Many people don’t know how to find a job after rehab and think this is an impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. If you spare some time to research the best post-rehab job-hunting strategies, you’ll see that this task won’t be as difficult as you originally anticipated.

Once you finish reading this article, you won’t have to ponder how to find a job after rehab ever again. You’ll learn all about the challenges associated with getting employed after rehab and be able to use nine practical tips we provide to secure yourself a job.

Utilizing online employment boards is only the beginning; keep reading to learn about some additional resources at your disposal.

Key Takeaways

  • The first steps in finding employment following rehabilitation are figuring out if you’re ready to do so, taking account of your triggers, and using resources like support groups and personal connections.
  • What makes finding a job after rehab difficult is discrimination and negative emotions, like stress and worry.
  • Utilizing job boards can help you find a job posting while polishing your resume and creating a social media presence can help you stand out and get hired.
  • Career, One Step, and Recovery Career Services are some of the resources available to those seeking employment assistance.

Why is it Difficult to Find a Job After Rehab?

Finishing addiction treatment is a major success, but once you get through the initial harsh patches, life back in the real world can be difficult.

Many discover they cannot return to their previous employment due to substantial triggers or poor performance brought on by substance use.

Looking for a new job isn’t easy either. Potential employers may want to know why you were out of work, and bringing up your time in rehab or any substance abuse instances can make you a less desirable candidate.

The Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a national addiction recovery study that found that 9.2% of people in recovery from substance use disorders are involuntarily unemployed.

This demonstrates that there is still discrimination against those who have experienced substance abuse. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on your search for a suitable position once you have completed rehabilitation.

Finding employment after completing substance misuse treatment has been demonstrated to increase the likelihood that a person will remain sober because doing so improves financial stability, health, and self-worth.

9 Tips on How to Find a Job After Rehab

Woman and man shaking hands after interview

Now that you know the challenges people experience when looking for work following rehabilitation, let’s discuss some tips that will come in super handy.

#1. Decide if You Are Able to Work

After finishing treatment, your first priority should be determining if you are fit for the workforce. You may not be ready to enter the job market just yet, despite having conquered your substance misuse problems.

There’s always the potential that starting a new job or returning to your old one will bring on a wave of anxiety and stress. So, pay attention to how you feel emotionally and physically and decide if you’re ready to return to work.

#2. Be Aware of Triggers

Potential triggers are an important factor to consider. There’s a chance that going back to your old workplace will bring up unpleasant memories for you, whether because of the tasks you performed there or the atmosphere.

If that’s the case, leaving an old job that you know could be a potential trigger, and focusing on finding a new one is the best course of action. But this time, make a conscious effort to identify potential triggers and seek out jobs that will not expose you to them.

#3. Utilize Assistance Programs

Many local and state governments offer programs to help former rehab patients obtain employment.

Some of these programs provide services like helping participants find and apply for jobs and transporting them to and from job interviews, while others provide educational and training programs instead.

The Department of Mental Health and Addiction in the state of Connecticut and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) in the state of Pennsylvania are two examples of such programs that offer great resources for former rehab patients looking to re-enter the workforce.

#4. Use Your Network

Using your network is an excellent way to find work following rehabilitation.

Those with whom you have previously held employment might be consulted for advice and contacts while re-entering the workforce. You can also always reach out to people you’ve met in recovery for support.

You probably already have regular contact with your therapist, doctor, counselor, program sponsors, and other members of your support group. Therefore, you can leverage this expanded group of people who are willing to support your job search and other endeavors.

#5. Understand Your Rights

Alcoholism and drug addiction are both recognized as disabling conditions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Although companies may be reluctant to recruit people who have sought treatment for addiction, they are not allowed to do so under current law.

Equally prohibited is discrimination against job applicants who are currently participating in a rehabilitation program. So, if you are job hunting, knowing your rights will give you the assurance and confidence boost you may need to secure a job.

#6. Prepare for Potential Setbacks

Another useful tip for everyone unsure about how to find a job after rehab is that keeping a positive attitude is a must.

You may feel inferior to other candidates because of your lengthy rehabilitation and subsequent joblessness. There is a chance that you will fall behind in education and professional experience, leading to a lack of knowledge and skills needed to get employed.

You should not let this momentary setback demotivate you. Instead, you should focus on finding your rightful place in the workforce as soon as possible.

#7. Don’t Bring Up Your Addiction History

Keep in mind that your right to privacy extends even to the employment interview process. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has strict guidelines regarding interview questions.

Legal drug usage (including alcohol and prescribed medicine) and any questions about it are off-limits to employers under these rules. Therefore, there is no need to discuss your history of substance misuse or your subsequent recovery.

However, the EEOC does not shield you from questions about your past illegal drug use or criminal record.

#8. Make Use of Online Resources

Finding a job following rehab can also be done using online tools. For example, Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Employment Center offers information and resources to help those with behavioral health conditions get employed.

The positive aspect of utilizing such online resources is that businesses that are posting job openings anticipate receiving applications from individuals who have a history of substance misuse. As a result, you do not need to worry that your history of substance abuse will affect your chances of getting employed.

#9. Take Part in Volunteer Initiatives

If you are having trouble finding work, you might want to think about giving your time to a cause that’s meaningful to you. Not only will you be able to keep yourself occupied during your job search, but you can also highlight your volunteer work on your resume.

If you want to get the most out of your volunteer work, look for an opportunity that will give you the experience you can put on your resume and perhaps use it in your new employment.

4 More Tips on Getting a Job After Rehab

how to find a job after rehab

Here are some more tips on how to get a job after rehab:

  • Use job boards. You can jumpstart your employment search by utilizing online job boards. Many organizations use job boards to advertise available vacancies. As a result, job search engines and the filters they provide can be useful resources.
  • Polish your resume. If you want to be hired, you need a resume that will get you noticed. Recruiters regularly sift through stacks of resumes, so it’s imperative that you give them a reason to choose you over other candidates.
  • Create a social media presence. Your presence on social media will be of tremendous benefit to you during the job search process since it will provide hiring managers with insight into the characteristics you possess and the experiences you’ve had in the past.


Prepare for an interview. Preparation is the key to success in every endeavor, and that includes job interviews. Body language and having responses ready for both standard and unique interview questions are two things to consider.

Organizations That Help With Job Search After Rehab

Here are some helpful organizations to check out if you want or need more assistance to find a job after rehab:

  • Career One Step. Career One Stop is a government-backed nationwide network that provides access to numerous employment-related tools such as self-evaluation tests, job fairs, career counseling services, resume critiques, and training courses.
  • Recovery Career Services. For those looking for work after completing treatment, this non-profit provides invaluable assistance in the form of coaching and professional development workshops, essays, and a YouTube series that explore the obstacles to employment that may arise and offer suggestions for overcoming them.

Final Thoughts

While you may encounter some challenges in the employment scene after rehab, that is not a reason for you to give up. You just need to learn about the tips and tricks necessary to find the right kind of employment for you.

Think about your potential triggers, prepare for any setbacks, and use all of the available resources, including assistance programs, personal networks, volunteering opportunities, job boards, and others.

All of these resources can help you get started and give you the right push to better integrate into the employment sector.