The ex-offender resume

For an ex-offender, using the best resume to get the job is as important as a good interview. You need to do two things with your resume:

  • Get the employer past your criminal history
  • Sell the employer on your skills and abilities for the job

While there are many suggestions on how to write a resume, there are not as many for using the best resume for an ex-offender. When an ex-offender is creating the best resume for their use, there are a few general guidelines to follow:

  • Use Action Verbs - words such as 'accomplished', 'achieved', 'maintained' and other verbs which focus on accomplishments with noticeable effects on your work. Use these words with a measurable description of achievements. (EX: Increased repeat sales by 10% per month over 6 months)
  • Avoid stale copied words - words which appear from a corporate or resume handbook will show; as will buzzwords and technical jargon unless you are very familiar with these terms
  • Be Honest - never deceive employers; exaggerating, misstatements, and omissions will be found out over time and will cost you work

When choosing the best resume for a job, an ex-offender is wise to have multiple resumes. This allows you to highlight different skills and abilities on each depending on the field of employment. When creating a resume use these simple guidelines:

  • Target the Job - determining the type of job you want will help you know which type and what copy of your resume to use
  • Choose Proper Formatting - ex-offenders should use either the Functional Resume or the Combination Resume for best results
  • Keep it Simple - most effective resumes are only one page long and are very simple and easy for the employer to understand

With regards to using the best resume for an ex-offender, there are two types which may be useful.

  • Functional Resumes - this resume type is good for people with multiple jobs or a variety of skills; this is also good for changing careers or for employment histories with multiple gaps
  • Combination Resumes - this resume type is a mix of both functional and chronological resumes. This resume puts emphasis on your achievements and gives a job history in a reverse chronological order.

When do you want to use each of these resume types?

  • Functional Resume - this resume is good for listing specific skills, abilities and accomplishments gained through experience and training
  • Combination Resume - this resume is good for when your career was interrupted or your years of training outpace your work experience

With either type of resume, using the best resume for an ex-offender should involve targeting to specific jobs or industry when applying for a position. In this way you can put more weight on your accomplishments and less on your criminal history.