As an ex-offender, you have one big "red flag" that you will need to respond to on applications and in job interviews: "Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Please explain."
How do you plan to answer this question? The terms of your release from prison may require full disclosure of your criminal record to employers. Even if it doesn't, you need to be candid in explaining red flags in your background.
The best way to do this is to take responsibility by admitting that you at one time had a problem, but you have subsequently made changes in your life.
Give examples of what you have done to change your life, such as completing your GED, taking educational courses, acquiring new skills, and setting clear goals which you plan to achieve over the next few years.
Back up these examples with names of people who can testify to the fact that you are a very different person today - goal-oriented, purposeful, and prepared to enter the workplace as a responsible and productive employee.
SOURCE: Adapted from Ron and Caryl Krannich, Ph.Ds, The Ex-Offender's Job Hunting Guide (Manassas Park, VA: Impact Publications). Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.