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How does a person with a felony find a job after he has served his time?

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  • Help yourself, and others, by assisting with the world's first felony friendly employer listing at xamire.com. They are a non-profit listing service, designed to help those with background convictions, find employment.
  • Where you're at: If you are still under a supervised release program, then following the direction and assistance given by a parole officer is most prudent. At this stage, your primary goal is to complete your probation or parole, after which you may begin your new life. If you absolutely need cash, and cannot market your previous skills, then strongly consider a temp agency that will hire you out, and pay you, on a daily basis as a manual laborer.
  • If you are already past the supervised release stage, then it's time to rebuild.
  • Where you're not: Although it's disheartening, there are jobs you can't have pretty much without exception--exclude anything and everything that involves firearms, and explosives. Bonded positions, highly regulated and licensed positions, and most government jobs are off the prospective list as well. Positions working around minors are probably out too.
  • Where you can go: You will most likely find your new career home in a small to very small company, where you will work closely with the owner. Most small companies struggle to survive, and rely heavily on each employee they have. You will probably be working with or near the owner, because they are down working in the trenches to keep their company afloat on a daily basis.
  • Where you can't go: Most medium to large companies don't want to be involved with any real or perceived liability in hiring you. If this is the route you really want to pursue, than plan on adding a lot of positive factors to your resume between the time of your conviction and the time you apply. Do not lie on the application since you will be fired if they discover the lie.
  • What you can do: Unskilled and semi-skilled labor positions are high on a convicts new job list, as most employers need to keep these revolving door type jobs filled. Residential construction labor is a good starter job. You can build your skill level, increase your wages, and maybe find a long-term home with a contractor.
  • Assume you will have to discuss your conviction, and that a background investigation will be done. Employers want to know that you have moved-on from your experience. A simple statement is all that's needed. "I was convicted of -xxx- , and have fulfilled my obligations to the Court/Society/etc. I know that crime is wrong, and I also know that I have to try harder, and be better than the average person. I am ready to do this." (Don't go into a tirade about how life has done you wrong, or that you're a victim etc. The above statement is clear, concise, and should be accurate.)
  • What else can you do: You will now need to prove that you are in fact trying harder.Education is a must: If you need a GED, get one. Enroll in Community College classes (education) and courses (skills). If you have a skill or specific education, consider teaching Adult Education classes. Use counselors to help develop a new career path.
  • Volunteer for Community Service. It looks good on a resume, it puts you in a networking position, it exposes you to potential employers, it keeps you away from an unsavory crowd, and it should make you feel better about yourself. Two full days (or the equivalent) per month is the norm. Use peer support to explore new career options.
  • Consider church. It has the same exposure as Volunteering, and can be a source of support for some. Use church leaders for career guidance and support.
  • Try to expunge your conviction, or apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation (or the equivalent.) All felony convictions can be made to go away; Some are just harder than others (such as Federal convictions requiring a Pardon or Clemency, or Registrant Crimes which may require continued registration.)
  • Prevent future convictions. This is a no-brainer, but still needs to be said.You have been given (a sort of) second chance. You have fairly permanent legal handicap. Try to earn what you need to live comfortably, but look for success outside of monetary achievement.
  • Many communities have people who work as an Employment Specialist who have connections to employers and job positions that allow felonies/work release. A good place to register and check in with is your local Workforce office, or a city office that helps with employment. When you call, ask specifically about anyone who works directly with felons, people with backgrounds, or any other barrier you might face (language, Veteran status, etc.). Goodwill is also normally a good contact, or may be able to give you the name of someone who can help. Other places where I have had luck finding people employment (I am an Employment Specialist working with felons)are temp or temp-to-hire agencies that primarily hire for production and warehouse work. This day labor, while not your dream job, will provide money for survival while you find THE job.
  • Here, in Delaware, there are no community release people to talk to, nor will the parole officer try to assist you. In some ways this is for your benefit, as this motivates you to find alternate solutions. But when you have a number of restrictions that prevent you from doing normal job hunting (such as restricted to home, not able to drive, must have supervision, et al.) then things get complicated.

