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  • Writer's pictureTyler Zuccarelli

10 Tips for Creating a Resume

You're out of rehab! Congrats…Now, get a job!

All jokes aside, When you get out of rehab, you will most likely have to start looking for some sort of employment. This can be daunting, but there is no need to worry. It may seem like you must start from scratch, but you may very well have to do just that. If you were lucky enough to have a supportive employer and you let them know about your addiction before going to rehab, then lucky you. In most cases, we (addicts) often burn bridges of past employers and have to start over. This is just something we will have to deal with when it comes up (just like all of the other sh!t you have had to deal with in your life–you can handle this too!)

Your rehab center should have set you up with some form of aftercare planning. In which they should have provided some details on continuing your recovery journey with doctors' appointments, meetings, and other individualized options. One that is often overlooked is getting back into the job market. Whether that means going back to school, going back to a previous employer, or starting a brand new career, it is scary.

You are not alone; this is scary for everyone, not just former addicts. Before we get into the resume-building tips, Here are some great ways to get your feet wet when jumping back into the job market

Volunteer Work

  • Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door and gain some work experience. There are many different organizations that welcome volunteers, so you can find something that interests you and that fits your skills and abilities.

Entry-level Jobs

  • There are many entry-level jobs that don't require a lot of experience. These jobs can be a great way to start building your resume and gaining some work experience. Some examples of entry-level jobs include cashier, customer service representative, and administrative assistant.

Work-study Programs

  • If you're enrolled in school, you may be eligible for a work-study program. Work-study programs allow you to work part-time while you're in school, and the money you earn can help to pay for your tuition and other expenses.

Government-funded Programs:

  • There are a number of government-funded programs that can help people who are recovering from drug addiction find work. These programs can provide job training, placement assistance, and other support services.

Social Enterprises

  • Social enterprises are businesses that have a social mission. These businesses often hire people who are recovering from drug addiction, and they can provide a supportive and rewarding work environment.

Give Yourself a Leg Up

There are tons of organizations and programs who can help people struggling to find employment due to a history of substance abuse. These job boards will match candidates with companies who believe in giving people a second chance:

  • America in Recovery

  • The National Hire Network

  • The Department of Labor One-Stop Career Center

  • The National Skills Coalition

  • The Salvation Army

  • Unemployment offices

  • Temp agencies

There are also plenty of felony-friendly employers out there, too! Check out this helpful list from, which includes some big-name companies like Ace Hardware, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Buffalo Wild Wings, General Mills, and more.

Now, here is that list we promised!

10 Tips for Creating the Best Resume!

1. Focus on your Skills and Abilities

Even if you don't have a lot of work experience, you likely have transferable skills and abilities to the workforce. Highlight these skills in your resume, and be sure to quantify your accomplishments whenever possible. For example, if you volunteered at a homeless shelter, you could mention that you "trained new volunteers" or "helped to raise $10,000 for the shelter."

2. Tailor your Resume Accordingly

According to a 2019 Challenger, Gray, & Christmas Inc. survey, 82% of employer respondents said they’re actively hiring for open positions …. Yet 80% are having difficulty finding qualified candidates. Good news: You’re a qualified candidate!

Here are a few top skills employers are looking for:

  • High emotional intelligence: You’ve probably never been as in touch with your emotions and feelings as you are. Your eyes have been opened to so much more, including how to communicate with others and have healthy relationships. This matters to an employer, says Forbes, because you can successfully navigate daily social interactions in the workplace.

  • Tech savviness: Feel out of touch with technology? Check your local community college – a lot of campuses offer free or inexpensive technology classes. Also, YouTube is an ever-growing resource that has FREE content for nearly every subject. Just don't get lost in a rabbit hole. Find some channels that make good content and watch videos while taking notes.

  • Clear decision-making: You made the decision to seek addiction treatment, live a life in recovery, and put your sobriety above all else – you know a thing or two when it comes to good decision-making! Employers know that every decision an employee makes influences the company. Employers want employees who make good – and sometimes tough – decisions.3

3. Use keywords throughout your resume.

When you're applying for jobs online, your resume will likely be scanned by an applicant tracking system (ATS) for relevant keywords. Be sure to use keywords throughout your resume so that the ATS will pick up your resume. For example, if you're applying for a job as a customer service representative, you could use keywords like "customer service," "problem-solving," and "communication." Don’t get too caught up in this; just make sure you use words that are relevant to the job you are applying for. If it is an entry-level job with a paper application, forget this tip entirely.

4. Keep your resume concise and easy to read.

Your resume should be at most two pages long, and it should be easy for the employer to scan and understand. Use clear and concise language and bullet points to highlight your skills and accomplishments. For example, you could create a bulleted list of your volunteer experience or use bullet points to list your skills and abilities.

5. Use active verbs and strong language.

When describing your skills and experience, use active verbs and strong language. This will help your resume stand out and make you look more confident and capable. For example, instead of saying "I was responsible for" something, say "I managed" or "I led."

6. Proofread your resume carefully.

Before you submit your resume, be sure to proofread it carefully for any errors in grammar or spelling. A well-written resume will make a good impression on the employer and increase your chances of getting an interview. For example, you could use a grammar checker to help you proofread your resume.

7. Get feedback from others.

Once you've written your resume, ask someone else to review it and give you feedback. This could be a friend, family member, career counselor, or anyone else who you trust to give you honest feedback. For example, ask someone to review your resume for clarity, grammar, and overall impression.

8. Use online resources.

There are a number of online resources that can help you write a resume, including templates, examples, and tips. These resources can be a great way to get started and ensure your resume is up to par. For example, you could use a resume builder to help you create your resume. The classic Word document works wonders as well, dont get to in your head about making some beautifully designed resume. The employer really just cares about your skills and abilities.

9. Feel free to highlight your soft skills.

Soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving are just as important as hard skills in the workplace. Be sure to highlight your soft skills in your resume, and be prepared to discuss them in an interview. For example, you could mention that you are a "good listener" or that you are "able to work well under pressure."

10. Be honest about your past.

If you have a history of drug addiction, be honest about it in your resume. However, be sure to focus on your recovery and how you have overcome your addiction. For example, you could mention that you are "currently in recovery" or that you have been "clean for 1 year."


No one starts from the bottom and goes straight to the top. You have to put forth the maximum effort you can to get where you are meant to go. In other words, work hard, learn new skills, build relationships, be kind and genuine, and mostly, be grateful that you got hired in the first place!

Something I always tell previous clients about getting a job to “make ends meet” is that “You never know what you’ll need to know.” You will never know what information may benefit you in the future. You have learned that through your recovery, you have learned many new skills that have made you a better person. The person you are today is not the same one that walked into rehab 30, 60, or 90 days ago. Take it easy on yourself. Remember that these things take time, and it is OK if you don’t get hired to that dream job. Apply to 10 more jobs that are just like it. Also, remember to breathe and, as always, stay strong and stay sober.

Till next week,

Tyler Z.


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