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Common Jobs for Newly Released

The first job you get might not be what you want, but there are many benefits to working in a "transition job."

Finding a job is an important part of transition after incarceration. Ideally, you will find a job that matches your skills and interests. The reality is that the first jobs many newly released ex-offenders find do not match their desired careers.

Transition Jobs

Think of your first few jobs after release as "transition jobs" that help you become financially stable and move up into a career that you enjoy.

These jobs might have low pay or not relate to your long-term career goals. That's OK.

In addition to a paycheck, there are benefits to working in a transition job:

  • A chance to prove you are dependable and self-reliant
  • An employment history that can help you find better jobs later
  • Time to learn about different ways of thinking and doing things
  • A feeling of pride and accomplishment

Employment could be a condition of your supervised prison release, so taking any job is better than not working. This does not mean that you have to keep working in a job you don't like.

Starting a Career

When you are ready to Explore Careers, and find work that fits you better, use the chart below to think about how a transition job or other entry-level position can lead to a higher-paying and long-term career.

If you see a position that interests you, click on the link to read more. Be sure you read about that job’s Work Activities. That section describes the “essential functions” of the job.  To be qualified for that job, you must be able to perform the essential functions.

People with disabilities may be qualified for a job if you can do the essential functions with “reasonable accommodations,” like using special software, equipment, or a different workspace. An employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations if you disclose or tell them about your disability.

A job coach can help a person with disabilities and other job seekers to understand the essential functions and the reasonable accommodations for many jobs.

The careers listed on this page are just a few of your options. If you work hard, make good choices, build your network and get additional training, you will have even more options.

Entry Level 1st Step Ahead Next Step Ahead
Restaurant & Food Service Food Preparation Worker Short Order Cook Chef and Head Cook
Warehouse Operations Freight and Stock Laborer Transportation Attendant Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager
Information Support Customer Service Representative Computer User Support Specialist Network and Computer Systems Administrator
Construction Construction Laborer Roofer Carpenter
Mobile Maintenance Tire Repairer and Changer Automotive Body Repairer Automotive Service Technician and Mechanic
Production Team Assembler Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operator Industrial Production Manager


Before you apply for these or other positions, check with your Supervised Release Officer or Parole Officer (PO) to find out if there are any restrictions to the type of work you can do or where you can work.

Also, talk to a job coach to help you make a career plan. Then let your PO know your goals.

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