Job Seeking With A Criminal Record: How To Keep Your Cool

Searching for a job is stressful for everyone. You’re essentially putting yourself in the spotlight for employers to analyze. Not to mention, you’re competing with hundreds of other applicants. Somehow, you have to present yourself in a way that appeals to your target audience and outshines the competition. Potential employers that receive your application will assess everything from your education and professional experience to references and your lifestyle. So, when you factor in a criminal past, it’s only natural to feel like you’re out of the drawing. 

When it comes to being anxious about a background check for employment, you’re not alone. In fact, about a third of American adults have criminal records. Many people have made mistakes that have resulted in legal consequences, yet they don’t let their past dictate their future. If you’re trying to find a job but feel overwhelmed by your criminal record, these suggestions should make things easier. 

Your Past Doesn’t Define You

The reality is, everyone makes mistakes. Don’t allow your criminal record to make you feel less than anyone else. You’ve acknowledged your part, paid the price, and should be able to move on with life like the rest of the world. When you start to feel anxious about a job application or background check, remind yourself just how awesome you are. Receipt positive affirmations or review your educational background, professional experience, and accomplishments. You can’t expect an employer to believe in you if you don’t first believe in yourself.

Write A Killer Resume And Cover Letter

How do you show employers that your past doesn’t define you? You write a killer cover letter and resume that shows them exactly who you are and what you represent. While you don’t want to embellish, ensure that you’ve highlighted your strengths, accomplishments, and accolades. Any employer worth working for will see how much of an asset you are and welcome you to the company.

Consider Expungement

Did you know that some crimes can be expunged from your record? If you believe that your background is causing an issue with acquiring a job, an expungement could make a big difference. Talk with a licensed attorney about whether or not you qualify and what the process would involve. 

Know Your Rights

While the federal government allows employers to ask about an applicant’s criminal past, many states have adopted laws prohibiting discrimination. In 2019, more than 40 laws were established in 26 states that prohibit employers from using criminal records as a determining factor for a position. As a job seeker with a criminal record, it’s essential to know what the laws are in your state and how to protect yourself. 

Be Honest

Job seekers with a criminal past often get anxious when it comes time to complete an application. One of the most challenging questions to answer is if you’ve been convicted of a felony. Although you may be tempted to leave the field blank or lie about your past, it could backfire. At the end of the day, the truth will come to light when the employer does a background check. If it turns out you lied, they could avoid hiring you simply because you’re not trustworthy. It’s best to be upfront and trust that your resume and application are enough to get you an interview. 

Apply For The Right Jobs

In some instances, a criminal record cannot be overlooked. For example, if you have a drug charge, it would be difficult to get hired by a pharmaceutical company. Ultimately, the best way to keep the pressure down is to apply for jobs that won’t conflict with your criminal record. Steer clear of positions that would be off-limits or challenging to acquire as this will only lower your confidence.  

Trying to find a decent job with a criminal record is a daunting experience. Fortunately, it’s not the big stigma it once was. As more laws pass to protect individuals with criminal records, the opportunities to turn things around increase. So, don’t allow your past to dictate your future. Learn how to keep your cool during the job-seeking process by following the advice provided above. It won’t be long before the right career comes along and changes your life forever. 

Job Seeking With A Criminal Record: How To Keep Your Cool

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