How to Find a Job After Drug Rehab
Recovery is about milestones: the first week without substances, the first breakthrough made in recovery, and the first time realizing recovery is possible.
One of the major milestones we all make in recovery is finding a job after drug rehab.
However, it can be difficult to find a job after drug rehab. Many people feel like they're under a stigma about addiction, and they don't know how to explain the gaps in their resumes. Or perhaps they had an ugly experience telling an employer about their decision to attend drug rehab. It's important to stay positive and remember that you are not alone.
Before You Start Searching
It's tempting to jump right into a job hunt, but there's a little bit of prep work you should do before you start firing off resumes.
The first thing you need to do is assess your skills and experience. Ask yourself some questions:
What are you good at?
What are your core skills?
Are you going to be searching for the same kind of jobs you had before rehab, or are you looking for something new?
What do you enjoy doing?
Does the job you're looking for require tech skills and are they up to date?
If you're not sure, there are a few ways to find out. You can take a career aptitude test or look at job postings online and see what kinds of qualifications they list. Once you have an idea of the kinds of jobs you might be qualified for, you can start searching for openings.
Something else to remember is to always read job postings closely.
Watch Those Job Postings Carefully
It can be surprisingly easy to get a picture of a company's culture by how the job posting is written. Also, it's perfectly okay to ask these questions during the interview.
Here are a number of things to either look for or ask about when weighing whether or not to apply for a job:
What's the salary, and is it competitive for the area you're living in?
Are there benefits included? Are they any good?
Is the job highly structured, or is there a degree of flexibility?
How’s the work-life balance?
Does the job posting have clear guidelines for what's expected of you?
There are two last things to consider before starting a job hunt. First, have a conversation with yourself about stress. Returning to employment can be pretty stressful, and if you're looking for a position that's different from what you had prior to drug rehab, you might be in for more stress than you expect.
Finally, ask yourself this: are you looking for a job, or a career? If it’s a career you’re in the market for, it’s important to think about where you might be a year, five years, or even a decade from now. Remember, many people continue working as they attend drug rehab, so don’t worry so much about having to choose between recovery and a job.
After engaging in a little bit of self-dialogue, it’s time to start the actual job hunt. Before you do, though, there’s something you need to know.
Two Giant Advantages Recovery Gives Us
Attending drug rehab is nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, it’s something to be proud of – you realized you needed to change something about yourself, put in the work to do so, and came out successful and happy.
Not only has this changed your life for the better, but it’s also given you two critical job skills that are often hard to find these days:
Decision making: You chose to seek help for addiction, live a life without addictive substances, and place your recovery above everything else. This was a great decision, and employers are always looking for employees who make great decisions.
Emotional intelligence: If you’re fresh out of drug rehab, you are likely far more in touch with yourself than most people. You know how to create and maintain healthy relationships, how to communicate well with others, and how to manage emotions. There are few people who know how to navigate the social structure of an office better than you. Make sure your interviewer understands that.
On to the hunt!
The Job Hunt: 5 Steps to Success
Nobody likes a job hunt (and if you do, what’s your secret?). However, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure your hunt goes well and is successful.
Step 1: Update Your Resume
Step one should always be updating your resume. If you have been in drug rehab, you may have gaps in your employment history. Be honest about these gaps and explain what you did during that time. For example, you can say something like, "I took some time off to focus on my recovery, but I am now ready to reenter the workforce." You don't need to go into too much detail about your drug addiction, but you should be honest about your employment history.
Don't get discouraged. A lot of people in the professional world have been through rehab or are close to someone who has. Instead of being dismissive, a recruiter or potential supervisor may view your time in drug rehab as a sign of your strong character, drive for self-improvement, and possessing social skills and experience that are stronger than people who've never been through addiction and treatment.
Step 2: Start Networking
Networking is something anyone who's looking for work needs to do. Talk to your friends and family and let them know that you are looking for a job. They may know someone who is hiring, or they may be able to put in a good word for you. You can also attend job fairs and introduce yourself to potential employers. It's important to make a good impression and to show them that you are motivated and excited about working again.
Websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor also offer opportunities to network with fellow job searchers. They're also great places to do research on a company you're looking for or the person you're going to be interviewing with. Plus, sometimes cold calling or sending a direct email can be a good way to get a foot in the door.
Also, consider making use of websites such as Reddit. There are multiple forums dedicated to job searches, with people who are in the same position.
Step 3: Use Whatever Resources You Have
You might be surprised at how many resources you may already have. Drug rehab may have taken you out of the regular world for a while, but chances are it gave you some very good tools to use in a job hunt.
Check to see if your drug rehab has any employment services. Many drug rehab centers offer services that can be really helpful for someone reentering the job market (or joining it for the first time). These services can include:
Ridesharing to interviews
A business clothing bank
Sometimes, just simple good advice is enough to get you back on your feet. Talk to your case managers, therapists, sober home managers, or even your friends in rehab. Odds are good at least one of them has great advice on how to search for, find, and keep a job.
Step 4: Prepare for Job Interviews
The third step is to prepare for job interviews. You may be nervous about how to explain your drug addiction and your time in rehab, but it's important to always be honest and open. Nothing turns off an employer faster than a candidate who seems deceptive. Let the employer know that you are committed to your recovery and that you are ready to work hard.
Be confident in yourself and remember that you have a lot to offer. Your experience has given you valuable insights, and if you're fresh out of rehab you're likely more disciplined in ways a lot of people aren't.
Step 5: Remember Self-Care
As we said, nobody really enjoys the job hunt. Too often, it’s frustrating and stressful. Frustration and stress are things nobody needs, but for us in recovery, these moods can be triggers for relapse.
We won’t tell you it’s possible to avoid being frustrated and feeling stressed as you search for a job. They’re inevitable. What we will tell you to do is try to minimize them. How?
First, keep in touch with yourself. Are you feeling stressed? If yes, take a break. Put the job hunt away for an hour or so and do something positive for yourself, even if you're only walking around the block.
Secondly, make sure you’re not beating yourself up. Make sure your expectations and demands are realistic – unrealistic goals are a surefire way to experience burnout.
Finally, make sure you’re taking advantage of all the resources you might have. Those resources include anyone who can make you feel better about yourself.
As we’ve said, a job hunt is a challenge. While these five steps probably won’t create any miracles for you, they will make sure you’re mentally healthy … and strong in recovery as you search for a new job. It’s all about managing real life while maintaining recovery.
Stay positive – in recovery, your future isn’t always easy, but it’s bright.
The Edge Treatment Center Prepares You for Life After Drug Rehab
We know how hard it is to find work. At The Edge Treatment Center, we offer a flexible schedule that will work with you as you look for – and find – a job to call your own. Most of the people under our care go to work and hold down careers while with us.
If you’re looking for long-term outpatient rehab care, there’s simply no better choice. We’ll help you leave addiction and substance abuse behind, and thrive in a new, meaningful life.
A happier life can be yours now. Contact The Edge Treatment Center today!