How To Find A Job When You Have A Criminal Record

It’s tough enough to secure a job in today’s job market, add a criminal record to your job search and it may seem nearly impossible. Truth be known, at least 1 out of 4 Americans have some sort of blemish on their record. Most of these are misdemeanors, however, some are classified as a felony and these may make it even more challenging to secure a job.

With so much modern technology available today, would-be employer’s are using this to their advantage to help screen out job applicants. The trick here is to help avoid that first cut so that the would-be employer has a chance to get to know you before they cut you from the potential candidate list.

These tips should help you to find a job and get your foot in the door.

Know Your Rights

Begin your quest by understanding what a potential employer can legally ask you. In many cases, they can’t directly ask about incarceration or charges. It’s up to you how much you share. Only share what they must know. If charges are “pending” then they don’t need to know this information either.


Get to know others in the company that you wish to work for. Develop a good rapport with them and get to know their co-workers. Companies are more likely to hire someone that knows the rest of the crew and gets along well with them.

How To Find A Job When You Have A Criminal Record

Consider Temp Agencies

While a temp agency may sound like a lousy job prospect, keep in mind that many jobs work by hiring temps and then turning those temps into a permanent employee. You’ll have to inform the temp agency of your charges, but not who you’re working for unless you are asked to stay and work permanently for them.

Be Honest

If you are in an interview and asked if you’ve ever been arrested, don’t lie. Tell the truth but put a positive spin on the reason. A comment like “I was arrested as a young man (stress how many years ago such as over 10 years ago etc.) for robbing a convenience store. I wasn’t working and was desperate and hungry. It never occurred to me to ask them for a job”. It may sound lame, but sometimes, being honest will get you quite far and the more time that has elapsed from the incident, the better.

Be Discreet

It’s also wise to know what offenses will keep you out of which job positions. It can only keep you out of a prospective job if it would be “job-related”. If the offenses wouldn’t affect the job they can’t really keep you out of that job position.


Make sure that you’re applying for jobs that you qualify for and that your past won’t affect. If you were convicted of assault you might not be able to work with the public, but you may be able to work other aspects of the job.

Do your research and be as honest as possible. Remain positive and in short order, you’ll be able to get the job of your dreams.