If you're one of those unfortunate souls who has a criminal record, whether for minor misdemeanors or for more serious crimes such as felonies, obtaining a job after completing your sentence can be an extremely difficult process. Taking some time to learn the laws surrounding employment in your state can help your efforts. Although it is not difficult to learn how to get a job with a criminal record, perhaps the biggest obstacle blocking success is lack of perseverance.
You cannot give up, even when you find out that most companies conduct detailed pre-employment background checks these days, to avoid future complications or litigation due to the hiring employees with questionable backgrounds. But remember, this does not mean that there is no hope of getting jobs for people with a criminal record. Below are some tips and guidelines to follow if you are looking for work.
Tips&Guidelines to Finding a Job
- Complete your education. If your incarceration occurred at a time while you were still completing your education, take advantage of the time at your disposal to complete your studies. Online schools are a great option for finishing up your degree.
- Join programs that are specifically targeted at those with prison records or conducted in the prison itself, to increase the possibilities of gaining employment once you are released.
- Make a list of jobs you can apply for where your past criminal record may not be a deterrent.
- Be extremely thorough in your research. While looking for possible placements or employment for felons, assess your skills and proficiency against the job descriptions available and make your choices with full information and wisdom. There are jobs for people with felonies and misdemeanors out there; you just have to do your research.
- Approach your lawyer or parole officer for assistance in finding jobs or as references. Your lawyer will also be able to advise you of your rights and obligations while job-hunting.
- Be upfront and honest about your past history where such information may help rather than hinder.
- Start small by taking up whatever job becomes available and build up your reputation and experience. Your approach to taking on new jobs should be realistic; you may have to work your way upward, even though you may have been at a high-level position before your conviction.
- Focus and optimism - Stay focused, have a positive outlook and be zealous in your attempts to find work.
Some very important rights which apply to people with past records are those where you are under no obligation to provide details about any past criminal activity such as:
- Arrests not resulting in conviction;
- Time limitations on reporting judicial inquiries where your conduct is not defined as an offense under existing legislation;
- Minor offenses where the conviction was over a specified time period;
- Legal options to seal or expunge prior records of conviction, the procedures will differ by jurisdictions.
Take the help of your lawyer or the local Parole Office in contacting prospective employers who have no objection to employing people with criminal records. Collect detailed information on the laws and regulations applicable in your state or jurisdiction, including fair hiring practices and discrimination laws.
In conclusion, while it is quite difficult to get a job once you've gotten a criminal record, it is not impossible. Lots of hard work, including keeping yourself competitive with an online degree (perhaps even in criminal justice!), research and a realistic and honest approach will show you the way in your quest for rehabilitation.