For individuals with criminal records, rejoining society and navigating their careers is often daunting. Many felons have to battle against the stigma associated with their history, making securing stable employment or advancing challenging.
Fortunately, there are steps individuals with past convictions can take to keep their careers moving forward. Here is a career progression guide for felons to simplify the process.
Address Your Employment Gap
Felons often have gaps in their employment history due to their incarceration and are typically significant in size. When you apply for a job, expect questions about any gaps in employment, and prepare to answer them honestly.
After mentioning your incarceration, make sure to pivot into positive territory. Discuss your enthusiasm to rejoin the workforce, discuss any skills you want to leverage, and highlight how you’re ready to provide value to an employer. If you took the time to train or further your education while incarcerated, mention those efforts, too, as it can work in your favor.
Focus on Skill Development
A robust skill set makes a difference for all candidates looking for a job, as it’s easier to show how you can provide value to an employer. If you have a criminal record, use reintegration programs to acquire new skills or enhance your capabilities. Additionally, embrace self-directed learning when suitable training isn’t available, as that can work well, too. If you qualify, look for certification opportunities, which can significantly boost your application.
Another option is to find volunteer opportunities that can lead to new skills. This strategy also has another benefit: individuals you work with in volunteer roles can become valuable professional references.
Once you find a job, continue making skill development a priority. Opportunities to learn on the job are often surprisingly plentiful, and embracing them can ensure you can continue moving forward in your career. Seek opportunities to get outside your comfort zone and aim to contribute wherever possible, as that strategy can open more doors.
Choose the Right Employers
While a stigma is associated with having a conviction, not all employers view felons the same way. Many believe in the power of second chances, and they also understand that individuals with convictions can have plenty to offer in terms of value as an employee.
When seeking opportunities, concentrate on welcoming organizations with clear commitments to diversity and inclusion. Often, these employers are more open-minded than some alternatives, which could simplify finding a suitable role.
Partner with GSG Talent Solutions to Find Opportunities
At GSG Talent Solutions, we believe candidates from all walks of life bring value and deserve opportunities to grow and advance professionally. Our goal is to find every job seeker their ideal position, and we work closely with a wide array of employers who believe in the power of second chances.
If you have a criminal record and want to ensure your career can keep moving forward, the team at GSG Talent Solutions wants to hear from you. Contact us today.