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Employment Finding post-incarceration employment can be an almost monumental task. Find tips, job offers and stories from those of us that have experienced it first hand.

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  #1  
Old 02-03-2007, 06:48 PM
BeyondExCon BeyondExCon is offline
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Default NO NO's for Convicted Felons

#
TIPS FOR THE EX-OFFENDER

Dealing with potential employers is never an easy task for clients with criminal records. Ex-offenders who lie on the application may get hired, and then get fired if their record becomes known. Those who are honest may feel like they never even get a chance. Although there are no magic formulas for dealing with this sensitive situation, the following hints may be helpful. See your social worker, work-release coordinator, or contact the Transition Program for more information.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
QUESTION/
TOPIC

DON'T
DO
Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
DON'T simply say yes.
DON'T lie and say that you haven't ever been convicted of a felony.
DON'T leave blank.
DON'T write a lengthy explanation of past convictions on the application.
DO write "Yes, will discuss in interview" or something similar.

DO remember that honesty is important.
What was your wage/salary at your job?
DON'T say the actual amount paid ($.20/hr).
DO write "minimum wage." After all, a dollar a day was the minimum wage!
What was your reason for leaving?
DON'T use negative words like "went to jail" or "paroled."
DO use terms like "relocated" or "contract ended." Both of these are true.
What experience do you have?
DON'T lie about your experience or qualifications. Even if it helps you get the job initially, you can be fired if and when the truth becomes known (and it usually does).
DO be honest.

DO "sell yourself." If you have the experience, let the employer know why you should be hired!
Grooming
DON'T take this for granted!
DO look your best, even when going to fill out an application - this will be the employer's first impression of you. You might also be interviewed on the spot.
Follow-up
DON'T forget that you filled out an application.

DON'T simply wait for an employer to call you back.
DO call back within 5 - 7 days to check on the status of your application. This shows you are really interested in the job.
DO keep a list of the places where you filled out an application. This will make it easier to do callbacks.
Volunteering Information
DON'T volunteer information that might be considered "negative" by employers (for example your criminal record, substance abuse history, job terminations).
If you have to explain, DO write "will discuss in interview."
DO know your rights and which questions are considered illegal. (See "Examples of Illegal Interview Questions" in this packet).
Overall .....
DON'T give up!
DO remember that you will probably hear many "no's" before you get a job, but if you are willing to work at getting a job you will be successful!
THE INTERVIEW PROCESS

DON'T
DO
DON'T be unprepared for questions about your criminal history.

DON'T see yourself as an ex-convict unworthy of employment.
DO be prepared.
DO decide whether you will tell an employer directly and explain what you have learned from the situation or if you will avoid giving any information unless you are specifically asked. Our suggestion is that "honesty is the best policy." How you communicate the information makes a difference.
DO see yourself as worthwhile and a valuable asset who has the skills and abilities an employer needs.
DO have a positive self-image and confidence in your skills and abilities to "sell yourself" to an employer.
DON'T be lengthy in explaining things.
DO keep it short and discuss only necessary items.
When asked about your criminal conviction, DON'T say things like "The cops set me up" or "I didn't do anything wrong; it was my brother, Bob, who should have went to prison."

DON'T lie about your criminal background. Employers now have a way to review your criminal background on the Internet! If you are fired, it's not because you are a felon, but because you lied on your application!
DO be honest.

DO explain what you learned from your prison experience or how you want to better yourself after being in prison.
DO take responsibility for the actions that led you to prison.

DO stress that although you were incarcerated, you haven't been lazy; explain things you did to stay busy or improve yourself (worked, read, etc.)
DON'T stress out!
DO relax and be comfortable in explaining you're criminal conviction.
DO practice ahead of time.
DO maintain eye contact; this shows you have nothing to hide.
DO believe in yourself - it will show.
DO add something positive about your skills and abilities or positive information about the company.
DON'T be blind to programs that can help you get a job.
DO remember the Federal Bonding Program. This program allows employers to hire ex-felons and bond them if their own insurance won't. In other words, this program acts like an insurance coverage on you to protect the employer (Contact the Transition Program for more information on this program). Mention this program to the potential employer.
DO remember the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). This is available as an incentive for employers to hire ex-offenders and others who may have difficulty in getting work. Inform the potential employer about this.
How would you answer the question, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" Below are some examples of how to answer that difficult question!
EXAMPLE 1
Interviewer: "I see from your application that you have been convicted of a crime. Will you explain this to me? Tell me about it."

