Employment Tips

Ask yourself the following questions and write your answers down:

  1. What Short-Term Goals would I like to accomplish?
  2. What are my Long-Term Goals?
  3. What are my Work Preferences? (For example: working with others, following directions or directing others, doing mental or physical work)
  4. What Environment would I like to work in?
  5. What are my Financial Objectives?
  6. Where would I prefer to live?
  7. What are my Limitations? (For example: Willingness to relocate, health
    considerations, salary requirements, educational and training requirements)
  8. What do I like to do most? What am I interested in? What am I best at doing? What type of work would give me the most self-satisfaction?

Write Down Your Answers and Consider Them Carefully.
They will help you decide what occupations might be most satisfying for you.
They will be helpful when you write your resume or discuss your goals in a job

REMEMBER: Answering these questions will take time and you should realize that you’re developing a “game plan” for your future. After you have developed your own game plan, you will need to read it daily and revise it about every two months, remembering to check off those goals you have reached and add the new ones you have developed.

By reading your game plan daily, and revising it regularly, you will stay focused. It has been established that only 2% of the people in the world are financially stable when they reach retirement age and only 2% of the world’s population have written down their individual game plans. Having goals and direction makes you more marketable (employable). Take the time to make this game plan for yourself.

If you are married, include your wife and children in the process. This way
you will be working together in planning your future and in reaching the goals that are important to you and your family.

Match your needs and skills with occupational descriptions to determine the
fields for which you are best suited.


"I want to become an ____________. I have good organizational abilities. I am good at solving problems."

"I like facts, figures, and details. I organized a community charity."

  • How much is required?
  • How can I get more training?
  • Do I need more education?
  • How will I get it?
  • Get more, if needed?
  • Will I be paid for on-the-job training?
  • How much would it cost? Is financial aid available?"

If you need more preparation for the job you want, you can acquire the needed skills/knowledge through:

  1. COURSES: high school, college (community, technical, etc.), special schools (secretarial, computer, commercial, etc.), adult education. Remember: PRIDE has a program to help former workers with educational assistance after they have been released. Stay in contact with PRIDE at 800-982-8812.
  2. APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS: on-the-job training, work-study programs, etc.
  3. CAREER TRAINING PROGRAMS: provided free or at low cost by many
    companies and the military.
  4. JOB RELATED COURSES: some employers will pay for these.

For advice about where to go and how to pay for needed education / training, talk with career counselors and/or financial aid officers at college / vo-tech centers, teachers, business people, and PRIDE 1-800-982-8812.

Ask yourself the following questions and write your answers down so you can
refer to them during an interview:

  1. What kinds of work have I already done?
  2. What skills have I acquired from these previous job experiences?
  3. What skills have I acquired from other experiences? (Hobbies, sports,
    community work, etc.)
  4. What skills have I learned at school or through training?
  5. What special talents do I have?
  6. What achievements do I feel I’ve made thus far? (include certificates attained from training, awards, etc.)
  7. What general abilities do I have? (For example: the ability to solve problems, direct others, or organize)

Make a detailed list to organize your thoughts and help you prepare for a job
interview. Add to the list as you obtain new skills, develop new talents, or reach

If you need help, talk to employment counselors, business acquaintances, family
members, friends, and/or former co-workers. They can help you make your list.

REMEMBER: By working on this sheet you are better prepared to answer this
question: “Why should I hire you for the position?’


  1. Contact the PRIDE office. They have a person assigned to specifically assist
    individuals who have been incarcerated.
  2. Use the YELLOW PAGES of the telephone directory and check for business and/or industries, etc., then make a personal visit to see if they are accepting applications.
  3. Review the WANT ADS in the local newspaper. Also, skim the articles, promotion section, etc. for possible job leads.
  4. Prior to and after release, check with relatives, friends, neighbors, church
    members, former employers, supervisors, and/or co-workers, etc. and ask them to aid you in your search. If they know what you are looking for you might be surprised at the suggestions and assistance they may be able to give you.
  5. Check with city and county governments’ personnel departments.
  6. Contact the local Chamber of Commerce for a business directory.
  7. Visit the libraries and check magazines and professional journals for possible job leads.
  8. Check with professional associations (unions).
  9. Listen to the radio and t.v. job announcements for possible ads.
  10. Contact business / company personnel departments.
  11. College and university placement offices.
  12. Private and/or state employment agencies.
  13. Federal job information services.
  14. Directories:
    American State Directories – Florida Business Directory (lists all
    businesses in the state).
    Contacts Influential – Tampa, Orlando, Sarasota County, Manatee
    County, Polk County, and Pasco County.
    Directory of Florida Industries – lists thousands of industrial companies.
    Directory of Industries – lists industries in Tampa and the Tampa
    Metropolitan area.
    Florida Business Guide and Florida Industries Guide.
    Florida Manufacturers Register – lists 13,000 Florida manufacturers.
  15. Florida Government Employment Offices

