· 7 min read

16 Tips for Finding Jobs with a Felony

Don't let a felony or misdemeanor hold back your job search. 16 tips for find a job with a felony conviction.

16 Tips for Finding Jobs with a Felony

Are you one of the 70 million Americans with a criminal record struggling to find a job? While having a felony or misdemeanor conviction can be an added challenge in your job search, it does not mean you can't get a job. Understanding what employers are looking for and how to put your best foot forward are the keys to getting hired. Following the tips below will give you a good foundation for showing employers you deserved to be hired.

1. Like attracts like

This is critical and has been proven to help individuals become mentally prepared for their job search. You have the capability within that is more powerful than anything else in the world, and that power is transmitted through your thoughts. Through this most powerful law, your thoughts become the things in your life. Your current thoughts are creating your future life. What you think about the most or focus on the most will appear in your life.

2. Stay positive and dont sell yourself short

Just because you have a criminal background does not automatically disqualify you from every job. The second you give up hope and think that you are only qualified for certain jobs now that you have a criminal record you are doing yourself a great disservice.   You need to set goals and follow through with them  Don’t give up hope that because of your criminal record that you don’t have a second chance in life or a chance for a particular job and defiantly don’t belittle yourself and sell yourself short on what you want out of a job. You are giving up by allowing yourself to think this way.  Always remember “Think positive and positive things will happen.”

3. Job expectations

Take a look at jobs you want and not just the ones you think you can get.  Even if you dont have all the job requirements apply and any interview that is offered GO.  The more interviews you have the more comfortable you will be and the more experience you will have,  You also want to know about the company you are going to interview with.  Before any interview it is critical that you know something about the company.  Be prepared during the interview to answer the #1 question which can be asked a couple different ways.  “Why should we hire you?  What makes you the best candidate for the job”?

Always remember that you may not get the exact job you want.  but If you can get into an entry position and work yourself up that is a great beginning.  Even if you find a job that you may not have considered look on the positive side.  You show that you have great work ethic and you are committed when another job comes along that you may want, not only do you have work experience but you have a much better chance of not only word of mouth but a reference from your current employer.  That will go a long way for you!

4. Finding a job with a criminal record will be hard

If you are not familiar with this saying let me share with you.  “Nothing worth fighting for is ever easy.”  The easy way out is giving up!  You have come this far so don’t let giving up even be an option or a thought.  Remember you may not get your dream job but perseverance can only help you.  You may have to start small but staying positive and repeating to yourself the first tip listed on here “that your thoughts become the things in your life.”

5. Volunteering

Volunteering a great morale booster to be able to give back to your community, but it’s also a great way to help you land a job.  Volunteering can help sharpen your current skills or learn new ones.  This can be used on your resume under experience or job application.  VolunteeKnow your rights and your backgroundring also expands your network and increases the number of people who can help you find a job.  Volunteering can fill up a blank on your resume page and shows your dedication to your community.

6. Dont be afraid to ask for help

Always remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness instead it takes great courage to do so.  Reach out to everyone you know.  Your family, friends, previous employers, coworkers can be a great asset and all can be the lead you need to finding a job. When applying for a job with a criminal record keep in mind.  “It’s not always what you know, it’s sometimes who you know.”

7. Be honest with yourself and others

If you were arrested for theft or fraud the chances of getting a job as a bank teller are going to be very slim. Know your conviction, and understand what jobs you can reasonably apply for.  Just keep in mind that your actions will speak louder than words and you have the opportunity to show that. Also, If someone  asks you about your background, be upfront and honest. Lying about your background will only hurt relationships and decrease employment opportunities. You are turning over a new leaf in your life and staying honest with yourself and others will open new avenues.

8. Be open to career changes or new ideas

While you are looking for a new job use your downtime to further your education.  Take advantage of your local library that may help you with options as well as local support groups.  There are plenty of online resources for learning and many are free. Take advantage of any employer sponsored training. The more initiative you show towards turning your life around, the more attractive you become to an employer. Even after you are hired always look for new opportunities, even if they are in different departments or groups. Being able to adapt and find opportunities on your own will only further your career.

9. Talk to your attorney

Often times when you are arrested you will have a thousand charges thrown at you. In the end though you may only formally be convicted of one or two of those charges and the rest will be dropped. Some states will allow you to have the charges that were dropped removed from your criminal record. As each state is different you will need to speak with your own attorney or an attorney in your state familiar with the criminal laws and/or having your record expunged. There may be a waiting period, but in the end if you can reduce your criminal record from ten pages to one with a simple court filing than by all means do so.

10. Dress for success

When you go for a job interview remember a clean and neat professional appearance is an important step in making a good first impression. You want the interviewer to focus on you and not your clothes.  Dress for the job you want not the job you haveDress as you want to be seen and the kind of person the company would want to represent them.  While there are no absolute rules a good tip is to dress as if you were working for the company.  Dress for the Part.  First impressions are key to an interview.

11. Apply to every job you can

Apply for as many jobs as you can.  The more jobs you apply for the better your chances are. Don’t give up no matter how many interviews you go to. Even if you dont get the job this is all going to give you experience and possibly give you insight to what you may need to work on.  The more experience you get with interviews and answering tough questions about your background the better off you will be. In addition, you never know who you will meet or what opportunities may present themselves. You may apply for one job only to ace the interview and be offered a different or better job.

12. Be professional

Make sure to show up at least 10 to 15 min early for a job interview.  If for any  reason you are going to be late calling is a must for a chance of having the interview.  Being early will allow you to see other employees and how they are working.  It is always best to know a little history about the business your are going into for an interview.  Remember to try and make as much eye contact as possible.  This shows that you have confidence and believe in yourself.  Even if you are nervous try your best to make some eye contact.

13. Be ready to work

When you do get the job, be ready to work.  Be willing to put in the time and show them you are a hard worker.  They need to see that you are reliable and dependable.  Volunteer for extra shifts when you can and show your boss that you are willing to go the extra mile.  Take any available training and always be on the lookout for any promotion opportunities.  Even if you dislike the job, this is your chance  to show that your background is a thing of your past and you have grown from your mistakes.

14. Don’t burn bridges

If the job ends up not working out for you, leave on good terms and do NOT burn the bridge with co-workers or your boss. You never know when your paths may cross again. Plus you will want a glowing reference from them when you go for your next interview.

15. Dont drink or do drugs

First and foremost do not go to the interview under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  If you do have an alcohol and/or drug problem and are offered a job, try to be as upfront with the employer as possible. If you are in rehab tell them that. Having an open and honest line of communication with your employer about these issues can be the difference between keeping your job and getting fired for being late. In addition, some employers may offer support or other programs to help you on your path to recovery.

16. Know your rights and your background

This doesn’t mean to show up at an interview demanding the employer hire you because they have to. But just because you have a criminal record does not give anyone the right to take advantage of you. Some states limit what jobs can run background checks and for what period they can look back. Federal civil rights laws apply to hiring individuals with arrests or convictions. And many states and cities have started enacting ban the box laws. Knowing what laws apply in your state can go a long way to protecting yourself from being taken advantage of.

Also, be ready to discuss your background. Be honest about it. If the employer runs a background check and already knows what they are going to find this starts to build a foundation of trust for them.
Most importantly though, dont give up, stay positive, and at first you do not succeed try, try, try again.  You can do anything you put your mind to.  You can find a job!!