You finished addiction treatment and you are ready to get back to your adult responsibilities and a normal life. However, you are nervous about finding a job. In fact, you are probably full of questions – Will I be able to find a job? Will they ask me about my addiction or treatment? What will I say about my lapse in employment? Will I successfully handle the stress work brings? Will I effectively juggle employment and support groups?
These are just a sample of the many legitimate questions you likely have. It may take some time, patience, and dedication, but it is possible to find employment and remain successfully sober. The following are a few tips for securing employment after treatment:
Know your rights
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has prepared a brochure so you know your rights. There are federal laws that protect you from being discriminated against by a potential employer due to your substance abuse treatment. These laws fall under the:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Fair Housing Act (FHA)
- Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
Make sure you do your research and know how these laws protect you.
Prepare your resume
Your whole life has not and does not revolve around treatment. Before you went for treatment, you likely had a work history. You have also acquired many skills throughout your life – some maybe while you were getting treatment! These are all important and need to be added to your resume. Let your potential employer know that you are qualified and capable to handle the job at hand.
Not sure how to write a resume? Treatment facilities may aid in resume writing. Another option is to check out templates online. A simple Google search can give you a plethora of information about resumes. These are the key points every resume should have:
- A summary about yourself. Make sure you touch on your qualifications and your strengths.
- A brief history of your prior employment or, if that is extensive, then a list of your professional skills.
- Relevant experience is important. Show potential employers that you have “been there, done that” before.
- If you have any specific skills, training, education, certifications, etc. – you will want to be sure to add that.
Prepare your resume for the line of work you are looking for.
Use networking to your advantage
When you think of searching for employment, you likely turn to the local newspaper or websites such as Craigslist, Monster, or Indeed. These are great access points, but they do get a lot of traffic. Many people are more successful finding employment by using their networking skills.
Reach out to old employment connections or even friends and family. While they may not be hiring, they may know someone who is. Explain what you are looking for, what your qualifications are, etc. The bonus to this type of job hunting is you have a personal connection – someone who can vouch for your character. That is what can sometimes catapult you into positions you may not have otherwise been able to obtain.
So, yes, you can formally apply for jobs and then sit and wait for a response that may or may not come. Or, you can reach out to those connections you do have and see what can happen just by word of mouth alone!
Don’t disregard a temp agency
If you are down on your luck and feeling that you aren’t securing employment fast enough, don’t hesitate to check out temp agencies. Many people tend to shy away from these agencies and, for some reason, they tend to carry a sort of stigma.
The truth is, when you need employment and are struggling to find it, temp agencies can help you get your foot in the door for a more permanent position.
Increase training or education
Enjoying what you do can increase the quality of your life. If you have the opportunity, why not work toward obtaining your degree or a certification that will allow you to do something you actually want to do? If you have the time during or after treatment, seek out a program that will allow you to gain the knowledge and skills necessary.
It may seem like an overwhelming task, but there are a lot of programs that can train you and even help you secure employment upon completion. For example, jobs in the medical field, the legal field, or even esthetics or cosmetology.
Keep your chin up
Whatever you do, remain positive. For anyone, finding a job can take a toll on one’s spirit. However, for someone who is fresh out of treatment and in the world of sobriety, this task can be extra stressful. Use the coping skills you have learned in treatment to help you remain calm.
- Look for the positive in negative situations. For example, it is taking a bit longer than you thought to find a job – you can work and you are capable of doing a job. That is a lot more than some people have.
- Continue with your treatment and support groups. Even if you find a job that will interfere with the time of your scheduled groups, make a point to rearrange them. Remember – you will remain in recovery and need the support to help ensure your sobriety.
- Until you find a job, volunteer. Idle time is never good for anyone. And, volunteering is good for everyone. Therefore, if you find yourself struggling to secure employment, then find a volunteer position to soak up that idle time. Volunteering will give you purpose and allow you a time to spread positivity and joy to others which, in turn, comes right back to you!
Finding employment is hard for everyone – whether fresh out of treatment or not. So, it is important to make sure you have taken the necessary steps to get the ball rolling. Prepare your resume, reach out to your network of individuals, and pass on a smile. The job may not come today or tomorrow, but it will come when you are ready.