Applicant: "I'm glad you asked because I want you to feel comfortable hiring me. It is embarrassing for me to talk about. I want to assure you that it had nothing to do with my previous employers. I took some things that didn't belong to me and as a result, I've taken the time to decide what field I would like to get into. I have enrolled in several clerical courses and can type 50 wpm. I am familiar with several software programs for word processin, and have excellent phone skills. I am very interested in learning all I can about this industry, and I know I would be an asset to your organization."
-OR-
"When I was younger I got mixed up with the wrong crowds and got in trouble for breaking into cars. We all do things when we are young that we regret. I used the time to my advantage by completing an air conditioning and heating training program and received my certificate. I've researched several air conditioning companies in the area and yours is well respected. I would really like to be a part of your team."
-OR-
"In my past, I was involved with drugs, but that is all behind me, and I've taken control of my life. I have two years of experience in food service and want to stay in this industry and learn as much as possible. As a result of my past, when you hire me, your company is eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which can save you up to $2,400. Are you familiar with this program?"
CALLING THE EMPLOYER
Below are examples of phone scripts you can use when calling an employer to get more information about a job or to apply for a job.
For a Classified Ad:
Hello, my name is _____(name)______. I'm calling about the (Job title)_______position advertised in (name of newspaper). I've had (number of years of experience or "a lot") years of experience in this field and would like to set up a time for us to get together and discuss this job in more detail.

For a Random Call When No Position Has Been Advertised:
Hello, my name is ____(name) ____. I'm calling to see if you have any openings for ___(job you're interested in)_____. I've had ___(number of years or "a lot")____ years of experience in this field and would like to set up a time for us to get together and discuss this job in more detail.

If They Don't Have Openings:
Would it be possible for me to come down and fill out an application in case any positions become available? Do you know of any _____(job title)_____ openings in the area?
Remember that communication is not just about the words you use.
Your Total Message
:
7% Actual Words
38% Tone, Pitch,
Volume, Rate
55% Body Posture,
Clothing, Facial
Expressions,
Gestures


Remember:
ØBe polite. Whether you get the results you want or not, thank the person for taking the time to speak with you.
ØBe prepared to answer questions about your background and/or experience.
ØHave a pen and paper handy to take down information or directions.
ØBe prepared to set up an interview.
EXAMPLES OF ILLEGAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
These are questions that should NOT be asked in an interview by an employer:

·Are you married?
·How old are you?
·Do you have children?
·What is your sexual preference?
·Do you go to church?
·Do you have a disability? If so, what is it?
·How much do you weigh?
·How tall are you?
·Is your childcare taken care of and who is your provider?
·Do you own your home or rent?
·Do you plan on having children/more children?
·Would you like to go out with me?
·Tell us something about any personal, family, or health issues that will prevent you from doing your job.
·What does your spouse do?
·What political party do you belong to?
·How much money did you make last year?
·Have you been arrested and if so, what was the charge?
·What is your opinion on (politics, social groups, religion)?
·Do you drink, take drugs, both?
If you are asked any illegal question, your options include the following:
¨Answer the question
¨Gently refuse to answer the question
¨Change the subject
¨Make a "joke" about the question (Be Careful - this can be difficult)
¨Return the question to the interviewer with another question:
"Why do you ask?"
"How does this apply to the job?"
"If I don't answer, will I automatically not get the job?"
"Are you aware that you have just asked me an illegal question?"
Preparing for an Interview:
Difficult Questions Employers
Might Ask you about your Criminal Background

During an interview, an employer is trying to get as much information about you as possible in a very short amount of time. Below is a worksheet of difficult questions that an employer might ask you. Fill in your answers to see how you would answer them.
1)I've noticed gaps in your work history; can you explain those gaps?
2)Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
3)What were your convictions?
4)What have you learned from this?
5)How can you assure our company that you won't re-offend or commit the same crime?
Advice on answering the “Felony Interview Question”
v
Sandwich your response. Tell of your felony conviction between several strengths and accomplishments. People often remember the first and last parts of sentences.
vOwn up. Be honest.

v
Think about these questions:
What strengths and accomplishments do I have?
How do I feel about what I did?
How have I changed because of going to prison?
Where am I going? What are my life and career plans?

Examples of Other Difficult Interview Questions
1)Tell us about yourself.
2)Why do you want to work here?
3)Why did you leave your last job?
4)Name three strengths and three weaknesses.
5)How do you respond to having to work under pressure?
6)How many days of work did you miss in the last year?
7)I see on your application that you have had many jobs in the past year; is there a reason for this?
8)Would you have any objections if we contacted any of your former employers?
9)Where do you see yourself five years from now? What are your long-range career plans?
10)Why should I hire you?
11)What would you do if there were a conflict between you and a supervisor? What would you do if there were a conflict between you and another worker?
12)Why do you want to work for our company?
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2007, 07:31 PM
GHOTI GHOTI is offline
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This is excellent.
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Old 02-04-2007, 11:01 PM
Marcheville Marcheville is offline
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If you are a convicted felon you CAN'T...