Applications are often used as a tool for screening applicants for hire. It is not always possible to bypass that system. Whether used as a screening device or as a source of information the application needs to be filled out as though the applicant’s future depended upon it. Most employers use an application as the first step in their screening process and therefore, time needs to be taken by the applicant to complete an application correctly.

  1. CREATE A MASTER APPLICATION: Information you should have with you is your Social Security number, driver’s license number, names, addresses, and phone numbers of references (insure you have contacted and received the consent of the person(s) you wish to use as a reference); hire and termination dates for previous employment. It is much easier for you to itemize a master application form than try to remember all of the information.
  2. CHECK THE APPLICATION OVER: Read the employment application
    completely before filling it out. Knowing the order in which the information is to be provided can assist the applicant in completing the application appropriately.
  3. BEWARE OF THE FINE PRINT: On many employment applications, there
    are directions in fine print under some of the block headings, such as “complete in your own handwriting”, “please print”, or “put first or last name first”. Care in following these directions is essential as it indicates to many employers your ability to read and follow instructions.
  4. COMPLETE THE FORM: You should copy information from your master
    application and take the time to make it look exceptionally neat and well
  5. THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES MADE ON APPLICATIONS: Completing an application in pencil. Use a black ink pen because it makes it easier to read (and be copied, if necessary). Erasable pens are great for this. Stating under employment position desired “Open”. You need to state the specific position you are applying for and spell it correctly. Stating an unrealistic amount under “Salary Desired”. Rather than provide information that can “screen out” your application, instead write “negotiable” or “open” in this section. Inadequate information on a former employment section. Example: if you were a machinist, list the exact machines you used. Making errors or omissions. Read the application all the way through, word for word, to catch possible mistakes. Failure to sign the application form when it is fully completed.


  1. Bring a pen and notebook with you to the interview. The notebook should be small enough to fit into a pocket so that you don’t walk into the interview with it in your hand. The interviewer may give you some information for you to write down. If you’re prepared with your own writing material, it will save him/her from trying to find something for you during the interview.
  2. Immediately after the interview, write down what occurred. If you have
    many different interviews, your notes of each will help your recall and aid
    you in making a choice of jobs, should that become necessary. Do not make notes during the interview unless the interviewer asks you to write something down.
  3. Remember the interviewer’s name. There is possibly no sweeter sound to the human ear than the sound of one’s own name. If you don’t know the interviewer’s name prior to the interview, concentrate on it when introduced and repeat it immediately like, “How do you do, Mrs. Smith?”. Then repeat the name a couple of times during the first part of the interview. This repetition will help you to remember the name.
  4. Research the employer. Job placement offices should have substantial
    information on the companies that interview.
  5. Dress to your advantage. Your clothes should be fresh, clean, and pressed. Your colors and patterns should blend. Your appearance most of the time helps make a prospective employer decide whether to employ you or not.
  6. Be confident. The main subject of the interview is you. Who knows more about you than you?
  7. Take your time when answering difficult questions. Asking for clarification
    gives you time to think about your answer while the interviewer is clearing
    up any uncertainty. But don’t worry about a few seconds of silence while you think about your reply. The interviewer has set aside time to talk with you, so a few seconds formulating your thoughts will not be resented, they will probably be noted with approval.
  8. Take advantage of the services available to you. The PRIDE job placement office has expertise to offer you, so use it!

Are you realistic? Are you too cheap or too expensive?
Generally, you want to avoid stating your pay desires until the employer
offers you the job. This way you know the employer wants you and you can be worth more. Also, you may bid too high or too low. If you do not know what pay is average for the job, then call your local state employment agency. Below is a little advice for the different stages of the interview:

What do you expect for a starting wage or salary?
Dodge the question and let the employer name an amount first.

