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How to Find a Job With a Criminal Record

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Looking for a job is difficult. With a criminal record it can be extremely difficult. We know this, so we have some tips and resources to help you find stable employment. Sadly, more than half of all convicted felons will end up back in prison within a year of their release. Help reverse that trend. Become a success story, not just another statistic.

Your Employer and Your Conviction

How an Employer Can Find Out About Your Conviction

  • Asking you questions during your interview or on your application
  • Fingerprinting you and pulling up your record
  • Giving you medical examinations (drug tests)
  • Running a credit or consumer report on you

What They Can and Can’t Ask You

  • They can ask if you have been convicted but they can’t ask you about any arrest that did not lead to conviction.
  • They can ask you about mental and physical conditions (which can include drinking and drug use) but they can’t ask for details of your addiction.
  • They can run a credit check on you, but they have to ask your permission, and must let you see the report if they don’t hire you.

Three Steps to Success

1. Clean up your record

It is possible that your record has mistakes and/or incorrect charges. Contact your local Division of Criminal Justice to get a copy, or you can call the Legal Action Center at (212) 243-1313. You can also seal your records so that only the criminal charges will appear.

·     If you have a military discharge that was less-than-honorable, see what you can do to clean it up. Call your local state division of Veterans’ Affairs.

2. Rehabilitation

If you have gone through a rehabilitation program, get the clinic director to write you a letter of support. Living in a halfway house? Ask the house manager. Employers want to see that you are making progress and putting forth effort.

In some states, they will issue special certificates for good conduct and evidence of “rehabilitation.” Ask your parole officer if that is available in your state.

3. Sell yourself

You must show yourself as a person, not a criminal.

Tell the employer how you have changed. Explain why you had trouble, and what you learned from your mistakes.

Bring letters of recommendation from your parole officer, former employer, counselor or minister.

Be prepared to answer, “Why do you want this job?” and look the interviewer in the eye.

Dress for success. Don’t wear torn or dirty clothes, and try to cover up any visible tattoos. Make sure you’re clean and well-put together.

Be frank about your history. Speak clearly, don’t use slang, and above all else be honest. The more open you are, the more likely you will get hired.

Finding a Job
  • Goodwill: Many people don’t realize that the Goodwill has a large job-posting community, with many jobs for ex-cons. Visit them online, or go into any Goodwill center.
  • Department of Justice: Look at the Department of Justice re-entry pages for prisoners. This resource lists agencies that can help you find a job, state by state. They also explain how your employer can get a tax break for hiring you.
  • National Hire Network: This website lists a number of employers that specifically look to hire people who are just out of prison. They also have a specific page with links that you can show your employer, detailing how to get a tax refund for hiring ex-cons and answering questions they may have.
  • Prison Talk: This forum allows you to talk to other formerly incarcerated people. You can network with them to find job opportunities.

 

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Thank you so much I truly hope it helps I've been looking for work for awhile.
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I am an ex-felon with a lot of work experience who is just trying to get my life going for my family and to show employers that people do learn from their mistakes. But, unfortunantly, the businesses and companies are not seeing that. Then people wonder why felons continually go back and forth to prison, because no one wants to give us a chance, we continue to do what we know best, commit crimes. Then tax payers complain about having to spend all this money on keeping us locked up. Is there anyone out there that can assist me in finding employment?? I am located in Phoenx, Az. Thanks!!
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I'm really sorry to hear about the difficulty you're going through. I hope that some of the advice in this forum can help you: http://www.thebeehive.org/forum/work/working-record/what-are-employment-.... Good luck!
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Getting a job with a criminal record is tough. I know because I work with parolees everyday. I answer questions for ex-offenders and felons looking for jobs at my blog: http://howfelonscangetjobs.blogspot.com

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Very helpful to someone I can pass on to who is serving time currently, thanks

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thank you for the helpful rsources...

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