has a job. Therefore, encourage a felon you are helping not to be picky about what they obtains for employment first. Remind them that they can always move into a career that they  prefer.

Assisting a Felon Assess Their Skills and Personality Traits

When you support a felon in their job search, help them form a skills checklist while they are looking. This checklist can help them keep track of their skills – attributes they can use on an interview or add to a resume. Remember to offer plenty of positive encouragement – it is contagious.

While the list of skills will no doubt be helpful in a felon’s job search, employers also seek a good attitude over an expert skillset. They want to see a job candidate who is willing and wanting to work. Remind your friend or loved one of this fact while they are seeking a job.

Encourage a felon who is seeking a job to communicate to an employer why they really want a job with the employer’s business or company. Advise that they stress their satisfaction from doing the type of work for which they are applying. Remind them that people who show that they like what they are doing generally stay employed longer than someone who is merely good at their job.

The following skills and interests will also help you assist a felon in determining their specific skills and how they can use them to obtain a job. Go over the following list with them to short-list their skills and personal characteristics.

  • Creative
  • Experience in managing schedules and budgets
  • Experience with services ( such as cleaning or food)
  • Able to use office software – types of software experience
  • Fast worker
  • Flexible worker
  • Good communication skills
  • Experience with tools/equipment
  • Hard worker
  • Honest
  • Polite
  • Productive
  • Trustworthy
  • Produce accurate and quality work
  • Willing to work overtime
  • Works well with others
  • Works well on own
  • Punctual

Reviewing “Off-limit” Careers

You can help a felon save a lot of time on their job search by making sure they don’t spend their time applying to jobs that “bar” felons from applying. Some of the off-limit careers include:

  • Jobs that sell or serve alcohol – barred to applicants whose offense is alcohol-related;
  • Security and law enforcement jobs for felons whose offense involved carrying a firearm; or
  • Jobs in banks when the connected offense involved the stealing of money.

When a felon you know is just beginning their job search, encourage them to search for the jobs they think that they can get right away. As noted, it is hard to get job unless you have a job. Therefore, once they start working, they can expand their horizons.

Using Your Knowledge and Support to Create an Action Plan

You are there to support your friend or loved one – let them know that you care and you are willing to assist in any way you can. Be their resource and strength as they re-enter the workforce and gains re-entry into the mainstream.

Going from a prison environment and once again into society can be exhilarating as well as stressful. Ease the stress by serving as a type of career and re-entry mentor. Use this influence to create a plan of action – one that will help a felon obtain a job and continue to grow on his journey back into the mainstream.

Help Them With Their Resume

One of the biggest sticking points for nearly all former felons is writing a resume.  This is a difficult task because as a felon, they are lacking in job experience usually and this can shine through in the resume itself.

So, instead of struggling to get it done, we recommend that you use our partner  If you aren’t that great at writing resumes, or don’t have a lot of job experience, this is an awesome resource because it’s an easy to use online resume builder where you can create a beautiful resume from one of their pre-made templates absolutely free. The website walks you through each step and by the end you’ll have a resume ready to go for potential employers.

Sometimes just setting your loved one or friend up with a resume and a positive attitude is all it takes, make sure that you do your best to get them off on the right foot and you may be surprised to see what their capable of.
What advice do you have for helping felons get jobs?  Is there anything not listed here that works?  let us know in the comments below!

About the author

After earning his MBA from Benedictine University, Ron was looking for a new challenge and stumbled on the idea of helping the formerly incarcerated.

Using what he learned, Ron developed this website as a free resource and has worked with his team​ to continue answering questions for those in need.

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