The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and it’s not because we have more criminals than other countries. It’s because our justice system is so harsh that people are often sentenced to long prison terms without a chance of parole. And even if you do get out, your criminal record will follow you for life.
The felony friendly staffing agencies in michigan is a guide that helps ex-felons find jobs. It also includes information on how to get started and what they can expect.
The most efficient way for ex-felons to obtain employment is via networking. As we mentioned in our previous post HERE on how others are finding employment for ex-felons, networking accounts for 40 percent to 80 percent of all job openings. Furthermore, the majority of the most desirable opportunities are found among the 40-80 percent of jobs filled via networking. The best jobs are filled far before they need to be posted outside! Networking is much more essential for individuals with criminal convictions than for those with clean backgrounds.
Many individuals believe that networking while looking for employment entails contacting everyone you know and begging for a job. Networking is associated with being aggressive, intrusive, and disturbing their friends. People avoid networking because they don’t want to be associated with this kind of person. If you want to be successful in obtaining employment for ex-felons, you should not network in this manner!
Successful networkers who are ex-cons demonstrate genuine interest in their connections. They put forth a lot of effort to build a connection, create trustworthiness, and exchange information. If you approach networking selfishly, finding employment for ex criminals is difficult. Networking should be as helpful to both parties as feasible. You may not be able to offer immediate value to the person with whom you are conversing, but keep an eye out for such chances. Many individuals like assisting others, so don’t attempt to repay someone in full right away if there isn’t an instant chance to do so.
Building a strong network takes time, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t notice instant benefits, but you may. Ex-felons aren’t typically able to get work right away.
What is the difference between a “network” and “networking”?
The term “network” may seem authoritative and businesslike, yet it just refers to a loosely linked collection of individuals. Friends, relatives, coworkers, previous teachers, ex cellmates, other criminals you met in jail, volunteers from programs you attended, church members, and anybody else with whom you have a connection. Every time you meet someone for coffee, every time you speak with someone while getting a haircut, and every time you run into an old acquaintance on the street, you’re networking. In a nutshell, networking is establishing and maintaining connections with people who may provide you with useful information about a job.
This concept of networking sounds a lot like regular socializing, and in some ways, it is. Networking is more of a method of thinking about your social relationships than it is a distinct activity. Instead of thinking, “I don’t know anybody who’d want to employ me,” the idea of a network allows you to say, “I have access to a large network of individuals, any of whom might have knowledge that could lead to my next job.” The larger and more effective your network, the simpler it will be to locate employment for ex-felons.
Why should I join a networking group?
If you’re OK with just having a shot at the 20-60% of positions that aren’t filled via networking, you may skip this section. Networking should be your first goal if you really want to have the greatest chance of discovering employment for felons. In addition to improving your chances of obtaining employment for ex-offenders, networking offers the following advantages:
- You’ll find out about new ideas and trends in the sector that interests you.
- You will make new friends.
- You’ll learn about different industries in which you might work.
- Professional communication will become second nature to you.
It’s easy to ignore networking as a way to become comfortable talking and listening in a professional manner. It’s not always simple to go back into the workforce after years or decades in jail. Using networking to get experience interacting with experts can make your job interviews much simpler in the future. It will also provide you with the chance to make errors in a safe environment.
Who should I connect with in order to expand my network?
EVERYONE! You should strive to increase the size and quality of your network on a regular basis. Everyone should be aware of your identity and the fact that you are searching for work. When 100 people know you’re searching for work instead of just one, finding a job for ex criminals is a lot simpler.
Here are a few organizations with whom you should network to let them know you’re looking for work:
- Every member in your family, even distant relatives
- Friends from high school
- Friends from jail who have been freed and are now on the straight and narrow
- Former coworkers and supervisors from before you were incarcerated
- Volunteers you met while incarcerated
- People you meet in whatever support groups you go to
- Your whole congregation
To get you started, here’s a small list. Telling folks you’re searching for employment is nothing to be embarrassed of. Finding work for criminals is difficult enough without having to be self-conscious. Going straight after jail is a difficult job, and you should be proud of yourself for working so hard to get there. Anyone who teases or mocks you for attempting to improve your life is unworthy of your attention.
What is the best place for me to network?
If you’ve read this far, you’ll understand why I say EVERYWHERE! Obviously, you’ll have to exercise your best judgment in this situation. At a funeral, you don’t want to be chatting about job opportunities, but most other circumstances are fair game!
You’ll be surprised at how linked everyone is once you start developing your network. You never know who you may run across at church or in line at the supermarket, or who they might know. You can’t afford to miss any chances while taking on a tough undertaking like finding employment for ex-felons.
The internet is also an excellent resource for networking. There are many excellent networking services, such as LinkedIn.com, that may help you discover individuals who work for businesses or industries in which you are interested. You could also look for discussion forums or organizations that are specific to the sector you’re pursuing or that may assist ex-felons in obtaining work. Additional articles on these resources will be published in the future.
How do I build a network?
I’ve got some exciting news for you. Without even realizing it, you’ve been networking your whole life! You’ve been in jail for many months or years, basically networking all day.
