During your pre-release from prison or jail, you can do much research on employers and companies as part of your preparation for a job search.

You can visit your prison library for resources, talk to correctional staff members, and write letters to family members, friends, and potential employers.

If you do nothing else while incarcerated, read, read, read, and write, write, write about employers and companies.

Talk to people in your institution about possible jobs and careers. Get focused on your future and develop new goals (see Chapter 7 in our The Ex-Offender's Job Hunting Guide.

Learn to conduct informational interviews (see Chapter 10 or click here to read about this), which lead to acquiring information, advice, and referrals, by communicating with knowledgeable people.

While you need to know about possible jobs and careers to pursue, you also need specifics about who is actually hiring for what jobs in your community.

After release, be sure to visit your local library, Chamber of Commerce, or a community college career center, which will have a great deal of information on local businesses and employers. Ask for assistance in locating employers.

While many people look to large companies for employment, don't overlook small businesses and nonprofit organizations in your community. Small businesses account for nearly 85 percent of all employment in America, and many of them are more willing to hire ex-offenders than large companies.

One of your best sources of information will be the Internet. Most businesses and organizations have websites, which include information about what they do and who and how they hire. Many also have online application forms or describe how to submit an electronic resume.

You can easily find employers by using any search engine, such as,,, or

Among our favorite gateway websites or online directories to businesses and companies are: Among the websites that focus on government jobs, which you may or may not qualify for because of your background, are: If you are interested in working in the nonprofit sector, explore these useful gateway websites: Your local library should have numerous directories on companies. Several to explore are:
  • Almanac of American Employers
  • Almanac of American Employers: Mid-Size Firms
  • Dun & Bradstreet's Middle Market Directory

SOURCE: The original article was 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. This version has been updated to reflect conditions in 2011.