Skip to comments.Felony on Your Record? 10 Job Hunting Tips
Posted on 02/20/2007 3:44:25 AM PST by Brilliant
If you have a criminal record in your past, are you forever barred from rejoining corporate America and taking advantage of professional opportunities? Not necessarily. It is achievable, but definitely an uphill battle, says Pat Kendall, career coach and author of "Jumpstart Your Online Job Search and eResumes: Everything You Need to Know".
According to Kendall, an estimated 80 percent of companies perform background checks on job applicants. Today's terror-aware atmosphere and litigious society makes employers responsible to a greater degree for checking out the candidates they hire.
It can be very difficult for most employers to get past a conviction on an applicant's record, so be prepared for rejection. You also have to realize you are starting over fresh after a conviction and must begin the laborious process of gathering experience and gaining society's trust.
Here are some suggestions for getting back to employment:
1. First, consult legal council about the possibility of getting your record expunged, sealed or the conviction reduced. These actions may not be available for every case, but it is definitely worth looking into.
2. Contact local human services organizations in your area to see if they offer programs and support for ex-felons. For example, Metropolitan Family Services in Chicago, www.metrofamily.org, operates the Young Fathers Initiative, a program that helps young dads, many with felony records, re-enter the workforce and reconnect with their children. Quincy Roseborough, case manager for Metropolitan's Young Fathers Initiative, says "There are companies that will hire ex-felons as long as the crimes are not violent crimes."
3. "Take whatever job you can to start rebuilding your experience and credibility," Kendall advises. Now is not the time to be picky. "Many of our clients start with jobs in manufacturing and fast food," Roseborough says. "The pay is mostly minimum wage and often the hours are long. But, some have opportunities to go to warehouse jobs where they can learn to drive a fork lift and gain other skills." Take the job and use it as an opportunity to showcase good job performance and to rebuild your experience and others' trust in you.
4. "Look to personal contacts and friends to help you get a job," Kendall asserts. Someone who knows you will not be as wary to take a chance on you.
5. Seek employment with small and local companies. "We promote looking for jobs with small companies and independent businesses and employers, instead of major chains," Roseborough divulges. Local businesses may have less stringent hiring requirements and are more willing to give you a chance.
6. Consider self-employment. Walt* was convicted at age 19 of drug possession and attempted sale. After serving time in prison, he took odd jobs in various auto shops and car dealerships to learn about car repair. He now works as an independent contractor and operates his own auto repair business.
"We encourage the young men we work with to look into entrepreneurship. We suggest taking up a trade that a felony record wouldn't hinder, such as plumbing, construction or janitorial work. You can be your own employer with these skills," Roseborough says.
7. "Don't put the conviction on your resume," Kendall declares. "Consider putting it in your cover letter and enclosing letters of recommendation. Be honest and upfront." Most applications will require you to indicate if you've ever been convicted of a felony. If the question is not on the application, you don't want to let the process go too long without coming clean. You should let them know early on that you have a past record because it will show up in the background check.
8. Be professional and confident. "Many young men we see lack people skills. We tell them that when they go to an employment office or are in an interview if they are dressed appropriately, speak well, and have confidence it will show," Roseborough says. "We explain that their resume is like an ad in the newspaper, but they are the 'product;' and they have to go in and 'sell' themselves. Some employers will take a chance if there is a nice presentation."
9. Don't harbor false hope. "It's going to be hard. Having a felony on your record is a real obstacle, and it is only getting harder," Roseborough warns. You will be rejected. Just don't give up.
10. Seek emotional support. Whether it's family, close friends or a professional counselor, you will need to talk to someone for encouragement. Many ex-convicts experience depression when they meet repeated resistance in trying to once again find employment. Having that support system will help you stay focused and motivated when you feel discouraged.
*Name changed to protect his identity
You seem to be qualified for the job but that whole rape/murder thing makes me question your qualifications....
What do you suppose a convicted felon should do? Lay down and just die?
Not a bad idea.
What do you suppose they should do?
>What do you suppose a convicted felon should do? Lay down and just die?