Here are some of the things I have learned:
  • 1. DO NOT APPLY WITH PLACEMENT AGENCIES! These people have no mercy with you. You will not bring them any money and as such do not want to deal with you. Some even trade information between themselves and say "this is a bad person". They are under no obligation to remove old data on you after a period of time. Save them for the far future after you get a few years of work under your belt.
  • 2. Apply direct. Use sites such as Careerbuilder.com and others to e-mail your resume to places where they are hiring. But be careful, many of these so call "We have a job open...." are really placement firms wanting to contract you out or sell you to the companies you normally would work for. Always check the name of the company and throw that into a search engine to see if you can get to their own site and avoid the middle man.
  • 2.a Apply to state and federal agencies. They have to hire you if you qualify. Your conviction should not count against you unless you are forbidden to work in a area that would violate law, or prevent you from getting a security clearance. (Hit the latter with one company myself)
  • 3. Check the local news papers online. Check the local papers and click the classified sections. Most will allow to you get to them for free, or you can read the paper at the library. Some say you have to pay to read the paper, but the classified section may be free. Check around.
  • 4. Check online state run job sites. Some like delawareonline.com actually uses careerbuilder.com for their engine. So it does not do you any good there. It is also noted that a number of states are using third party engines. If you use the state entry point that may get you into the engine better than trying to go into the job search site directly.
  • 5. Yellow Pages Baby! - get the names and addresses of companies that you think would have jobs like the one you do. Send letters to them. "Cold Call" is the term. However, if you are like me, you cannot afford a $41.00 for 100 stamps, plus paper, plus envelopes, plus $20 or $40 ink for your printer (times 3 to 5 depending on your printer)...plus...plus...plus... but it is a good method to get the information directly to the people.
  • 6. NETWORK! Get a hold of your pastor, friend, relative, anyone that could put in a good word for you. Even if you don't know someone, make a flyer and ask if you can put it up in church, or up in a place where you find other fliers. If you have the money, put a ad in the paper.
  • 7. TIME - You did time, now time is something that you have to face. The more jobs you apply for the more likely you will be to find one. Every Monday, try to find five good, likely jobs and apply. Then, keep looking. I hunt over 8 hours a day. I surf the job sites constantly. I visit company web sites and look for "Employment" or "Careers" at the bottom or top of the web pages (most are very small print with colors that are hard to find) and type my butt off in having to deal with all the variety and myriad ways of applying online. (Visit walmart.com and try their system - be sure to have a wrist brace and Motrin for when you are done...)

While you are doing all of these things, get your free credit report. Ex-Cons are the targets of identity theft. People figure you won't need your ID for a few years so.... Get the credit report and see what's there. You can be sure that most employers will run a background check on you these days. If you show up as someone else they may not hire you.

Banks will most certainly do one on you. When they see that your last address was prison, then they will be very reluctant to give you an account other than "restricted", or give you an ATM or Debit card. (but that's for another WIKI)
For second ID's get one from the library, or take one (1) class from a college in the area. (Can you say Pell Grants?)

I have had this problem. I tried different ways to approach this: 1. I applied only with small businesses that are more open-minded and are willing to hire people despite past mistakes. 2. I became an Independent Contractor in the retail field. As such I was contracted out through various companies (most of which do not do a background check, and seem to not even care about your record as long as you can get the contracts done). There is a lot of money that can be made by someone willing to work, travel, or live in a metro area. 3. I am now involved in my family business, where everyone here knows, supports and doesn't care about my felonies.

I to have seen this being a problem and going back to school was not the answer either. So I have started my own home base business it looks to me that may be the only answer for us that have made a mistake in our lives. I am beginning to think we need to ban together on this area of our lives. would like to offer what I am doing to others it would be great for all of us

It is very difficult, but with patience and persistence-it is possible.

Starting your own business or working for a small business owner who is willing to take a risk are best. Many, many large companies won't hire someone with a felony.
Good Luck. Your best bet is word of mouth or under the table. Even though by law the majority of businesses are not allowed to turn you away because you are an ex-con. They will. Obviously they aren't going to come right out and say that's why they didn't hire you, but it probably is.

In Michigan, start with your local CAP agencies...(Community Action Program) They are non-profit and usually have an employment specialist to assist you in finding employment.

There is no straight forward answer to this question. You just have to keep looking and try real hard to find a job here in Florida! Even though a lot of places run background checks, not all of them actually do!
It may not provide the pay that an individual needs to survive, but there are entry level positions available in every state. Proving one's self is a part of the process.

The answer is to call employment temporary agencies that have a listing of some employers that do hire some convicted felons depending on their background relation to the felony charge. I wish everyone good luck in trying to contribute to society in a positive way and I pray that your search is a successful one.

The only way to do it is to find the companies that do not inquire about your background and work there without it. Don't mention it, don't glorify it, and obviously don't give them any "reason" to inquire about it! Meaning Don't screw them because 99.9% of the company's that require that check (minus government, extremely high money;banks, rocket building plants, you get it.) have been screwed (illegally) in the past.
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