Monday, August 25, 2014

Why employers hire ex-offenders

A criminal record is usually not the kind of qualification most employers have in mind when looking for new hires.But some managers know that formerly incarcerated employees can add value to their companies.Mark Peters, CEO of Butterball Farms, Inc., a national supplier of specialty butters, regularly hires former prisoners and says companies should consider giving these workers a chance. He's launching a study and wants other companies to participate in it to examine the benefits and challenges of those who have spent time behind bars.

While many employers remain skeptical about hiring ex-offenders, others extol the benefits of adding these members to your staff. Here are four reasons, in addition to the social benefit, why you should consider rehabilitated offenders.
1. They'll be looking out for you since you looked out for them.
Since most people who have spent time in prison find it difficult to get jobs and re-enter society, they'll likely be extremely grateful and loyal to any employer who gives them a chance.
“There's plenty of people I can hire that don't care if they work for me or the guy down the street,” said Peters. “I'd rather have somebody who's really engaged and helping my organization be successful. So if I help someone else be successful, they're a lot more interested in helping me be successful.”
2. The training they received in prison may be transferable to your job.
Many people who spend time behind bars are able to receive vocational training and participate in certification programs for GEDs and college degrees, which can help prepare them for employment and provide valuable skills that transfer across fields. It might also mean they are familiar with discipline and hard work.
3. They'll stay with you longer.
People who have been incarcerated greatly value their jobs when they get hired, according to the Travis County Offender Workforce Development Program in Texas. Their website says, "The ex-offenders in our program have demonstrated a commitment to leading an honest and responsible life. Finding employment is not easy for them--once hired they are not likely to quit--they are highly motivated to become long-term employees."
4. There could be tax incentives for employers.
Business who hire ex-felons within one year after they are convicted or released from prison may qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit which gives employers a maximum of $2,400 for each adult hired. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

In a world of online job applications it is very important to have a professional online presence. When creating a personal email address:

  1. Pick an address that you can stick with - your current copy of your resume may last a lot longer than you think. The email address is an ideal way to contact someone about a job, so make sure you'll be regularly findable at that location. Things to avoid here: a friend's server, domains you think you'll leave within 3 years, work addresses that will go away when you leave your current position.
  2. Get good spam filtering - resumes are public things, they get spread far and wide. That's great for your career options, bad for spam. Make sure you have a reasonably decent spam filter on this account.
  3. Set up your account for frequent checking - many fields and recruiters expect a turn around time in hours to days, not weeks. Don't set up an account that you aren't prepared to check regularly.
  4. Avoid references to race, creed, gender, religion, or particularly wild things in your username - john.smith.programmer479 is better than wildandcrazysaturdaynightspecial - no matter what you read into that... it's just not professional.
  5. Avoid very long, typo-prone cases - Realize that in some cases you'll have to hand write the email address or that it may end up being hand-typed by a reader - a few numbers are not a big deal - john.smith.394857 is fine. But something with a very long string of digits, or cases of highly typo prone usernames are something to avoid 
  6. Do connect it with anything professionally related to you, don't connect it to anything that makes you look unprofessional - the classic being don't use a username for your email that is easily connected to your drunken pictures on Facebook. But the positive view is that it's not so bad if, for example, your username is easily connected to great questions and answers.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tips when applying for jobs online:

1. Prioritize listings that match your skill set directly

2. Fill out forms quickly, leaving selected questions unanswered.

3. When asked for your salary, write “$1,” “$10,” or “$100,” so you fill in the blank but don’t scotch a compensation negotiation in advance.

4. On other queries, like a request for references, or your current position, especially if you’re unemployed, write “to be discussed.”

5. Customize your résumé to the listing; make sure it includes keywords.

6. Write a concise cover letter that specifically addresses the job’s requirements.

7. Most important: Search your virtual and face-to-face network for a connection to the job you want

8. Use a professional email address including your full name.