1) Work in any banking related industry - you can't be a stockbroker, sell insurance, be a bank teller or work in a casino or similar.

2) Work for the federal (and most state) governments.

3) Work in most profession that require a license (doctor, lawyer, etc.).

4) Work in the "liquor" industry or own any establishment that sells any type of alcohol.

5) Own a store that even sells state lottery tix.

6) Work in a "firearms" related industry.

and a whole lot more...if you are convicted of a felony....even if you do your time and make restitution you can't do a lot of things...ever. You may be able to vote and drive but somethings are forever gone for you in America.

It's not fair and it is really dumb but the government doesn't really want to rehab you and give you a chance - they'd much prefer it that you crawl off somewhere and die.

And people wonder why recidivism rates are so high?

March
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Old 02-05-2007, 04:36 AM
buttercup98 buttercup98 is offline
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well, i found this site only because i was so frustrated looking on the job sites and have to stop short of applying when it came down to background checks. It's extremely haunting for me and ive been out since 2001. I had to go get a commercial drivers license and have been driving but finding work in that area is somewhat better than most. But it's not what i want to do...i guess ive finally accepted that trying to get a career going in certain areas of interest are now gone...what a regret! even getting a pardon doesn't seem to be worth the paper i write on it to ask for one......ive searched jobs and searched till im blue in the face...and always just short of totally giving up and becoming homeless. but somehow i kick the dust off my pants and keep walking......
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Old 03-07-2007, 01:30 PM
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This is awesome. I am making a packet for my fiance who is coming home in a little over 7 months. He wants to be completely prepared and i think all of the advice im getting on here for him will help make the transition easier. thanks for posting!
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:57 PM
Cyndy67 Cyndy67 is offline
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Hi Everyone. I'm new to the board. In 2005 I was convicted of Wire Fraud. I was an admin assistant for over 20 years. I moved to MS in 1999, upon moving I took a pay-cut of $10,000 a year. I budgeted as best I could, but my electricity was cut off. I had no money, but I had my corporate credit card. I took monies off the card to pay the bill...as you already know, the rest is history. The company asked me to resign in 2001, which I did. I was finally convicted in 2005. Because of the stipulations in my probation, I can no longer work around money or credit cards, which basically means my 20 years of experience are no longer of any use. I'm currently on probation until 2010 and making restitution to the company. I had never committed a crime of any sort before or since. I'm now employed in a factory making minimum wage trying to support 2 kids. I feel blessed that I didn't have to leave them and serve time in prison.

I decided going back to school would be a good idea, you know change my profession and it has nothing to do with money. I want to become a Surgical Technologist/Surgical RN. To support my family while I'm in school, I thought it would be a good idea to become a certified nursing assistant first so that I could have a decent job and be able to go to school full-time during the day while working as a CNA at night. What i'm finding is even though my felony doesn't fall under the category that the state of MS restricts to work in healthcare, people are not willing to give me a break. All I want to do is be able to support my kids but it feels like I'm never going to get a chance do that. Before the felony I got glowing recommendations from all my former employers and also after the felony. But in MS you don't have anywhere or anyone to turn to for help. And people are right the PO's have no clue how to help you or direct you to someone who can....any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-19-2007, 01:06 PM
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thank you so much for this post
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Old 03-22-2007, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyndy67
Hi Everyone. I'm new to the board. In 2005 I was convicted of Wire Fraud. I was an admin assistant for over 20 years. I moved to MS in 1999, upon moving I took a pay-cut of $10,000 a year. I budgeted as best I could, but my electricity was cut off. I had no money, but I had my corporate credit card. I took monies off the card to pay the bill...as you already know, the rest is history. The company asked me to resign in 2001, which I did. I was finally convicted in 2005. Because of the stipulations in my probation, I can no longer work around money or credit cards, which basically means my 20 years of experience are no longer of any use. I'm currently on probation until 2010 and making restitution to the company. I had never committed a crime of any sort before or since. I'm now employed in a factory making minimum wage trying to support 2 kids. I feel blessed that I didn't have to leave them and serve time in prison.