For certain felonies, most certainly yes.
Better suggestion: Never commit a felony.
Do what they must to be certain they never go back.
Join the military...
Forget it, the military doesn't want people with felonies on their record.
The military doesn't need felons.
But, if you do, make sure it's one where you aquire a lot of money so you can get the best defense attorney you can to get you off the hook.
Absolutely! I don't want serious felons in sensitive positions. We must however realize that in todays society even child support violations can become felonies.
In the pursuit of the vote and retention of power legislators create ever harsher penalties just to be able to stand before a crowd and proclaim "I did this for you", many times the new penalties are felonies thus making more people un or under employable.
I guess my real point is, if were going to release them and tell them they are citizens again, we have to have some way for them to be productive.
IF they CHOSE to be so.
Other wise we just shuffle them in and out of prison and scream about the recidivism rates.
Worked for me...
This really is a serious problem. With so many convictions for Drugs and stupid laws it is much easier to get a felony conviction than it used to be.
Because of the extensive background record keeping. There is no redemption any longer. I don't know what the answer is but what used to be called a "youthful indiscretion" is now a life sentence as far as felons are concerned. Getting your record expunged is not easy any longer, With all the publicity on felons that recommit crimes judges are reluctant to do it.
Every family has someone that gets into trouble. It breaks your heart if they stop their destructive behavior and start acting right but can't get the chance to earn a decent living.
Used to be, if you messed up you just moved to another part of the country and started over. That is not an option any longer. Neither is joining the Military.
1. First, consult legal council (b)(it's COUNSEL, you twit) about the possibility of getting your record expunged, sealed or the conviction reduced.
4. "Look to personal contacts and friends to help you get a job," Kendall asserts. Someone who knows you will not be as wary to take a chance on you. Hanging with the crowd that probably got you sent to the joint in the first place is usually prohibited when on probation/parole.
5. Seek employment with small and local companies. "We promote looking for jobs with small companies and independent businesses and employers, instead of major chains," Roseborough divulges. Local businesses may have less stringent hiring requirements and are more willing to give you a chance.Translation: Mom and Pop are easy to pull the wool over on and will take longer to figure out what scam you are running.
6. Consider self-employment. Walt* was convicted at age 19 of drug possession and attempted sale. After serving time in prison, he took odd jobs in various auto shops and car dealerships to learn about car repair. He now works as an independent contractor and operates his own auto repair business. Nowhere in this article does it say that you should get and stay clean from drugs as most employers require a pee test. Even those that don't may require a pee test after an at-work accident/incident.
"We encourage the young men we work with to look into entrepreneurship. We suggest taking up a trade that a felony record wouldn't hinder, such as plumbing, construction or janitorial work. You can be your own employer with these skills," Roseborough says. The trade suggested, plumbing, requires a license which, in my state, will never be granted to a felon. Think about it: do you want a felon to have easy access to your home to check out the valuables? I didn't think so.
8. Be professional and confident. "Many young men we see lack people skills. We tell them that when they go to an employment office or are in an interview if they are dressed appropriately, speak well, and have confidence it will show," Roseborough says. "We explain that their resume is like an ad in the newspaper, but they are the 'product;' and they have to go in and 'sell' themselves. Some employers will take a chance if there is a nice presentation." "Yo dawg, it's like this, ya see. The man, he be down on me and ya gots to have a gat or ya don't gets no 'spect, ya see?" -- There's the door...
I would suggest you never, ever, do any extensive research on your family tree. Chances are very likely you have some felons in your gene pool.
So you think people can not change? Would you extend that to President Bush? A DUI could be a felony conviction in many states.
Self-employment is what got most of these people a felony in the first place...
The trouble with that is that "Felony" is continually redefined.
The word implies crimes like murder and robbery, but it can just as well mean that someone was late on their alimony payments too often, or sold a pound of pot when they were 20, or ran afoul of the IRS.
I would not hire someone who was likely to empty the till, or kill me with an ax, but I would at least consider doing so if someone had comitted a "Paper" felony.
