First off, he’d be well off to keep a positive attitude. If he gets rejected from a few jobs, it may not be because of his record. Plenty of fresh-faced college graduates can’t get even undesireable jobs in this economy. He will get rejection, but if he instantly attributes it to his conviction and gives up, he’ll never get anywhere. You only need one job, and you gotta keep on trying until you get it.
Once he’s got the right attitude, he’s got a couple ways he could go.
He could look for a job with a small business. As one of those aformentioned jobless college grads, I’ve filled out dozens of job applications within the last month. Quite a few of them didn’t ask a single thing about criminal record- all of these were small businesses, not large corporations. Likewise, I’ve only heard of large corporations performing criminal background checks. Looking back, I’ve held several jobs where I did not fill out a formal application and the issue would have never come up.
Or he could go for office work. He’s got phone skills. Presumably he has office skills and likely some database/computer work. Most office jobs simply ask for a resume and cover letter. Criminal convictions are unlikely to come up in an interview. And once he’s made himself indespensible in the office and proves himself by the quality of his work, it shouldn’t be too hard to move up the ranks even if his conviction comes out.
He could also network. Does he know anyone that needs a new employee? Can he come to know someone that needs a new employee? Chances are if he knows someone on the inside he can skip the whole application process and just show up to the interview with a resume. Make friends at the places you want to work. Networking is the best way to get a job even without a record.
Or, he could enter an industry where a criminal conviction would not be too uncommon. Unskilled labor can progress into skilled labor and often end in owning your own business. Cooking, construction, painting, auto-work, landscaping, tow-truck driving (there were so many ex-convict tow truck drivers in my town that they passed a resolution saying your convictions had to be at least a year old), and the like are businesses where you are most likely to be judged by your skill and experience- and where you won’t be the only person with a record in the stack of applications. And they can all get fairly lucrative.
But mostly don’t give up hope!