Finding jobs for people with felonies can be one of the biggest challenges that a person may face after being released from prison. The fact of the matter that more than 50% of all convicts will return to prison within the five years after their release. Even in cases where a felon is able to secure an early release or parole, finding a job with a felony can be of the utmost difficulty. The reason for this is plain: People with felonies are seen as a risk.
Despite the fact that most ex-cons looking for jobs are able to work hard and with dignity, many employers simply see hiring a felon as taking a risk. This is unlikely to change any time soon as employers are relying more and more on pre-employment background checks. So, if you have a felony and are looking for work, you are going to have to be willing to be creative when looking for jobs that will hire a felon.
The first thing that a person with a felony looking for a job should do is conduct an honest assessment of their strengths and weaknesses as well as the credentials that they possess. In many cities there are free job training clinics which can conduct vocational training to see what job the felon might be best suited to. But, if you are looking for work with a felony conviction you need to get honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Many felons are at a disadvantage right out of the gate because they lack stable job history because of their incarceration. Another challenge is that most felons do not have a college education and many have not completed high school.
The best advice for most felons looking for a job is to appraise your immediate and long term needs. In the short term, the felon needs a job. Therefore the ex-con is going to have to be willing to take what is available. In many cases this might be day labor or temporary work in an environment such as construction. A job such as this can help pay the bills at a half way house for the felon just out of the slammer.
But an ex-con trying to find a job with a felony that is going to be able to pay the bills long term is more of a challenge. In most cases, it can be a good idea for a felon looking for work to talk to friends and family members or people at their church who are small business owners. A felon is more likely to find a job if the hiring person is already familiar with the felon looking for work and knows his character.
In the long term, jobs opportunities for felons improve as the person demonstrates stable work history over a period of years. If you are willing to work construction or short term transportation (such as trucking) for a few years and build up your work history — you will have a greater chance at locating a job even with a felony. In short jobs for people with felonies can be had but the person with the felony needs to understand that it may take a little while before they are able to support themselves with the lifestyle that they desire.