How to Present Your Employment History Through Your Resume With a Justice Involved History

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This article instructs and suggests styles and methods of creating a resume with gaps in employment due to a justice involved history, which then results in absence of employment/and educational history.

This information has been collated and recorded through several years of working inside our state facilities, as well as in the community setting with service providers, and other vendors providing supportive/life changing treatment, and supportive employment models. It is important that we begin by changing the language and cultural approach when discussing working with justice involved individuals.

When we start using different language to describe your legal history, we begin changing stereotypes. and we gain insights to normalize the past with the description of a mistake that has been appropriately corrected, and the follow up services to maintain stabilization for future performance.

The two models that we suggest in resume writing are identified as “functional and chronological style.”

The definition of a functional resume: The resume should begin with your name, city, email, and phone number. It’s not necessary to give your detailed address until they decide to hire you. This structure should start with an objective/summary statement, which informs them that you are sending your employment and educational history for review for interest in the position of __________. The functional structure speaks directly to the task and locations of the employment without employment dates.

The definition of a chronological resume: Use the same structure at the beginning of the resume that you do for the functional resume, including contact information as well as an objective/summary statement. In the chronological structure list:

Your present education/training with detailed descriptions and dates of completion. Present your employment history, with a short description of daily tasks, and provide employment dates.

The objective/summary statement:

This statement immediately targets your resume for every position that you apply for. It makes it clear to the recruiter what you are applying for. Finish the statement with: “I look forward to hearing from you when you begin your hiring process.”

The functional structure speaks directly to the task and location of the position, without dates of employment.

Remember that the more you target each resume, the more that you can focus on the tasks and daily functions without employment dates and history. This approach presents your work history, skills, and abilities right away. This helps set you up for your “PAAR statement” to the employer during the verbal interview.

The PAAR statement is a prepared statement and explanation in a short/non detailed version of what happens. It is mostly focused on the positive outcomes since the past, such as clearing up any fines, treatment that you attended to address life choices that may have led to a justice involved history. It also includes any self-development improvement, educational, and community supportive services that you took advantage of to increase the quality of your life.

I hope that this article is helpful to you in this process.


Guy Brown is an Offender Workforce Specialist with the State of Minnesota.

Combination resume example.

Last Updated on July 14, 2022

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