Rehab launches you into a season of fresh starts. You make new friends, learn new techniques for stress management, and try new hobbies. For many residents of our program, graduation introduces another new chapter as well—finding a new job.
The right job is an opportunity to build your confidence, achieve a sense
of purpose, and structure your time. While too much leisure can lend itself to old habits and unhealthy relationships, gainful employment can propel you forward in your journey to recovery.
Of course, finding a job can be overwhelming for anyone, and especially if your addiction negatively affected your employment history, you may have anxiety about re-entering the workforce. To encourage you in this new chapter, we’ve compiled 10 tips for finding a job after rehab.
Read on to learn practical steps you can take to securing the position that’s right for you.
Reach out to your network
Maybe you’ve heard it said, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” This old adage often rings true when it comes to job hunting. Reach out to everyone in your network and let them know you’re looking for a new opportunity.
Family members, former teachers or coworkers, and friends who aren’t using drugs are all examples of people who may connect you to a future employer. LinkedIn can be a great tool for establishing and expanding your professional network in this season. This also provides a valuable opportunity to ask people to serve as a reference to your job applications.
Reflect on who you want to be
You likely practiced reflection quite a lot in rehab. Take some time now to be introspective and consider what you want to do. Do you want to re-enter a career field where you have experience or branch out into something new? Do you want to work part time or full time? What positions would be a good fit for your skills and experiences?
Your first job after rehab doesn’t have to be the one you’ll stay in for the rest of your life, but it should align with your interests and needs as much as possible. This will help you stay committed and
find satisfaction in your work.
Update your resume
Once you establish what sort of job you’d like to find, update your resume to highlight your relevant experience, education, and skills for potential employers.
If you’re not sure where to begin, try searching online for a template or advice specific to your industry. If you don’t yet have the qualifications for the job you want, you may consider continuing your
education by getting your GED, enrolling in college, applying for internships, or pursuing an apprenticeship opportunity.
Pound the pavement
Once you have your resume in hand, it’s time to start applying to
open positions. Online resources like LinkedIn, Monster, and Craigslist can be helpful in finding companies that are hiring. Brainstorm a list of companies you’d like to work for, then visit their websites to look for job openings.
If you don’t see any opportunities, try reaching out to someone in the organization via email or LinkedIn. Employers appreciate initiative
from those who show genuine interest in joining their company.
Use the resources available to you
There are several resources available to those who are searching for jobs
who have a history of addiction or criminal activity. America in Recovery
and the National HIRE Network offer resources and services for those looking to overcome their past and find gainful employment.
For more general resources, contact a local job center or register with a
temp agency. These resources all provide valuable opportunities to get your foot in the door and find long term work.
Be honest, but don’t feel pressured to overshare
If you have a criminal background, know that employers will find that information in your background check. Be upfront about your past and explain
that you have successfully completed rehab and are now sober. If you fail
to bring it up, employers may view you as dishonest and pass you over for
On the other hand, if you don’t have a criminal history, don’t feel pressured to bring up your past addiction. The law prohibits employers from asking about your substance abuse and discriminating against
you as a recovering addict, so don’t feel you have to volunteer too much personal information.
Consider starting your own business
Many recovering addicts go on to open their own businesses. If you can’t find a job that’s right for you, consider working for yourself.
You may provide a service to your local community, such as lawn care, handyman services, pet sitting, or photography. If you’re skilled on
the computer, you can freelance for clients around the world on sites like Upwork as a transcriptionist, virtual assistant, graphic designer, and more.
Don’t isolate yourself
Job searching is hard for everyone, so don’t be ashamed if you don’t land a job as quickly as you’d hoped. Instead of isolating yourself, open up to your mentor, sponsor, or a trusted friend. Don’t carry the emotional burden alone, as stress can be a trigger for renewed substance abuse. Lean on your network for support and advice throughout this season.
Be careful not to take a job in a place that will put you in a compromising position. Bars and restaurants that will put you in contact with alcohol can introduce unnecessary temptation. If you are recovering from an addiction to prescription medication, you may need to steer clear of the medical field.
You’ll also want to avoid working with people from your past who may influence you to use drugs and alcohol again. While you might be eager to solve your short-term problem of finding a job, don’t risk sacrificing your long-term goals of sobriety and health along the way.
Keep recovery a priority
During the job hunt and while adjusting to a new career, don’t let your recovery fall to the wayside. Continue meeting with your sponsor, attending local recovery meetings, and staying in touch with your counselor and friends from rehab. Don’t take a job that will leave no margin of time and energy for your continued pursuit of healing and sobriety.
Bonus tip: Take advantage of Hawaiian Island Recovery’s ongoing support.
Here at Hawaii Island Recovery, we consider our residents a permanent part of our family. Program Director Eliza Wille explains,
“When we make a commitment to a client, we see that through. We want their lives to become the success that they envision.
Through phone calls and ongoing messages, we’re here for clients for the long haul. That’s our commitment.”
If you need support throughout your job search and beyond, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at HIR.
We’re always available to help you however we can.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and in need of a fresh
start, contact us today at 866-491-8009.