You have a job interview coming up, and you feel like you are the most qualified person for the position. You have worked hard to make sure that you are well groomed, your appearance is professional and you’ve carefully thought out your answers to any interview questions that may come up. On the day of the interview, you feel like you nailed it; you were confident, positive and intelligent and the interviewer liked you. You feel like you had the job in the bag, until the inevitable question about your background came up.
If you’re trying to address the time you’ve served in prison during your Oregon job search, we are here to help. Here we will give you some specific tips on looking for a job, acing the interview, and finally getting hired.
Searching for work in today’s competitive job market is enough of a challenge as it is; adding a criminal history to that can make the task seem insurmountable. While you may be trying to move past your background to start a new life, hiring managers often seem to dismiss you outright the second they hear about your history. This is a problem facing many people in Oregon; many people are released from prison each month only to find that getting work is an overwhelming task. However, with the right attitude, it’s possible to reenter the workforce and get your life back on track.
Start by being open and honest
One thing that is sure to doom any potential job search is an attempt to conceal your background. While you may not feel comfortable bringing up your prison time during an interview, inevitably the hiring manager will discover the unpleasant truth. You will have to be prepared to answer questions about gaps in your work history; even if you get through the process of application and hiring without any issues, your past will definitely be revealed in a background check. You will not be able to conceal your past, so do not attempt to.
Put any training or relevant work experience you received in prison on your resume; then be prepared to answer questions about it during the interview. Admit your history, explain how you are moving forward with your life and that you are now rehabilitated. Even if it takes you multiple tries to successfully land a job, you will at least have a reputation for honesty and sincerity among the hiring managers in your field.
Do your research
You should spend time familiarizing yourself with your rights as a potential employee in your area. Being aware of what businesses are and are not allowed to do with regards to hiring people with criminal backgrounds. You should also carefully familiarize yourself with employers in the area that are known to hire people with convictions in their past. The more research that you do before beginning your job search, the easier it will be when the search starts in earnest.
Commit to your job search
The Oregon job search is challenging for anyone; especially those who have a blemished record. Do not allow yourself to become discouraged if you do not immediately find work.
Securing employment requires a serious time commitment and a lot of effort. You cannot give up simply because you checked a few online resources without success. You will have to have multiple resumes prepared, each tailored to the specific job you’re applying for. You will also find much more success if you get out there in person and start meeting potential employers.
Hiring managers are more likely to simply discard your resume if it’s one of a huge number of documents they receive online; going over to potential job sites and asking for applications in person is usually a much more effective way of looking for work. Of course, you may annoy potential employers by simply showing up unannounced, so place a phone call first to ask when a good time to apply in person would be. If a potential employer shows interest, respond as quickly as you possibly can to avoid losing an opportunity.
Finally, committing to your job search also means being prepared every day with updated resumes, and notes detailing other potential spots to apply. Eventually, your persistence will pay off!
Make sure you have a strong resume
This article has already touched on the importance of having an accurate, updated resume. A big part of this will be tailoring your resume to the specific job you’re looking for; if you are applying for two wildly different jobs, then you may need to have two different resumes highlighting different skills and training. Focus on the specific abilities you have that will make you an asset to the company you are applying to work for.
Make sure to carefully proofread any resume you submit to a potential employer; spelling and grammar errors, even minor ones, can often lead to your resume being tossed in the trash without being read. If you received any training or work experience while you were in prison, you should list this on your resume as well.
As with every aspect of your Oregon job search, your resume should remain honest, positive and list all of your experience, both from before, during, and after your prison term.
Use any resources available to you
With something as challenging as a job search, you are not on your own. There are many organizations out there that can assist you during every level of your search. Consider a government employment agency, or an organization such as Goodwill Job Connection, for example, can provide you with career training, interview practice, and other resources. They can also connect you to recruiters and put you in touch with the right hiring managers, as well as point you in the direction of job fairs where you can meet and mingle with potential employers and other job seekers.