You can’t change the past, but you can make for a better future. We are born who are and have no control over the events of our childhood, the bad decisions we made as an adult, or the hard times that are currently upon us. The best we can do is try to move forward. As ideal as that may be, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. This sentiment is especially true when it comes to looking for a job.
Everybody deserves a second chance. In some cases (such as LGBTQ youth or children of high-risk families), people are looking for their first chance. Unfortunately, in a society that claims to love success stories, decision makers make these happy endings a little harder to come by.
As you have learned in your journey to sobriety, nothing worth having is easy. To achieve your goals, you might need a little help from your support system. Here are some tips when looking for a job after rehab.
Don’t Discuss Your Recovery Immediately
While you will always be an addict, you shouldn’t let your addiction define you. When you put your resume together, there might be a lapse in employment. Taking time to care for yourself doesn’t mean you’re not qualified for the job. It means you’re a responsible person who is ready to get back to being a productive member of society.
Inevitably, the person interviewing you will ask about that employment gap. Specifics are none of their business. Explain you had a medical emergency that put you out of the work field. From there, shift to the positives. Deflect the gap and bring up your strengths and how you can apply them to the position.
Some people may have a criminal record or have been fired in the past for substance abuse issues. If you are asked about these situations, then you should tell the truth. Explain to them that you sought out help, and you are on the road to recovery. Bring up your strengths and show an eagerness to do whatever it takes to show you are committed to the job.
Write Out a Response
Speaking about your past can be difficult. Therefore, anticipating a response to a criminal record is a great way to work out your jitters. You don’t need to write out a rebuttal word-for-word. If anything, it will look like you are an actor, memorizing lines. However, you should create bullet points and a couple of key ideas you want to present.
Come up with a line or two owning up to your past mistakes. Transition that to what you learned from the old you during recovery. Bring up the person you were before your illness got the best of you. Say you have reconnected with that person and explain the strengths they had. Lastly, go in detail about how those strengths will make you the right candidate for the job today.
Be Okay With You
Starting over is tough. You might get your fair share of rejections. Learn from each process. Think about how you handled the questions in the interview and what you might do differently. Apply those little changes to each interview going forward.
Don’t take this rejection personally. It doesn’t mean you’re not talented or that you’re a bad person. There a lot of people who haven’t been through what you have, and that scares them. Keep holding your head high and don’t relapse. If you are feeling vulnerable, please reach out to your sponsor.