When it comes to getting employment for ex criminals, networking generally consists of just having a pleasant chat with someone. You’ll get to know them, ask them a few questions, and inform them that you’re searching for work. They may or may not be able to assist you, but you will both be better off as a result of the discussion.
Ex-felons should observe the following eight networking rules:
Instead of asking for a job, request information.
Asking everyone you know for a job is not part of networking. In fact, while networking for ex-felon employment, you should never ask for a job; instead, you should ask for information that can aid you in your quest. Your objective is to develop a connection and establish rapport with them so that if a future chance arises, they will want to recommend you.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. If you’re chatting to someone and they mention a job opening, you should contact them right away to find out how to apply. Otherwise, you want to leave a positive impression on your networking contact, as well as the information that you are searching for employment.
Take care not to monopolize the other person’s attention.
People are preoccupied. You don’t want to be sucked into a discussion and waste their time. Nothing terrifies individuals more than the thought of someone consuming a significant amount of their time. If you have an unplanned conversation with someone, make it short and pleasant. If you’re in a social setting, make sure they’re enjoying the discussion and don’t concentrate exclusively on your job search (party, BBQ, church lunch, etc.)
Have an agenda and keep the meeting on track if you’re having a planned conversation with someone, such as a lunch meeting or a coffee chat. Nothing terrifies individuals more than the thought of someone consuming a significant amount of their time. Many individuals do not want to add another meeting to their already overburdened schedule. Bring a mental agenda to your networking sessions that covers the following items:
- A reminder of who recommended you, as well as some light banter about your common connection
- A remark to the effect that you have no reason to think Mary can give you a job, as well as a reminder of why Mary’s information is relevant to you.
- A description of your schedule. “Today, I’d want to tell you a little bit about myself and get your thoughts on *the industry/company you’re interested in*.”
- Remember to talk about your talents and achievements, as well as how you can bring value to a company.
- If you’re talking about a particular business, find out what their policies are on employing criminals. You don’t want someone recommending you without knowing about your criminal history. They will be furious if they discover that you withheld that information from them.
You demonstrate professionalism, acquire trust, and cover all of the important agenda topics by preparing your meeting ahead of time.
Allow the other person to speak first.
It is critical that you do not do all of the talking while networking. If you’ve asked someone for advise, be sure they’ve had the chance to provide it. Also, if you do all the talking, the other person may get perplexed and uncertain of what to do with the knowledge you’ve provided. Here are a few questions to ask to keep your conversation balanced and build rapport.
- How long have you worked for this company/in this field?
- What aspects of your work do you enjoy/dislike?
- What kind of training do you need for a job like yours?
- What is this company’s culture like, and what are its driving principles?
- Are there any rules or procedures that make it impossible to employ someone who has committed a felony?
Inquire about ways to increase your network.
One of the most important objectives of networking is to tap into the network of the individuals you’re meeting with. Each individual you meet has a vast network of contacts, some of whom may be able to assist you. If you can get some of them to introduce you to others, you’ll rapidly expand your network and your chances of making the perfect connection.
Inquire with your connections to see if they can suggest a professional organization or provide names of individuals you should contact.
Make a list of what you’ve learned about them.
You’ll need to keep note of everyone you’ve met and what you spoke about. It gets more difficult to keep track of everything in your mind as you meet more and more individuals.
If you take the time to jot down the main aspects of your discussion, it will be much simpler to communicate with that individual in the future.
Make a plan to contact your contacts again at a later time.
If you want to build rapport with someone, you’ll need to figure out how to keep the connection continuing. Request their business card or email address, and ask if you may keep them updated on your hunt. Cut out an article that relates to a conversation you had at a networking gathering and email it to them with a short message. Attempt to reconnect with people of your network at least two to three times each year.
Look for ways to give back.
It’s all about cultivating real relationships when it comes to building a network. Thank your contact for their time and effort, and see if you can assist them in any way.
Perhaps your acquaintance would want to live in a region that you are acquainted with, or has a kid who would like to attend the same high school from which you just graduated. As a means to assist the other individual, share your knowledge about the school and your experiences there.
Keep track of everything you learn about your connections so that you may add a personal touch to future communication, such as “How was Jane’s first year of school?”
Send a thank-you note to the person who helped you.
Always thank your contacts in person and, at the very least, follow up with an email. This is a wonderful approach to express gratitude while also reminding them that you two talked and that you are searching for work.
Even with networking, finding employment for ex-felons is a constant process. You will notice benefits through networking if you are persistent and professional. Even after you’ve landed your first job, the network you’ve built will benefit you for the rest of your life.
On our Jobs for Criminals page, you’ll find a comprehensive list of businesses that we’ve contacted regarding employing felons. For individuals looking for employment for ex-felons, we have a lot of helpful information.
The career assessment for ex offenders is a guide that helps people find jobs after being released from prison. It includes a list of companies that hire felons, as well as how to network with those companies.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you help ex convicts find jobs?
The best place to start is by getting a job as an ex-convict yourself. There are many opportunities for those who have been through the system and can offer you a fresh start.
Do companies get paid to hire ex convicts?
How can I help my ex felon?
There are many ways to help an ex-felon. You could donate money to a good cause, volunteer your time, or even speak with them and help them find a job.
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