Employment Resources for People in Recovery - Real Recovery
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Place Recovery First and Everything Else Will Work Out

Employment Resources
for People in Recovery in Tampa

Employment Resources for People in Recovery in Tampa

Get Sober. Find a Better Job. Do Awesome S#¡t in Recovery.

Getting sober is challenging enough. Starting your journey in recovery, and you need to hit the job market—nerve-wracking. Take a deep breath. Many of us arrived at Real Recovery and for one reason or another, we needed to find a new job. Finding a new job in recovery can be challenging but not impossible. We’ve created some helpful steps and tips to help you find a better job in sobriety.

First things first, know that if you stay sober and make a sincere effort… you will be fine. We pulled together some helpful places to look, tips, and resources to help you get a new job quickly.

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Tips If You Find Yourself
Unemployed in Early Recovery

Step 1 – Find Out if You Qualify for Unemployment Benefits

If you’ve been employed in the last year, we recommend that you go to Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity website (FloridaJobs.org) to apply for unemployment benefits while you search for a new position. Keep in mind there are eligibility requirements you’ll need to meet to receive unemployment benefits.

Be sure to file as quickly as possible. Florida’s DOE is understaffed and has been struggling to keep up with demand since the Coronavirus pandemic started. From our experience, it can take between two and four weeks for your claim to receive benefits even if you follow the process perfectly or respond to any fact-finding requests promptly.

Step 2 – Check If You’re Eligible for Florida’s Food Assistance Program

Keep in mind that while living at Real Recovery, you are considered a resident living in “transitional housing.” This means that by federal definition, residents are considered “homeless.” Sure, it’s not an attractive label but let’s focus on the benefits. What this means is that you can receive emergency priority to receive food assistance through Florida’s SNAP program (food stamps). So if money is tight, we recommend swallowing your pride and checking to see if you meet the eligibility requirements for food assistance.

Step 3 – Leverage Your Residential Status and Attend College Tuition-Free

Real Recovery works with St. Petersburg College and The University of South Florida to help residents take advantage of Florida’s Educational Scholarships, Fees, and Financial Assistance fee exemption statute. This is more commonly referred to as a “tuition waiver”, “homeless fee exemption” or “homeless tuition waiver” program.

We cover this in greater detail on our education opportunities resource page but essentially because Real Recovery Sober Living is considered transitional housing, most residents can qualify to attend public colleges or universities at no-/low-cost. The exemption covers tuition and access fees like entrance exams. However, the exemption does not cover the cost of textbooks, living expenses, or other related items like a laptop.

This is one of the most underutilized benefits of living at Real Recovery. There’s virtually no excuse for residents to not take the opportunity to attend a few classes, get a certificate, or finish a degree.

Step 4 – Get Connected with CareerSource

CareerSource Florida is the statewide workforce policy and investment board. CareerSource partners include the Department of Economic Opportunity, 24 local workforce development boards, and 100 career centers throughout Florida. The job-hunting specialists at CareerSource can help you connect with businesses looking for new talent, as well as help you find no-cost or low-cost training opportunities you need to succeed and grow in today’s demanding job market.

CareerSource offers a full range of career planning services for professional and entry-level candidates, including career orientation; turnkey resource centers that assist in the candidate’s job search; career fairs; interviewing techniques; labor market information specific to occupations and industries in demand as well as resume building tips, salary, and wage information and more; and professional networking.

CareerSource Centers Near Real Recovery’s Communities

Step 5 – Network in Recovery and Use Your Existing Connections

You may have heard the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In the case of finding a new position or searching for a better job if your current one isn’t an ideal environment for your sobriety, this cliché definitely holds true.

Undeniably, most addicts and alcoholics find themselves in a difficult position once newly sober. While in active addiction, we often placed our relationship with the drink or a substance before others, especially friends or families.

Consequently, many recovering addicts and alcoholics find themselves with a smaller network of people to turn to for help to get back on their feet. Likewise, many of us completed treatment or have moved from our old stomping grounds to live at Real Recovery so we’re in a new location and may not have a strong professional network in a new location. This can be discouraging but let’s not turn on the melancholy music yet, a new area means fresh opportunities and an abundance of new people to connect with on better footing in recovery.

For a lot of us, the addiction recovery process helps connect us in contact with a brand-new network of counselors, sponsors, and sober professionals eager and able to help a new member of recovery overcome the challenge of finding a new job in recovery. If you are staying in a sober living residence like Real Recovery, speak with one of your house managers who can help connect you with employers willing to hire sober individuals. House managers may also be willing to give you a credible reference by confirming your trustworthiness and commitment to sobriety.

If you are participating in a 12-step program, your sponsor and fellow members in recovery will often provide support to help you find a job quickly. Many of us have been in your shoes and will be more than happy to help individuals who are serious about recovery to find stable employment.

