Register for Upcoming Class Sessions today: Seattle Goodwill’s next class sessions run from March 16 - May 7. Check out programs offered and then call your local Job Training & Education Center for registration information.
Looking for work can be a full-time job. If you have a past conviction history you’ll need to do some extra preparation. It’s more work, but it will help make your job search successful.
1.) Get your background check.
Knowing what is on your background is extremely important to the success of your job search. To request a background check:
- In Washington state - W.A.T.C.H. (Washington Access to Criminal History)
- Outside of Washington state - Contact that state’s government department
- If offense(s) were committed at the Federal level, contact the FBI
2.) Know how to talk about your past.
Develop a conviction history speech to present in interviews. It will also be helpful to you if you are looking for housing. Seattle Goodwill offers workshops at select centers for developing a conviction history speech.
3.) Develop a resume that complements your job experience.
If you were formally incarcerated and worked, this experience should be portrayed on your resume as past work experience.
4.) Research Washington state bonding programs.
The Washington state bonding program provides individual fidelity bonds, at no cost to workers who are (or may be) denied coverage by commercial carriers. This is free insurance for employers.
5.) Know how to fill out an application.
If you are applying for work outside of the Seattle area you may be asked about your conviction history. When filling out an application your best approach is to state, “will discuss at time of interview,” or, “will be happy to share my story at time of interview.” It’s important to remember this is your personal story to share during your interview.
City of Seattle residents: Remember that the Seattle Job Assistance Ordinance limits questions employers can ask about conviction and arrest histories until after initial screening has been conducted. Know your rights and be prepared.
Seattle Goodwill is here to help you prepare and succeed in finding and securing work.
Sometimes the process of job-hunting can be discouraging. Shanna understands this all too well. She was unemployed for four years before coming to the Bellingham Goodwill Job Training and Education Center.
Shana was laid off when the company she worked for closed its doors. She was invited by her sister to move to Bellingham to live with family and join resources, but the job search proved fruitless. For the first time in her life, Shanna began receiving public assistance to help makes ends meet.
“Before I started Goodwill classes I had applied to every job I could for over a year, spending close to 40 hours a week in the library. My confidence was at an all-time low,” she said. Shanna became discouraged. She was not even hearing back for interviews on jobs that directly related to her college degree. “That’s when I enrolled at Goodwill,” Shanna explained.
Shanna gained skills in Goodwill’s classes and worked closely with Employment Specialist Cathie Haag to revamp her resume and build her confidence. They even went shopping at Goodwill and put together some appropriate outfits for Shanna to wear at interviews.
“She couldn’t see how great she looked until she saw herself through my eyes. She was trying to hide herself when what she needed to do was highlight her new, more professional image.” Cathie explained.
Shanna continued to build her poise by creating and practicing a 60-second commercial about her skills, and learning how to project confident body-language in interviews.
When the day of the job fair arrived, Shanna was feeling hopeful for the first time since losing her job. She delivered her commercial with pride and interviewed the employers as well – looking for a company that would be a good fit. She also followed up with the employers after the event.
Her hard work paid off when she received a call for an interview, and was eventually offered a fulltime, good paying position with benefits.
Goodwill supports job seekers’ efforts through skill building classes, and one-on-one support from Employment Specialists like Cathie so that students like Shanna have the tools, skills, and confidence they need to achieve their goals.
Job fair season is coming up and with it the opportunity to make face-to-face connections with employers. Getting ready is easy. Check out these tips to make the most of your next job fair:
Have a Plan. Research the job fair. Knowing which employers are participating and what job openings they have will help you prioritize. Knowing about the employer also helps you make a strong first impression. Imagine how much more of an impact you’ll make when the recruiter hears you talking about their company, instead of waiting for them to explain to you what they do.
Be Ready. Bring plenty of resumes. Make sure your resume is error-free - no typos, formatting issues or crumpled paper. Remember to prepare and bring copies of other important documents such as a cover letter, references, letters of recommendation, or any certificates of completion.
Dress for Success. Dress as if you are going to an interview. Plan to present yourself professionally and confidently. You only have once chance to impress employers, make it count! Attend a Goodwill Dress for Success Workshop to hone your winning look before the event.
Network. Go around the room to see which employers are there. Use your 60-second commercial to tell employers who you are. Focus on your skills, experience and education. Employers are meeting hundreds of candidates, so show your enthusiasm to set yourself apart.
Follow Up. Get business cards and follow up with those employers. Send a thank you email message. Apply online for the job(s) you are interested in. Follow up with the recruiter afterwards by emailing your resume and cover letter.
Goodwill can help you make the most of your job fair experience. Our workshops can help you learn how to:
- Build a great resume
- Prep for an interview
- Dress for success
- Build your skills
- Get all your documents in order at an open lab
Seattle Goodwill’s Retail and Customer Service program is a nine-week intensive geared toward individuals with significant barriers to employment who want to work in a Retail or Customer Service environment. The program combines seven weeks of in-class instruction with two weeks of on-the-job training in a Seattle Goodwill Retail Store. Students gain the necessary knowledge and skills to obtain entry-level Retail or Customer Service employment with the goal of securing work within 30 days of graduating. The program focuses on five main areas:
- Retail Customer Service
- Workplace 101
- Life Skills
- Job Search
The curriculum combines hard skills, like cashiering and soft skills, like dealing with difficult customers. Training emphasizes building teamwork skills, public speaking and role-playing specific workplace situations.
“We want to place the students in a position where they can succeed,” says Instructor J.C Maxie. “We push the trainees to get outside of their comfort zone and we challenge them to grow each week.”
In addition to classroom work, instructors assist students in creating short-and long-term goals. They help students create a job search plan, effective resumes, strong cover letters and a job reference list. Case managers are available to provide support and guidance to assist in reducing barriers and meeting basic needs in order to achieve goals.
Students also have the opportunity to practice interviewing skills with volunteers from local businesses like Bank of America, Four Seasons Hotels and Nordstrom in mock interviews.
Once the students are equipped with skills from the training, the session finishes with intensive work applying for jobs, preparing for interviews. Goodwill also hosts an event for employers in our region to talk to students about open positions. By the end of the nine-week program, students have built themselves into competitive, job-ready candidates for retail and customer service positions.
Classes and schedules vary by location. For more information or to learn how to register for a class, click on one of these Job Training & Education centers: Seattle, Shoreline or Silverdale.