Sweeten Your Lemon


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Post by Susan Mwarabu

“Could you tell us a little about yourself?”

You are an ex-offender. You finally nailed that interview you have been working hard to get. Everything’s swimming along beautifully but without warning the tide suddenly changes and you suddenly find yourself in choppy waters. How you respond to the question of your criminal background will determine whether you successfully slice through the strong current and find your way to calmer waters. In this sour moment, our job at Amicus is to essentially turn the lemon of your criminal background into lemonade of the possibility of a successful job acquisition.

For anyone, finding a job is a formidable process and can wear down even the most resilient person. The added deficit of a criminal record makes the job hunt all the more arduous. Preparedness is key—and as an ex-offender, being ready and able to discuss your past and focus on the positive is paramount.

Amicus understands that finding employment is crucial for any one with a criminal record who is looking to start anew.  For that reason, we offer Employment Advantage to help begin planning for a successful employment search before release from a correctional facility, and Heads Up Strategies, which offers support to those actively seeking employment after their release. Heads Up Strategies offers assistance with the process of molding yourself into a desirable candidate for the job you are seeking. Heads Up gives you tools and resources which, once applied, can help with the process of job seeking, landing the job and keeping it.

Participants in Heads Up Strategies follow  a four-week sequential course designed to make the clients viable candidates for employment.  All sessions take place at the Amicus Minneapolis Office, located at:
15 S. Fifth Street, Suite 1100, Minneapolis, MN 55402

The four week course jigsaws essential aspects of job seeking and retention such as:
1. Preparing job seekers by outlining career goals, resume writing, and developing necessary computer skills necessary for the task of job seeking.
2. Researching available jobs by providing access and training on employment resources at their disposal.
3. Practicing how to respond to interview questions, even the uncomfortable ones.
4. Sustaining the job once a candidate is successful by teaching financial ethics, time management, workplace interactions, management and resourcefulness.

Heads Up Strategies at Amicus is designed to give everyone a chance to savor the lemonade of successfully acquiring a job. In coming posts we will be taking a closer look at some of the helpful tips and ideas shared at Heads Up Strategies. More importantly, we hope to show you how to turn what can be an overwhelming experience into a concise manageable process.