It can be hard enough to get a job at the best of times but having a criminal record can make it even harder. However, don’t give up hope just yet as there are things you can do to make employers look past a criminal record. It’s important to remember that we all make mistakes and if you show an employer that you have worked hard since your conviction, many of them will be willing to give you a second chance.
Know Your Rights: Disclosing Criminal Record To Employers
Before starting your job search, take some time to research your rights. In some cases, you are not obliged to tell a potential employer about your criminal history. Some examples include:
• If you have erased your offense by obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation.
• If you were convicted by a juvenile court and are now an adult.
• If an arrest is not currently pending or doesn’t result in conviction.
What’s more, it’s illegal for most employers to immediately disqualify any candidates with a conviction or arrest record. Employers must first demonstrate that the conviction is “job-related” as well as the amount of time that has passed since the conviction.
Maximising Your Chances of Landing a Job with a Criminal Record
There are a number of actions you can take to increase your attractiveness to employers. For example, you can build skills and reputation by volunteering at a non-profit organisation. It may also be a good idea to look into specialised courses that can help you develop new skills. And don’t forget to emphasise your existing skills and qualifications while applying for jobs.
When it comes to job applications, honesty is usually the best policy. Offering extra context can be helpful, so provide a detailed explanation about the circumstances of the crime as well as your rehabilitation efforts. Don’t forget as well to submit excellent personal and professional references.
Presenting Your Past in A Positive Light
If an employer knows of your criminal record, that doesn’t always mean you don’t stand a chance of getting the job. If you show them that you have worked hard since your conviction, many will be willing to give you a second chance. Some other factors you should mention that may help them to see you in a more positive light include:
• Your criminal record is very old.
• You offended the crime when you were young and has since gained responsibilities.
• The crime isn’t relevant to the job you’re applying for.
• If the crime sounds more serious than it is.
• You pleaded guilty to the crime.
How to Get a Job with a Criminal Record [Infographic]
If you have a criminal record and are interested in learning more about how to find employment, take a look at our infographic guide below which also offers some handy pointers on résumés and interviews.