Q: After six years in prison, my son Bart is about to be released. I’m concerned that his incarceration may make it harder for him to find a job.

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Q: After six years in prison, my son Bart is about to be released. I’m concerned that his incarceration may make it harder for him to find a job.

Now that almost all applications are online, what can he do to encourage someone to contact him?

A: First, like all applicants, Bart must learn how to conduct an effective job search. Looking for work requires a specific set of abilities, including résumé writing, networking and interviewing. Mastering these skills will help him overcome the inevitable obstacles created by his prison record.

Submitting online applications is fine, as long as that’s not all he does. While personal networking is recommended for everyone, it is especially important for applicants who have red flags in their background. A referral from someone who can vouch for Bart’s character will go a long way toward helping him land a job.

Bart should therefore seek out activities that could provide him with references. Athletic clubs, church groups and civic organizations can all help to build his contact list. Any type of work, paid or unpaid, will also strengthen his résumé. Volunteer assignments are fine, but a temporary or part-time job would be even better.

Finally, your son should take advantage of any employment-related programs available to former inmates, because they will be tailored to his specific circumstances.

Submit questions to Marie G. McIntyre at yourofficecoach.com.