Early recovery is challenging, but it’s also a time of growth and exhilaration as you rediscover the joys of life without drugs or alcohol and work to restore your life. For many, a major goal in recovery is to find a job after addiction treatment.
Employment is an important factor in successful long-term abstinence.1 Stable employment offers a range of benefits for people in recovery, including:
- Filling your time with productive pursuits
- Reducing stress related to finances
- Providing the opportunity to develop healthy relationships
- Improving your self-esteem and self-worth
- Giving your life purpose and meaning
How to Find a Job After Addiction Treatment
Many factors come into play when you’re looking for a job or being considered for employment, including your experience, training and education, skills, employment history and your connections in the community. Here are some tips to help you find a job after addiction treatment.
Decide What Type of Employment You Want
Write down your personal goals and strengths to help you brainstorm the types of jobs you should look for. If you love animals, look for a job at the local shelter, a vet clinic or a pet store. If your goal is to help people, consider customer service or retail jobs or employment with a social or government agency. Make a list of a few types of jobs you think you’d enjoy, and then do some research to determine where those jobs are in your community.
Create a Stellar Resume
Your resume is your first contact with an employer, and it should be professional, error-free and accurate. If you don’t know how to create a resume, do some online research or find a friend or family member who can help you. Professional resume writers can help you create an excellent resume for a fee. Once your resume is complete, make plenty of copies on high-quality resume paper so that you have them on hand when a job you want opens up.
When you’re trying to find a job after addiction treatment, you don’t have to come right out and tell a potential employer that you’re in recovery. However, it is crucial to tell the truth if the topic comes up or if you have a history of legal or employment problems stemming from your addiction. If you want to be up front and explain your situation right off the bat, do so simply and matter-of-factly, without going into sordid details. Simply say that you struggled with addiction, went to treatment and are now successful in your recovery.
Throughout your job search, it’s important to know your rights concerning discrimination. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a publication clearly outlining your rights.2
Network for Opportunities
If you know someone who works in the field you’re interested in, ask for some tips on breaking into that industry. Talk to friends, family members and your social media groups for ideas about who might be hiring, and ask them to put a good word in for you if they have connections that you don’t.
Keep an open mind. You may not find your dream job right off the bat, but getting a foot in the door through a less-desirable job is a good investment in your future.
The internet is a great resource for finding employment. Look on Craigslist, city and state job boards, Monster and other employment sites, or go directly to the websites of places you’d like to work. Many offer tips on getting hired, and some even let you apply online.
Consider Vocational Training or Continuing Education
If you’re lacking the job skills you need to find the kind of employment you want, you can gain them through vocational training or by returning to school. Talk to your aftercare counselor about educational opportunities and brush up on your skills to make yourself more employable.
Don’t Give Up Hope
It may take a little time, but the diligence and dedication you put in to find a job after addiction treatment will pay off eventually. Keep applying, keep networking and stay positive. Once you find a job, engage yourself fully when you’re at work, and always be on the lookout for advancement opportunities to avoid stagnating and to help you realize your full potential.