Likewise, it’s always a good idea to continue growing your social, support, and professional network. Getting active with different groups, doing service work, attending local AA or NA events, and really jumping into recovery with both feet will not only help you stay sober but grow in all areas of your life.

Step 6 – Have a Resume and Make Sure It’s Perfect

We’re in 2024. Whether you’re a line cook, server, work in construction or have a well-established career as a mechanical engineer or are a rock star marketing professional, employers expect candidates to have a compelling error-free resume.

Take advantage of all the resources at disposal to make sure your resume stands out against competing candidates. Not sure where to start? CareerSource offers resume review services, their team of resume writing experts will help you craft a strong resume that is guaranteed to get you noticed.

Helpful resume resources:

Step 7 – Leverage LinkedIn to Unlock Job Opportunities

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you’ve probably heard of the professional social network – LinkedIn.

Today, LinkedIn is the go-to platform for job seekers and Recruiters alike with nearly 690+ million users. It’s not just a platform for connecting job seekers with hiring teams but also provides a myriad of other features like research material on targeted companies, the latest industry and job market news/updates, interview preparation tools, and a robust professional networking platform that you can leverage to connect with other like-minded individuals.

A recent study by the resume writing service ResumeGo found that job applicants with an extensive LinkedIn profile were 71% more likely to get a callback for a job interview than candidates without one. So if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, it’s time to get started.

Luckily, we’ve made it easy to get started, check out these easy to follow videos on how to set up a perfectly optimized LinkedIn profile:

Step 8 – Never Give Up and Always Follow Up

Getting a new job isn’t always an easy walk in the park, especially in today’s post-COVID job market. It’s a competitive world out there, even more so depending on your professional background. Don’t get discouraged by rejection, you are bound to get several “we’ve decided to move forward with another candidate emails,” if you receive a response at all. Recovering addicts and alcoholics are built differently, despite what others may think, we have an incredible ability to persevere in the face of adversity.

So keep at it. But most of all, always make sure you follow up with an application you have submitted. Hiring managers have seen a steep increase in the number of applicants across virtually all positions, if you don’t receive a response in two or three days, be sure to follow up. It’s the simple step that could be the difference between getting an interview or not.

Step 9 – “But I Have A Criminal Background”

Alright, this one is for you thick-skulled smooth-brained individuals (said with love) who limit their potential by believing you cannot get a specific job, have a high-paying career, or be wildly successful because you have a criminal background. Sure, you might have a better chance at winning the lottery than getting a trusted position at a bank… if you just completed a bid for say… robbing banks. But let’s keep it simple there Bonnie and Clyde.

Hate to break it to you. You’re only selling yourself short if you let the belief that a criminal background will prevent you from securing a great job opportunity.

We’ll save you a Google search: 30 Entrepreneurs who started out as drug dealers. If you need more proof just search Google for “successful people with a criminal background.”

Does having a criminal background make your job search more challenging? Yes. However, the ball is in your court, you simply need to learn new skills that are in high demand, put in the effort to outsmart or out-compete other candidates, and get creative. Success requires hard work and a little luck, not excuses.

If you have a background and are looking for a new job, check out these resources:

Be Patient With Yourself in Early Recovery

Lastly, be patient. Rebuilding your life after active addiction and substance abuse isn’t easy.

Yes, attending to the physical and mental issues that created the conditions which led to substance abuse in the first place can easily feel like a full-time job, it 24/7 battle some days. Plus your immediate personal, family, and financial responsibilities only add to the weight on your shoulders. Keep in mind that recovery can be a slow process but a liberating and enjoyable one if we let it. We must maintain a good work/life balance like taking time away from work to enjoy meetings, social activities, and hobbies to eliminate as much stress as possible.

Many alcoholics and addicts have relapsed in their hurry to climb back up to the top. Relax and enjoy the ride, avoid trying to fly too high, too soon. If you focus on sobriety, everything else will follow. We know this from experience.

Finding a new position after treatment or when you’re newly sober may require some sacrifices throughout your journey in recovery. You may need to prioritize your recovery by finding a less stressful but lower-paying job or a new industry altogether if your current one revolves around alcohol and presents  triggers. You may want to take a part-time position over pursuing a full-time role so you can dedicate more time to your recovery, treatment, and meetings. Many of us burnt bridges along the way in active addiction and had to start at a lower-level position before working our way up the corporate ladder again.

At the end of the day, remember that our goal as a community is to thrive together in sobriety. To do that we need to help each other and remain focused on recovery. The fancy cars, clothes, women (or men, I’ve lost track of the pronouns available today), and all the material items you might desire will be there a year from now. You can bet that you have time now to focus on your recovery, or risk repeating this process in the future. Those that place their jobs or material success first often get a big serving of humble pie sooner or later.

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Top 10 Best Job Boards of 2024

Finding a new job can feel like an overwhelming and daunting task. Here are some of the best job boards and sites to help you find a great place to work:

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