For many people, changing jobs is a stressful experience that requires a great deal of time and effort. Looking for a job and securing a job offer does not need to be so difficult with access to the right resources. Whether you are the typical adult going through the job market or are part of a particular group of job seekers like veterans, applicants with a criminal record and job hunters with disabilities.
Additional career development and job search tools are available to specifically serve the population in need, such as members of employment groups that are considered to face particularly difficult obstacles in the job market. Both governmental and non-governmental organizations and companies have come together to offer these services, often within comprehensive networks of services that involve community and federal efforts.
No matter which group you are part of, there are a few steps you can take to prepare yourself in the best way possible for finding a suitable job and accepting the right position for you. Once a job seeker has settled on the right job position, submitted an application, gone through the interview process and been lucky enough to receive a job offer, it is time to take a moment to really reflect on your situation and the job in question. Understanding how to evaluate a job offer for value, cultural fit and more is an essential part of being competitive in the job market.
Keep reading to learn more information about important resources for job hunters who are veterans, have a criminal record or have a disability. Discover how to effectively evaluate a job offer to make sure it is in your best interest.
Programs to Help Veterans Find Jobs
Veterans face several unique obstacles when looking for work in the civilian world, especially if they have recently come back from a combat zone or other particularly traumatic experience. Many former military members have difficultly adjusting to juggling the typical obligations of having to cook, clean and take care of those other tedious daily tasks that are generally taken care of by the military when in service. The sudden autonomy as well as additional new responsibilities, like picking up and dropping off kids at school, is a stark difference from military life.
Beyond difficulties figuring out how to schedule their time, veterans often also often have trouble fitting into the average work culture found in the U.S. due to the focus on individualism and competition found in so many workplaces. These are two characteristics viewed as counterproductive to the success of the team and the overall big picture in the military. Due to the interconnectedness of many of the specific issues facing veteran job seekers, many programs offer comprehensive services that provide professional, personal and medical aid to vets in need.
There are dozens of programs in the United States that are dedicating to serving veterans of the armed forces in multiple ways. The federal government sponsors several of the most expansive collections of resources for veteran services in the country, including several web portals that are teeming with information to help veterans find work and CareerOneStop Veterans ReEmployment centers that help veterans within their own communities. Many of these federal programs are also open to providing assistance to family members of eligible veterans.
Beyond state groups, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private companies are also dedicated to supporting veterans of the United States armed forces. Some of these groups focus solely on the professional development and career prospects of veterans, while others provide groups of connected services to help veterans avoid homelessness, mental illness and other serious issues. Some organizations, like the Veterans of Foreign Wars group, caters specifically to a smaller sub-section of former servicemen and women. Former service personnel will find many job programs for veterans offer specialized help not available with civilian job search resources.
Programs to Help People with Disabilities Find Jobs
Another particularly at-risk group for unemployment and underemployment is job seekers with disabilities. Like veterans, this group faces its own set of particular challenges that sometimes requires applicants to make additional efforts in order to find an appropriate job. Millions of Americans with disabilities succeed at their jobs at capacity with the help accommodations made to the position to meet the worker’s unique needs.
Luckily, there are several federal and non-governmental organizations that work specifically with job seekers with disabilities. Most of these groups are dedicated to providing comprehensive social assistance to individuals with disabilities in addition to making serious social advocacy efforts at the community, state and national levels. Some of these are specialized job programs for disabled workers.
Job seekers with disabilities are usually eligible for special employment permissions when applying to federal jobs through the Schedule A Hiring Authority and other federal programs. National databases like USAJobs also have specific information and website features catering to people with disabilities. Many people with disabilities are also veterans or students, so multiple public and non-governmental organizations have been formed to specifically provide resources and support to these groups.
Students with disabilities may be interested in learning more about programs like Bridges to Work or RespectAbility – The National Leadership Program, initiatives that are dedicated to helping students with disabilities have full and prosperous future careers. Students with disabilities are often most interested in The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), a federal initiative that helps give otherwise disadvantaged students the opportunity to apply for jobs they may not otherwise have had access to.
Veterans with disabilities are another group that receives special attention, with several programs working to assist in them living with their difficulties and leading successful lives, both personally and professionally. For job seekers with disabilities who would like to open a company, dozens of organizations aim to help foster entrepreneurship in the veteran and disability communities.
Resources for Job Seekers with Criminal Records
With over 70 million Americans across the country dealing with a criminal past, it is a surprise that there are not hundreds of groups working towards securing the equal rights and access to professional opportunities for job seekers with criminal records as for the typical job applicant. Like veterans and individuals with disabilities, job applicants with a criminal record are often at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to competing for a position and face significantly higher unemployment rates than the general population on the whole.
Depending on where you live, your criminal record may be publically available with just a few clicks online to be easily searched for by any curious employer. According to U.S. law, employers have the right to run a criminal history check on you, with your explicit permission. If the employer chooses not to hire you due to something she found in your criminal record, then you can follow up and appeal the information if it is incorrect.
Job seekers with criminal records who are just transitioning from incarceration should first turn to their probation officer for important information concerning the employment requirements of the applicant’s legal case if applicable. A parole officer can also be an invaluable resource for information on employers in your community who are known to look favorably upon job applicants with a criminal record or at least who is currently hiring. Similar information may be found at your state unemployment office as well.
If you would like to work for an employer who is not sure that they can afford to take on the financial risk of hiring a formerly incarcerated person, then you can look into securing a federal bond. Federal bonds act as fiduciary bonds backed by the government that guarantees an employer’s investment in a new employee. Multiple web portals offer more information and online resources for individuals with a criminal record who are looking for a new job.
How to Evaluate a Job Offer
If you have received a job offer for a position you have worked towards getting, then it is something to celebrate but not something to accept immediately. While your first instinct may be to instantly accept a job offer if you are already excited about the position, the employer or its proposed salary and benefits package, it is a better idea to take a step back and carefully evaluate the job offer to confirm it is really what you are looking for.
This process begins by laying out your professional priorities and comparing that list to the pros and cons of your current job offer. Because you probably have more negotiating power at this point in your working relationship with the employer than you will any other time in the near future, you want to use your priority list as a guide to evaluate your job offer.
Every worker’s professional priority list is unique to their needs, expectations and hopes for the future. As most job hunters do initially, making sure the salary and overall benefits package in the proposed offer is up to par is an important first step. Reflecting on the employer’s company culture, your transit time to the new job, the amount of scheduling freedom allowed and several other considerations may have value for you on your priority list. Once you know what you want, do some more digging into the employer to make sure that they can offer you whatever they are promising and that you will not be given any unfortunate surprises, like learning that the company’s CEO was just arrested on fraud charges or some other criminal activity.