Job Seekers

Job Seekers/Candidates
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We all know the importance of job seeking, & even more important is the job interview. Many things run through our minds when that call for the opportunity to sell yourself arrives. For people with criminal records it can even be nerve wracking to say the least. Worrying about how will you mention your criminal record, what will you say, will you even be asked about your criminal record (depending on the job and state laws), or will you be given a chance. The anxiety increases as that day gets near. While a job interview may not guarantee employment, at least you'll be armed with some helpful tips to help increase your chances. Having said that, here are some Tips on job search methods & tips on preparing for a job interview, should you be asked to come in for a Job Interview. 
1. Job Search Hiring Methods:
Step 1: If listed Find out who the Hiring Manager or Supervisor is for the position listed. Get the following information: Name, title, direct number, fax number, and email address (if available)
Step 2: Apply for the position as instructed in the ad. If applying by email, upload and send a copy of your resume and cover letter to the attention of the hiring manager/supervisor.  
Step 3: Contact the hiring manager/supervisor directly. Use the example statement provided below.
Good Morning/Afternoon Mr. / Ms. Hiring Manager/Supervisor,concern or To whom this may (if name is not available) 
My Names is Jane or John Doe, and I am applying for the "said position" you have posted in the I posses the skills and qualifications you are looking for such as:__________________________. For your convenience, I have attached a copy of my cover letter and resume that goes further in-depth of my skills and abilities.
Thank you for your time!
Jane or John Doe
(123) 456-7890  
Company/Agency Name:
Parent company, divisions or subsidiaries of company:
Phone number:
Website Address:
Company description:
Company Mission:
Current company projects or initiatives:
Hiring contacts and titles:
Position available:
What Can I Bring to This Company?
Additional Information: 

2. How to Explain a Conviction on your Resume & or Job Application.

No matter what resources you utilize, you will probably have to fill out an application. Since most companies will do a background check on you, it is important to tell the truth on the form (especially if there are no ban the box laws in that state or county). It's better to be honest & up front and possibly lose some opportunities, than to lose someone's trust after you are hired. Here are some things to consider: 
  • Do your own background check. If you know what will appear on the employer's check, you will be better prepared to address it
  • Read the question carefully and only give them what they ask for. Make sure you don't offer information that they did not request.
  • Be honest. Never lie to an interviewer or put false information on your resume or application. This will disqualify you when the employer does a background check or checks your references.
  • Be specific about what happened but do not use that time to plead innocence or deny that you did something. Avoid telling "your side of the story." Even if you were wrongly convicted, you will leave a negative impression. Keep focused on what you have to offer the employer, not your personal story.
  • Focus on your current activities and future plans. Emphasize the education and job training, community work, and other activities you have done since your release. Talk about your career goals, how you chose them, and how the job you are applying for fits them.
  • Be positive. Make sure you tell the employer about the positive experiences and job experience that you have had and how you have moved forward.
  • Have good eye contact, without staring. Not looking a person in the eye when talking can be seen as a sign that you are lying or hiding something.
  • Stand and sit tall. Slouching or sitting casually can look like you are not taking the interview seriously.
  • Smile. A genuine smile shows that you are a friendly person and someone the interviewer would want working at the company.
  • Shake hands firmly. Shake hands only after the interviewer extends his or her hand first. If you are not able to shake hands because of health or cultural reasons, politely tell the interviewer, "I don't shake hands with people, but I am very pleased to meet you."
  • Show interest through your facial expression. This will show engagement and that you are interested in what they are saying and the position. Get them to picture what its going to be like to get you on the team.

3. How to prepare for a job interview

In your job seeking Journey, it is important to take the time to prepare for the interview. Make sure you know the requirements of the job. Look back at your resume and list any experiences you have had that demonstrate your ability to meet those requirements. Before the interview, do some research on the company you are interviewing with. Make sure you have a sense of their mission, their products, the population they work with, and the company culture.
When you're preparing for the interview, its natural that some fear and anxiety might come up. The first thing you want to do is acknowledge it and know that it is also a sign to prepare. To prepare for the interview, and to prepare for the questions.

Interviews are not about the perfect answer. Its about who you are and how you show up. So at any given time when they ask you those questions, when they put you on the spot, just remember that you have the opportunity to just pause, take a deep breath and know where you are and determine how you want to show up at that moment.
As you review and prepare for some of the most commonly asked interview questions, consider the skills and strength and qualities that you have and you want to make sure that you convey them during the interview process. You can even make a list of the top five things that describe how you are going to fit inside the company. Consider a time that you have been very successful in the past, what were the qualities,  strengths and talents that you exhibited at that time to help you become successful.
The best interviews are engaging ones, and not just about the questions that the interviewer has for you. So consider what are some of the questions that you have for the interviewer; about this job, about this team, about the manager, and or about the organization. Get them to picture what its going to be like to get you on the team.

We at ReEntryWorks recommends a fantastic resource at FairShake "which is loaded with all kinds of reentry information. It’s like a hardware store for reentry that includes resources, information, and even tools and materials for building bridges of transformation and trust."