Good References - Getting Felons New Job Opportunities

In today’s employment practices, applicant qualifications are less about skill sets and more about character references. Although this provides plenty of opportunities to aspiring employees in many trade businesses, it can be a disadvantageous requirement for ex-offenders and recently-released felons.


As an ex-offender, you carry a certain notoriety that can damage your chance of getting fair employment. Even after doing your time, people can negatively perceive your character, especially in accepting you in the workplace. However, you’re not completely at a loss when looking for a job by knowing how to utilize your references.


How important are references for job applications?


Looking for a job after the end of their incarceration is one of the primary objectives of felons. Although some employers are open to giving ex-felons a second chance, they will still need a strong set of references before getting hired. These contacts can significantly increase your chances of getting employed.


Where can I find references for employment?


Job applicants need to find the right people to serve as their references. The most straightforward reference to include would be employment references. This includes employers, co-workers, teammates, or clients from your previous occupation. It’s generally a good practice to apply for a job related to your previous one so that your reference can provide relevant insight into your value as a worker.


Besides professional and business-related relationships, you can also include academic references like instructors and professors. Listing these people is usually the go-to option for fresh graduates looking for a place in the job market.


You can use personal contacts that can vouch for your objective skill sets. Although most employers generally dismiss them, you may include them as character references if you’re out of options.


How do I select my references?


Your references must be people who can honestly know you and speak of your objective improvement before or during incarceration. Previous employers or academic instructions can talk about your ability to learn, grow, and work in particular environments. Avoid using friends or family members as a reference since employers can view them as biased in reviewing your viability as an employee.


Most employers will ask for three references to judge a person’s character, work ethic, and capacity to handle specific job occupations. Job applicants need to have a reference’s name, contact information, title, and organization/company for their employer’s benefit. It’s important to ensure that these details are current, especially for contact numbers. Additionally, it’s a good idea to have at least four references in mind, even if most application forms will only require three.


Remember to ask permission from the people you’ll use as a job application reference so they can expect a call or message in advance. They may prefer to provide a business email or work phone over their personal number, so it’s important to get their blessing. It’s also necessary to be transparent about which company could be calling them so they can screen calls accordingly.



Sometimes, you won’t have to provide references if it’s not asked. Remember that your references’ details are private and valuable information that you should only offer when necessary. After drafting your resume, you can include a line stating: References will be provided upon request. This is why you must be particular about choosing the company you would want to work for. Thankfully, there are some institutions and establishments that are specifically open to welcome felons to their workforce.


Unfortunately, the negative social stigma on ex-cons still is still not widely accepted. However, you can still look for establishments that are welcoming to your specific predicament. If you want to apply for felon-friendly jobs in Oklahoma, check out our directory today!