Getting hired once you’re fresh out of prison isn’t easy. In fact, it’s hard as hell. The tips and advice they gave you when you’re in prison are outdated and not effective. A study done by Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center found research suggesting that finding and maintaining a legitimate job can reduce former prisoners’ chances of reoffending, and the higher the wage, the less likely it is that individuals will return to crime. Seeing that I just got out of prison a couple years ago and landed a job within a couple weeks of release, allow me to tell you how to get hired fresh out of prison.

Paper Resumes Are A Thing Of The Past

Remember that voluntary Resume Maker class you took in prison? Well, guess what: almost no one uses paper resumes to apply for a job anymore (you still may have to bring one to an interview), so unless you have a digital resume on a USB drive, or a LinkedIn resume you’ll have a hard time getting hired out of prison.

Even jobs like fast food workers are hired on job sites like Snagajob or Indeed. And to be on these websites you should have a resume as you will have to fill out applications that’ll ask all your resume information. It is much easier if you can just download your resume onto the job site and let it automatically fill in the fields for you. Trust me, this tip will help cut the time you spend filling out job applications in half!

Now onto what level of hire are you fresh out of prison. There are three levels of hires:

Three Levels Of Hires

  1. Network Hires
  2. Trade Skills Hires
  3. Everybody Else

Network Hires

If you have a network you can tap for a job you are in Level 1 to get hired fresh out of prison. You don’t have to deal with anybody not trusting you as a felon, or worrying about filling out the dreaded question, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony? If so, explain.”

Returning citizens with a network can bypass all the bullshit and get right into the company. Why? Because that’s your network. That’s your homeboy. They already know you made a mistake and were incarcerated, and you know what, they’re not holding it against you like the rest of the world might. They know you as a person and trust you.

This is by far the easiest way to get hired fresh out of prison.

Now onto, Level 2: Trade Skills Hires.

Trade Skills Hires

Trade Skills hires are hires of returning citizens who have a trade skill. These individuals may know how to weld, pipe fit, drive forklift/heavy machinery, do construction, etc. One thing that they can’t take away from you when you got to prison is your ability to do a trade skill.

In society, individuals with a trade skill will always be employable. They don’t really need credentials, referrals, or anything like that. You can’t fake this. The hiring person will ask you if you know how to do the job, and maybe have you demonstrate the skill. If you can talk about it and show you know what you’re doing in a demonstration, then that’s your credibility right there.

This isn’t just for blue collar, labor-intensive jobs either. I’ve even seen returning citizens get hired as coders and paralegals, because they had the particular skill and knew how to do the job effectively.

Let’s take a look at the last level, Level 3: Everybody Else.

Everybody Else

If you were one of the inmates who doesn’t have a network that can help you get hired, and spent your incarceration playing cards and watching TV all day, then unfortunately, you may fall in this category.

This category is Everybody Else. Everybody Else are the ones who have to put in application after application at any and every place that says they’re hiring, will get told “No” 100 times, and hope to hear yes on the 101st.

I’ve experienced this, and trust me, it wasn’t fun. Beating the pavement up walking store to store, and searching the internet for hours finding places that are hiring and filling out applications gets tiring. Especially as I said earlier, you keep hearing “No”.

Try to avoid this level if you can. Establish a network who can help you get hired, or learn a trade as quickly as you can so you’ll always be able to find work.

And, If you’re a law-abiding citizen who knows someone who is currently in prison but will be coming home (more than 95% of inmates will be released from prison), please Share this post with them.

If you have any suggestions for future posts about returning citizens, leave a comment below or contact me.