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8 Ideas for Ex-Professionals now Felons to Consider When Job Searching

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When Job Searching...

  • Figure out just what you'd like to do now. You may have a professional license, apprenticed trade or medical credentials. Due to your new status as a felon, you may be required to leave your previous profession, but you are not without options. Figure out what other skills you'd like to use now. Go by the One Stop Career Center and inquire of Interests, Values, and Aptitude tests that may be available.
  • Figure out your new areas of interests and options also by viewing Richard Knowdell's career values, motivated skills and occupational interests cards. Click here to order. The bottom line is that you must select 3 to 5 new areas of interests that are now available to you.
  • Find jobs in those areas by seeking out professional associations; groups via LinkedIn; organizations that assist ex-inmates via Twitter; support groups that help felons via Face book; and / or the Department of Labor funded companies who help those released from jail and prison acclimate back into society with transitional services. You must be savvy in your search and comb all avenues. Go to your local downtown public library and look for sources in the reference area of the library. Many times the library will offer database access and manual and references that are not available online for various services.

You can also find jobs based on needs as you walk down the street, eat at area restaurants, visit local museums and tea houses. If you see a need, present your assessment to the manager on duty, provide a resume and see if you can leverage a job to help an organization to meet their immediate need.

  • Fine tune your presentation. It is necessary to develop a skills based resume that includes your summary overview, relevant skills section with current talents, knowledge and needed experiences for the industry that you seek employment. Job experiences should indeed offer volunteer and non volunteer experiences (including some work related or skills related experiences learned while in jail). Spend your energy on your resume listing your accomplishments, achievements and success stories that demonstrate to a future employer that you possess experiences that can solve the problems of the company.

For instance, your summary and skills section can look like this:

Experienced industrial cleaner. Able to master written and oral instructions to accomplish company projects requiring teamwork and independent responsibilities. Trained for 340+ hours learning dynamics of expert laundry cleaning as well and worked over 300+ hours as industrial cleaning professional. Skills of note include:

• Warehouse/Stocking/Receiving• Buffing/Waxing/Cleaning • Physical Strength Training • Order Picker

• Industrial Cleaning • Leadership • Inventory Control • Landscape • Quick Learner • Customer Service

• Judgment/Decision Making • Team Player

Get savvy and include a quote or testimony or recommendation from a previous employer, transition coach, or a member of your support team that demonstrates your value to the work force. For instance:

“Heather thrives on learning and independently focuses on continuous improvement. She’s a top team player, and her excellence helps the team in areas of training, delivery, morale and general logistics operation.” — Supervisor

Prepare your compelling cover letter with 2 to 3 examples of your ability to help organizations succeed. Prepare a reference sheet that includes a support team that can speak on your ability, desire and aptitude to work in your new profession. It is always a good idea to give each of your references a copy of your resume. This will help foster a professional relationship with your reference.

  • Practice your 30 second introduction. Include such information as the initial interest you've held for a particular hobby, which lead into your career/skills interests. Include accounts of your previous successes enhancing your skills, developing talents, servicing clients. Include honors, awards, or other experiences that lead you to know that you can help companies in this particular area.

For example, I have always loved to learn and read and this lead to my passion for learning about all kinds of things. I have combined my love for sharing information with my desire to volunteer and share knowledge. Serving in several volunteer organizations such as Up With People, AmeriCorps, and with Muscular Dystrophy of Middle Tennessee, we have worked together to share career related information, raise awareness for diseases and complete murals in inner city elementary schools. I learned a lot about teamwork, focusing on one project at a time and communicating with diverse groups of people.

Introduce yourself based on your skills and talents. Try to give an example of how you used that skills in a group setting, collaborating with others in a successful manner.

  • Practice, traditional interview questions, behavior and situation based interview questions and seek out extra support from professional interview coaches to help you target your responses, your body language and your follow-up questions in the most positive light. You may want to confer with the services of such professional interview coaches as Interview Wizz. Contact Robert Holland @
  • Familiarize yourself with illegal interview questions and best ways to respond to them. See Beehive's tips on a few illegal questions by clicking here.
  • Find your niche on social media sites. There are actually thousands of sites to network, job search, connect with like-minded workers re-entering the job market. Go to job dash hunt dot org and continue to learn more about how to become a knowledgeable job seeker.

Be sure to offer your employer the free bond service and also the tax credit incentive that the Department of Labor covers for you as an incentive for companies to hire high risk employees. You can read more of my tips for ex-felons and ex-inmates by clicking on these articles called 6 Things for ex-prisoners to kill in their job search or my article called Career Questions Ex-Prisons Ask About Getting A Good Job & Other Considerations

Professional resume writer and Certified Job and Career Transition Coach, Debra Ann Matthews, M.A., JCTC, JCDC of Let Me Write It For You ( helps motivated job seekers and career changers highlight their skills, achievements and accomplishments to garner job offers within 30 days.



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