5 tips for finding a job when you’ve faced challenges

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Finding a job can be tough, especially if you’ve had challenges in your past like gaps in work history, legal issues, or struggles with child care. There is hope! We’ve helped thousands of people across the country find meaningful work despite such challenges. This guide shares our Top 5 tips for overcoming barriers to employment and landing that job:

Update your resume

Your resume is simply a list of your experience and your skills. It can be very simple, and should be kept to one page whenever possible. One of the biggest challenges job seekers have is explaining any potential red flags. Instead of leaving gaps, include any productive activities you did during that time, like volunteering, taking classes, or temporary jobs. If you have a criminal record, you can briefly explain the situation in an honest but unemotional way. The main thing is to highlight your skills and accomplishments.

Get ready for interviews

Interviews can definitely feel nerve-wracking when you’re dealing with difficult circumstances. Preparation will help boost your confidence. Practice answering common interview questions out loud so you don’t get flustered during the real thing. For any gaps in your work history or legal issues, have an honest yet positive explanation ready to discuss upfront with the interviewer.

It’s also important to research the company before your interview. Check out their website, social media, recent news stories, and anything else you can find so you can talk knowledgeably about their business, priorities, and workplace culture. Prepare some thoughtful questions of your own to ask the interviewer that show you understand their needs. Having a few questions shows you have genuine interest in the company. Finally, think of specific examples from your own experiences that demonstrate skills and your ability to persevere through challenges.

Look for second chance employers

Not all employers have experience hiring people who have faced barriers to employment, but they do exist, and there may be more than you realize. One great way to find these second-chance employers is to check out local job fairs hosted by Better Together. If there’s one thing we’re really good at, it’s connecting people like you with employers and job coaches in your community who will go above and beyond to help you get back into the workforce.

Also look at job websites like Jobs2Careers.com, ZipRecrutier.com, and Indeed.com which feature postings from businesses dedicated to giving second chances. You can also search for keywords like “second chance employment” on regular job search platforms. Additionally, connect with local re-entry programs or workforce centers in your area for assistance and resources.

Find a job coach

Having an experienced coach on your side can be incredibly helpful when you’re facing significant employment barriers. At Better Together, we have dedicated job coaches who really understand unique situations like gaps in your resume, previous incarceration, struggles with child-care costs, and other challenging circumstances.

A great job search coach will keep you motivated, suggest ideal resources and strategies for your situation, teach you effective ways to address shortcomings, negotiate on your behalf with employers, and be a trusted advisor throughout your whole job hunt.

If you live outside the areas served by Better Together job coaches, look for free online career coaching services or leverage resources at local workforce centers to get personalized job search assistance.

Stay positive and keep going!

More than anything else, the key is believing in yourself! Finding that next great job opportunity will understandably take time and multiple attempts before you succeed. It’s so important to have the right mindset. It’s helpful to view setbacks not as failures, but as valuable learning experiences that help you be even better prepared for the next opportunity.

The process won’t be easy, but your commitment and determination will pay off eventually. We’re here to support you on your path to flourishing!




*Better Together currently offers job coaching in the following Florida counties: Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Duval, Clay, Nassau, St. Johns, Collier, Lee, Hendry, Glades, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto, Marion, Lake, Hernando, Brevard, Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie, Palm Beach, and Okeechobee.

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