Review – From Prison to Paycheck

From Prison to Paycheck: What No One Ever Tells You About Getting a Job, Pam Hogan, 2007, ISBN 9780979429491

Among the many challenges faced by those just released from prison is that of getting a job. Those with a job are much more likely to stay out of prison than those without one. This book attempts to make that challenge less challenging.

Think of a resume as equivalent to a business card. It’s required; the book exactly how to write it. For those whose work history is spotty or non-existent, register with a temporary employment agency. Going on a variety of jobs will help to narrow down the type of jobs that you do (or do not) want, they will provide experience to put on a resume, and the paycheck does not hurt. Volunteering is another way to get experience to put on a resume. Target your resume for different types of positions. A resume that highlights your experience as a landscape gardener will be of little help in applying for a security guard position.

Treat your job search as a full-time job. Carefully read the on-line or newspaper ads. If it says, for instance, “no phone calls” or “apply in person,” then follow it. If your qualifications don’t exactly match the requirements, apply and go for an interview, anyway. The more job interview experience you can get, the better off you will be. You need to be out there every day, filling out applications and leaving off resumes.

The book goes through the job interview process, including a list of questions the interviewer will ask. Practice the answers to these questions ahead of time, so that you will sound confident and “with it,” instead of hesitating and unsure of yourself.

At some point, the question will be asked: Have you ever been convicted of a felony? Do not lie, because the truth will eventually be discovered, but there is no need to include every detail. If that part of your life is, honestly, never to return, find a way to say so. The book gives some suggested responses.

This book does a fine job at making the job search process as painless as possible. It is not just good for those just out of prison, but also for those whose work history is less than stellar.