I decided going back to school would be a good idea, you know change my profession and it has nothing to do with money. I want to become a Surgical Technologist/Surgical RN. To support my family while I'm in school, I thought it would be a good idea to become a certified nursing assistant first so that I could have a decent job and be able to go to school full-time during the day while working as a CNA at night. What i'm finding is even though my felony doesn't fall under the category that the state of MS restricts to work in healthcare, people are not willing to give me a break. All I want to do is be able to support my kids but it feels like I'm never going to get a chance do that. Before the felony I got glowing recommendations from all my former employers and also after the felony. But in MS you don't have anywhere or anyone to turn to for help. And people are right the PO's have no clue how to help you or direct you to someone who can....any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Research the possibility of becoming a counselor.
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Old 03-22-2007, 06:54 PM
Cyndy67 Cyndy67 is offline
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Thanks Pacman
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Old 03-24-2007, 05:10 PM
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Almost every state bars a felony coviction from obtaining a CNA license. Pluse CNA's only make $9 to $11.00 out of school in my area.
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Old 03-24-2007, 09:33 PM
Cyndy67 Cyndy67 is offline
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Thanks Hollow
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Old 03-26-2007, 09:35 PM
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Thanks for posting this.
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:48 AM
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if u get it expunged though, it changes alot of shit
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Old 04-03-2007, 04:38 PM
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Thank you so much this is excellent help for my fiancee who is goin to be released soon!! And to cyndy67 have u tried goin thru a temp agency I'm sure u could find a position that way!! if u need any more help i will be glad to offer some!! Good Luck to everyone!
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Old 04-03-2007, 05:05 PM
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Very interesting thread...thanks for all the great info!
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:36 PM
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My Fiance Was Thinking Of Getting Recertified As An Emt But I Dont Believe He Can After Being A 3rd Time Felon...does Anyone Know..if So Pls Message Me. Thanks.
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:51 PM
CASEY'S BABYGIR CASEY'S BABYGIR is offline
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he won't be able to recertife as an emt with a felony conviction because once he goes to apply for a job as an emt the will check his criminal background and it will show up and they won't hire him
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:06 PM
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Iknow that when I rec'd my certificate as an emt..there were many questions pertaining to being a convicted felon. In California..It did state some that were a definate No! Domestic violence and sex offenders were the definate no's..others..it came off as though you can go an "arbitrate" some felonies. I, however, do not know of anyone in my field with a felony or any conviction for that matter. DMV played a role in this decision also..in obtaining an ambulance certificate.

I would call or speak with DMV, then I would take it up with your county ems agency..just see what they have to say.
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:40 AM
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Wow this is great stuff, I will deffently pass this on to help thousands. Excellent research and time spent-it shows-thank you
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Old 03-19-2008, 06:46 PM
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My hubby went to truck driving school after his time in state jail. He went for 4wks and completed the course 4 days early. Its hard to get a truck driving job if you have a felony for DWI, and Drugs. If you dont have those things on your record you can make really good money. He drove salt water trucks (for the oil field insty) making around $1700 every 2 wks. That would be something to look into for those who dont have recent drug convictions (must companys ask that they be over 5-7yo) and who can travel out of state sometimes.
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:55 AM
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Depends on the state. Some states don't have a problem with it so long as it's not a crime of moral turpitude.
I know in Colorado there is a law that states that unless it IS a crime of moral turpitude that they cannot prevent me from getting EMT certification. Private employers CAN discriminate legally against a convict, but state, county and city cannot, unless the job opening falls under a certain category of explicit trust.
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Old 04-02-2008, 04:43 AM
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Actually you can be a doctor if you are an ex-felon but it can be difficult to find a state that will certify you. I've also heard of ex-cons who say they are going to become lawyers although I don't know if that's possible.

Also, a smart college educated ex-con once told me that you CAN work in bank! He said it's up to the individual bank. Seems unlikely any bank would do it but supposedly you can.

However, based on everthing that's posted it this thread it seems to be difficult overall to get a good job.

Last edited by ADXDUNGEON; 04-02-2008 at 04:44 AM..
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:31 AM
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Yes it is very difficult. At forst it was easy, until being a small town worked against me.
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:44 AM
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I'm like buttercup, when I see "background check" on the application, I just stop writing. I was in the banking industry for 30 years, that's where I got in trouble. I served 16 months and am on 5 yrs probation. When I came home I was fortunate that a window company hired me, but now I'm laid off. I think every employer does a background check now and I feel so frustrated because I know I could do a good job if someone would give me another chance. The hospital here won't hire me, but they hire people thru the drug rehab program. I know they need another chance too, but I can't even get past the front door. I've registered with the state employment office and temp agencies and am having no luck. If anyone has any more suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them.
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