Basic job search tools for the ex-offender

There is a seemingly large checklist of things an ex-offender needs to look for a job. These basic job search tools for the ex-offender will help you be ready for any possibilities during the three phases of the job search - during the search, the application process and the job interview.

While Searching

Items an ex-offender will need when looking for a job include:

  • Appropriate clothing - casual business attire; no t-shirts, sneakers, jeans, dirty caps; dirty clothes or unkept appearances
  • Library address - local libraries are a warehouse of job search tools and resources
  • Cell phone - this will help if you want to call about a position as you find it; the earlier you communicate with the employer, the better your chances are to land an interview
  • Day planner - this is an item which incorporates a calendar, telephone book, notepad and any other job related material; this is useful for holding resumes, job information, newspapers and other needed search and application items
  • Telephone directory - this provides the names, addresses and telephone numbers of almost any legitimate employer in your community

For the Application

Some things an ex-offender will need to fill out an application

  • Resume - your brief summary of your skills, experience and qualifications; this should accompany the application you hand to the employer
  • Four job references - this will be the names, addresses and phone numbers of good reliable references; use former co-workers, supervisors and managers but be sure to get their permission
  • Employment history - this will be detailed information about your past work experience
  • Residence history - usually for the last ten years other than incarceration
  • Salary history - the amounts should be either stable or increasing over time

A note about Employment History; as one of the things an ex-offender will need when trying to get a job, you will need details of each previous employer. Such details will include the following, which should be researched and written down beforehand.

  • Company name
  • Current address of the company (not of the site you worked at unless they are the same)
  • Immediate supervisors name and current phone number (if available)
  • Job title and duties
  • Dates you were employed at the company (most often month and year are enough)
  • Beginning and ending pay rates
  • Reason for leaving the job (try not to be negative about the job here)
  • The reason for gaps in employment

At the Interview

Things an ex-offender will need at an interview during the job search include the following:

  • Resume - see above
  • Letter of Federal Bonding - this acts as insurance to the employer should you prove dishonest or because of theft
  • Appropriate clothing - see above
  • Information about the Work Opportunity Tax Credit Act - employers hiring low income ex-offenders can receive a tax credit on their taxes; having this paperwork with you may help your chances of being hired
  • Police Clearance - this is simply a background check conducted by a police agency which may also help your chances of being hired
  • Reliable transportation - have a reliable way to get to the interview, and the job so that you get hired
  • Documents to establish employment eligibility - such things as Social Security card, photo ID, birth certificate, military ID, legal immigrant ID and others listed on the I-9 form

While these items are a main requirement for any applicant looking for work, for the ex-offender these things are more important when looking for a job. Having the things you need to get a job will show your readiness and willingness to re-enter the workforce.