How to Get a Job While Homeless Expert Strategies for Securing Employment

Finding employment when you're experiencing homelessness comes with many challenges and barriers. But with the right preparation and resources, securing a steady job is absolutely achievable.

This article will provide tips to help you with job skills and put your best foot forward during the job hunt so you can overcome hurdles with confidence. You've got this!

How Do I Make Sure I Look Professional and Presentable?

When interviewing for jobs, first impressions matter. Looking tidy and put-together shows employers you're serious. As someone without permanent housing, you can still find ways to polish your appearance:

Maintain Personal Hygiene

  • Use shelter or public restrooms to wash up as thoroughly as possible before interviews.
  • Wet wipes, deodorant, and mouthwash can also help you feel fresh and clean.
  • Neatly combed hair and a clean shave make a good impression.

Find Interview Attire

  • Nonprofit organizations like Dress for Success offer professional clothing for job seekers.
  • Visit thrift stores and church donations to shop for inexpensive button-ups, slacks, blazers, ties, dresses, etc.

Get Free Dental Care Available to Low-income and Homeless People

  • Seek out free dental clinics to get your teeth cleaned and cared for before interviews. A bright smile makes a difference!
  • Many mobile clinics can be found partnering with churches or Local Shelters

Putting extra effort into your hygiene and appearance shows employers you'll also put effort into your work.

How Do I Provide Contact Information to Potential Employers?

How Do I Provide Contact Information to Potential Employers?

Lacking a permanent address and phone can be a struggle when job hunting, but workarounds exist:

Use Shelter Addresses

  • Explain your housing situation and ask to use the shelter's mailing address on applications.
  • Check in frequently to pick up mail and phone messages from potential employers.

Get a Cheap Prepaid Phone

  • Purchase an inexpensive prepaid cell phone plan to provide a reliable contact number.
  • Keep the phone charged and with you at all times in case interview opportunities arise.

See if You Qualify for FREE Cell Phone Service

An even better option is to see if you qualify for FREE cell phone service.

Government programs called Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provide discounted or completely free cell phone service to qualifying low-income households.

You can qualify for these programs based on your income level or participation in certain government assistance programs like Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, and others. Visit acpbenefit.org to check eligibility.

If you qualify, providers like EASY Wireless offer FREE monthly Talk, Text and Data plans.

Join the EASY Wireless Family

With FREE cell service from EASY Wireless, you'll have reliable phone and internet access at no cost. This makes it easier to coordinate with employers and social services as you search for work and access employment opportunities.

Check your eligibility today to start saving on cell costs and stay connected during your employment hunt. Having a working phone number and access to data is hugely beneficial when job searching while experiencing homelessness.

Just enter your email and zip code below then click "Enroll Now" to get started.

Start Saving Today!

What Local Resources Can I Leverage in My Job Search?

What Local Resources Can I Leverage in My Job Search?

Don't go it alone. Your community likely has employment services and supports to aid your permanent employment hunt:

Utilize Services at Local Homeless Shelters

  • Use shelter computers to search for jobs, email resumes, and complete applications.
  • Ask shelter staff and volunteers for mock interviews and resume help.

Check Out Nonprofit Organizations

  • Local groups may offer career counseling, job readiness workshops, interview clothes, and leads on open positions.
  • Religous organizations and churches may also have programs or connections to employers.
  • Large Nonprofits like the Salvation Army offer counseling and job training at their local branches

Partner with Social Services

  • Your caseworker can direct you to government employment programs, vocational rehab, and other local assistance.
  • The Department of Housing may have job and training programs for those experiencing homelessness.

Surround yourself with a strong support network as you take steps towards gainful employment.

How Do I Showcase My Skills Despite Spotty Work History?

Don't get discouraged if your background doesn't align with conventional career or education paths. Instead, get creative in highlighting your abilities:

Focus on Transferable Skills

  • Think about past jobs, volunteer work, and life experiences that taught you valuable skills.
  • Emphasize capabilities like teamwork, multitasking, communication, organization, and problem solving.

Demonstrate a Willingness to Learn

  • A good work ethic and ability to learn on the job are hugely important.
  • Show that you're motivated, reliable, and can pick up new skills quickly.

Frame Gaps Positively

  • If resume gaps or job hopping is a concern, briefly explain you had some employment disruptions but are now stabilized and eager to commit long-term.

The right employers will recognize drive and untapped potential if you demonstrate it.

How Can I Ace the Interview Itself?

How Should I Handle Tough Personal Questions During Interviews?

It's illegal for employers to discriminate against you for being a homeless person. But tricky questions may still arise. Plan ahead for how to respond:

Prepare Straightforward Explanations

  • If asked about housing or background gaps, have a short, honest reply ready.
  • For example, "I went through a period of unemployment and housing insecurity but have been working hard to stabilize and am eager to get back on track."

Redirect the Focus

  • Follow up on difficult personal questions by steering the conversation to the value you can add to the role.
  • For instance, "That was a challenging time for me but the experience taught me resilience and problem-solving skills which I could bring to this position."

Keep it Positive

  • Don't get defensive or dwell on the negatives. Acknowledge the past difficulty but stay focused on your current mindset and qualifications.
  • Mention anything from your background that will help you stand out; former veteran, experience in the field, how you overcame challenges

Honesty plus optimism is key. You overcame tough circumstances once and you can do it again.

How Can I Ace the Interview Itself?

The interview is your time to shine. Follow these tips to impress hiring managers:

Practice Common Questions

  • Research frequently asked interview questions for the types of jobs you're seeking.
  • Rehearse answers aloud to boost confidence and polish your responses.

Project Confidence in Your Body Language

  • Make steady eye contact, sit upright, nod and smile at appropriate times, and offer a firm handshake.
  • Avoid nervous habits like fidgeting. Your demeanor conveys sincerity.

Ask Local Homeless Shelter Staff for Mock Interviews

  • Practice interviews with staff and volunteers to get feedback on your presentation.
  • This allows you to improve before the real deal.

Send Thank You Notes Afterwards

  • Following up with brief emails thanking the interviewer reinforces your interest in the role.
  • Reiterate your qualifications and positive impression.

Preparation and positivity will make you shine when it matters most. You've got this!

Have Hope - A Job is Within Reach

Despite challenges, an eager attitude and resourcefulness can absolutely help you secure employment. Homelessness does not define you as a person or dictate your future.

So stay driven, tap into local support, and show employers your worth. Affordable housing, permanent stable employment, and income are attainable goals if you actively work toward them. Wishing you all the best in your job search and beyond!