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Breaking Barriers: Job Hunting with a Criminal Record

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It’s tough to find a job in the current economy. Many college graduates are actually coming out of school and having trouble finding employment. Unfortunately, those with criminal records, even old ones, have an additional impediment in their job search. It’s important for people to know how a criminal record can hinder their job search, but it’s even more essential to know methods that will lessen this effect. Only when an individual knows all of the facts related to criminal records and employment will they have the best chance of landing a job.

What to Consider When Job Hunting with a Criminal Record

  1. Understand the nature of your offense
  2. Seek legal advice
  3. Check your state’s laws
  4. Gather all relevant information
  5. Be honest about your record
  6. Highlight your skills and qualifications
  7. Focus on industries and companies that are more open to hiring individuals with a criminal record
  8. Build a strong network
  9. Consider obtaining new skills and education
  10. Stay positive and persistent



How Criminal Histories Affect Job Searches

Every private employer in the United States has the absolute right to deny a person employment based on a previous criminal record. Unfortunately, many companies take full advantage of this right. It obviously makes sense in some respects. An organization that provides care to children would not want a convicted sex offender within their company, but not all cases are as cut and dry as this.

Other employment opportunities can be seriously affected by certain convictions. Any job that involves credit cards (i.e. waitress, call center representative, retail employee) would likely restrict a person with a financial crime conviction. The big issue, however, is the fact that employers can deny a person a job based on any criminal history. This becomes an issue when two equally qualified candidates come up for a job, but one of them has a criminal history.

Lessening the Effect of a Criminal History

Luckily, there are cases in which a person may be able to avoid the scarlet letter of ‘prior convict’ as it relates to their job search. These instances will vary greatly from state to state. Some areas, for instance, restrict employers from asking about convictions that have been expunged. There are even states that have disallowed the inquiring of a drug crime if an individual completed a drug diversion program.

Whether you talk to a criminal defense attorney in Orlando or one in San Francisco, most attorneys will tell you that the best thing that a person can do is file for their records to be expunged or sealed. This process will vary between states, but having these things done to a criminal record will essentially make the record nonexistent. Governmental employers will likely still be able to see these records, but a regular private employer will usually not be able to ask about the conviction or see it on a background check.

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Unfortunately, not all criminal records can be expunged or sealed. In these cases, it is always best to be honest on an application. If an employer finds out that someone lied on their application, it will make them think that the job candidate is both a criminal and a liar. There are a few ways, however, to be truthful while still sustaining a chance at getting the job.

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Know the State’s Pre-employment Screening Laws

These laws will vary from state to state, so it’s important to know what an employer can ask. There are some questions in every state that an employer is not allowed to inquire upon.

Offer a Good Explanation

Offering a good explanation of the crime is another vital step. This explanation should explain how the individual has rehabilitated and recognized the error of their ways.

Understand what must be Disclosed

As previously mentioned, there are instances when certain crimes do not have to be disclosed. It is vital that an individual know the laws pertaining to this.

Most people with criminal records have fully paid their debt to society, but unfortunately, during a job hunt, this record can continue eating away at them. Perfectly qualified individuals are oftentimes left unemployed simply because they have one small prior mistake in their lives. This just doesn’t seem right, and fortunately, the law provides a small amount of protection in these instances.

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06/12/2024 07:21 am GMT




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