Anyone that sells a pound of pot needs the Singapore treatment.
No I think stigma is a good thing but I don't see anything wrong with offering them job hunting tips. In fact I think that's a good thing too.
A quick review of your posts on this thread makes me wonder if you have something you would like to share with the group.
As to whether I believe in people changing, I don't see where any part of my post precludes the possibility of change. To the contrary, I pointed out specific changes that are required to enhance success: don't return to the crowd you used to run with, stay off drugs, improve language skills. Further, I have supported prison ministries that address the real change that brings people back to a better life, a relationship with a living God through His Son.
Finally, the other point of my post is that choices have consequences, sometimes far beyond the courtroom and the jail cell. As in the licensed trades not being open to felons, that is a change that would have to be made by the legislature and has nothing to do with the individual and the ability to really live a changed life.
I seem to recall in Calif. they have a strange way of treating felony convictions. They call them wobblers, if you were convicted of a felony, but given probation instead, it becomes a misdemeanor. If that is true, you might be able to get away with saying "no." Disclaimer: This isn't legal advice!!
Do you employ them? Would you employ them?
Not a particularly good one either. Most crime is a result of "self-employment".
How perceptive, but no thanks, not if you are in the group.
"a relationship with a living God through His Son."
Exactly, that would include a path to redemption. You may preach it, but do you believe in it? If a man repents and ask for forgiveness, Jesus says we must do it.
Repentance means a turning away from the sin for which the penitent is sorry for (contrition). In my earlier posts, I described what turning away would look like. If I were a business owner that had a person referred to me by a prison ministry that I trust, then I would consider hiring that individual on the strength of their recommendation that true repentance has occurred and I can see some evidence of it.
I hope we have found something to agree on because I don't see that we really have any disagreement between us. You say people can change and we should make allowances to give them a shot. I agree and all I ask for is a little evidence of the change.
There are lots of things that are felonies these days, like possession of certain guns without all the necessary permits/fees/approvals/restrictions. Oh, by the way, gun possession is defined as a violent crime in some jurisdictions. Besides, there are millions of laws, growing every year. How can you even know whether you're a felon or not? Judges can't even agree on what the law says, which is why many judgements get reversed on appeal.
I have a friend with a felony on his record and some quality prison time to prove it. When he last applied for a job, he noted the incarceration period on his resume as a job working for the "XXXXX State Dept of Corrections" and went on to list the job duties he performed while on daytime work release. It was the best way he could tell the truth on the resume while giving himself the chance at some face time with a potential employer. Believe it or not, it worked.
Certainly depending on the job and/or the record of the potential employee. Just because a person has a record does not mean he is not a good potential employee. That record could be many years in the past and people do change, I can absolutely guarantee that. They have to re-establish their credibility of course before they can be hired for some work. There are also some jobs that mostly require a strong back and a willingness to work or sometimes just a willingness to work.
You're PC skills are finely honed. I wish you the best of luck...
I've got a sister that committed multiple felonies, forgery, embezzlement, tax fraud, etc., but was never prosecuted. Does that count?
She redefined "black sheep" in my family......
Same to ya jerk.
You defend felons and call me a jerk. The only adequate word is pathetic.
Yeah..jerk is wrong. Ignorant is probably better.
Me and and my 'stupid' experiences with ex cons...
You are correct.
Depends. Some felons are career criminals, and some just overreacted in a fist fight or got caught holding a bag of weed. Some are felons because of a moment of stupidity, others have been rehabilitated, and others will never fit into the mainstream of society.
What's left out of the article is that most states have a fund to help felons find jobs -- what they do is underwrite liability insurance, to reassure employers that they're not taking a huge financial risk by hiring ex-cons.
Ok..what do you propose we do with ex-cons?
Start felon factory
I offer no solutions. You defend them.
No I didn't defend them I defended helping them find jobs.
Do you employ them or simply enforce this absurdity on others?
I can't even begin to comprehend your question. Enforce what absurdity? And no I don't employ anyone but I do work with prisoners and know several who have 10+ years of good citizenship.