“I ask that you pay me what I’m worth. I know you have a reputation for being fair. What is the starting range for people with my background and experience?”

“I am looking for maximum opportunity. To me, that means a fair wage and also a good opportunity to do the kind of work I do best. Can you tell me the pay range you had in mind?”

If the employer mentions an amount, don't be cheap. Agree to the upper end.

EMPLOYER: “We would start people with your background out between $5.00 to $7.00 an hour.”

JOB SEEKER: “Six to eight dollars is what I had in mind.”
(You chose a range in the middle to just over the employer’s figure.)

Don’t give an exact figure, give a range. Say something like: “I was thinking
in the range of _______ to _______, but I am considering other interview
opportunities. I want to decide on the one that is best for my abilities and the
company’s needs.”

Always accept first. This shifts the power to you. Then go home and think
about it. Call up other employers you think you might get an offer from. Ask
them if they can match that wage or improve upon it. Then call back the
employer with the low offer and say: “ I have been thinking about your offer
and realize I was paid more in my previous job. I want to sit down and take a
serious look at my budget. Can I call you back in a day?” - OR - “I could
accept the position if it paid a little more. I think I may be getting more offers
(wait to see what they say) but I could accept this position if a raise were part
of a satisfactory job interview within the first six months.”

Most job applicants think that their role in the job interview is to ask question.
That is only half-right. Employers will expect you to ask questions during the
interview as well as answer them.

The questions will be phrased differently but most employers will ask basically
the same thing:

  • How are you today?
  • Tell me a little about yourself.
  • What are your plans for the future?
  • What did you learn in school that will help you here?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Tell me about other jobs you’ve had.
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What do you know about our company?

What should you ask the employer and when should you ask? The job
interview should be a two-way exchange of information. Just as the employer
needs to find out about you, you need to find out about the company and the
job. A successful interview sounds like a conversation – not a question and
answer session. Don’t wait until employers ask if you have any questions,
sometimes they don’t ask. You should ask questions anytime you want to
clarify something or you want information.


  1. How did you find out about this job?
  2. Why do you want to work for us?
  3. Tell me about yourself?
  4. What motivates you on the job?
  5. What do you know about this company?
  6. What do you expect to be doing five years from now?
  7. What type of boss do you prefer?
  8. What types of people don’t you like?
  9. How would you handle a difficult fellow employee?
  10. Do you prefer working by yourself or with others?
  11. Are you willing to travel on the job?
  12. Are you willing to re-locate?
  13. Why did you leave your last job?
  14. How well do you work under pressure?
  15. Why do you think you would like this particular job?
  16. What is your greatest strength? Weakness?
  17. Can you take constructive criticism without feeling upset?
  18. What do you think it takes to be successful in a company such as ours?
  19. What type of salary do you expect?
  20. Which is more important: the money or the job?
  21. Could you get recommendations from previous employers?
  22. How do you feel about your last job?
  23. What have you learned from your mistakes?
  24. How did your previous employers treat you?
  25. What is your understanding about the nature of this job?
  26. What do you feel would be the most satisfying part of this job?
  27. What do you feel would be the least satisfying part of this job?
  28. If you created your ideal job, what job would you create?
  29. What did you like the most or least about your previous job?
  30. Why should I hire you?
  31. In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our company?
  32. How do you think a friend or past employer who knows you would
    describe you?


  1. Poor personal appearance.
  2. Lack of interest and/or enthusiasm.
  3. Nervousness, lack of confidence and poise.
  4. Unwilling to start at the bottom.
  5. Lack of tact and courtesy.
  6. Condemns past employers.
  7. Fails to look the interviewer in the eye.
  8. No genuine interests in the company or the job.
  9. Sloppy application form.
  10. Arrives late at the interview.


  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Have a sense of responsibility.
  • Be punctual.
  • Know the expectations of the company.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Observe those in higher level positions.
  • Keep personal and work issues separate. Try to leave your personal
    problems at home.
  • Communicate effectively. Learn to be a great listener, too.
  • Develop a working relationship with co-workers. Make this relationship a
    professional one.
  • Be productive.