Is it Possible to Find a Job after a Felony Conviction?

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handcuffs and gavelFinding and Getting a Job after a Felony Conviction

If you were convicted of a felony and now you’re trying to rebuild your life, you already know how challenging it can be. This is especially true when it comes to finding employment.

The most simple answer to whether or not someone convicted of a felony can find a job is “yes, of course.”

But rarely is it simple.

Life after a conviction is challenging and requires a different strategy than you might have taken in the past. Knowing where you stand and what obstacles you might encounter moving forward can help you plan and find more success in your post-felony job hunt.

Successful Job Hunting after a Conviction

One of the most important things you should know about finding a job after you’ve been convicted of a felony: it can make your job search more complicated, but it doesn’t mean it will be a failure. Some employers are willing to look past criminal convictions and judge a person by other criteria. Some aren’t even concerned with your past as long as you are a reliable worker for them now.

There is also an effort underway in certain communities to remove the stigma that often accompanies a criminal record. Some lawmakers have even gone so far as to remove the right of employers to request information about criminal history on job applications. These “ban the box” efforts are growing in popularity and could result in an easier re-entry into society for felons in the future. You can read more about these efforts here.

Review Your Criminal Record

It’s also important to conduct due diligence when you are about to embark on a job search.

This includes a review of your criminal record to make sure the information employers see is accurate. Furthermore, you may want to consult with an attorney to help seal, clear your criminal history or address any post convictions matters that exist.

It’s also important to know exactly what is on your criminal record because it might contain less information than you think it does. You wouldn’t want to disclose anything that an employer would otherwise not learn.

It’s also important to make sure you know what they can find so you can circumvent issues of transparency or dishonesty. Nobody wants to talk about his or her criminal record, but you’re always better off being open and honest right from the start, if a potential employer can learn of your criminal history.

Understanding your rights and the laws in your area that affect your job search can go a long way in helping you find a job. Despite giving up some of your privacy rights as the result of a felony conviction, you still deserve to be treated with respect and within the letter of the law. Employers overstepping their boundaries and violating your rights can be held accountable for their actions.

How to Approach a Job Search as a Felon

There are a few things you can do that might improve your odds of a successful job search even if you’ve been convicted of a felony.

For instance, small companies might be less concerned about background checks than larger companies that have more resources. This doesn’t mean you can’t be hired by a larger company, but if you need a job fast, you might have more opportunities with smaller companies.

Remember, you should never be dishonest about your status as a felon, but if a job’s standard application process doesn’t include a background check, then a potential employer might never know about your history.

Even if you don’t end up in your dream job, working for a smaller company can be a stepping stone to a better job and allow time to pass between your criminal conviction and your search for your ideal job.

It can also help to make yourself more appealing to potential employers. A well-qualified candidate who presents him or herself professionally, even with a past criminal conviction, can be more appealing to employers than an unprepared candidate without a criminal history. Consider enrolling in classes that are related to the field in which you want to work or, if finances allow, look into internships or apprenticeships in your chosen industry.

Finally, look into re-entry programs designed to help felons find employment after their release. These programs provide resources and support that can give you an edge and help you with day-to-day living during your job search.

If you have concerns about your life following a felony conviction or you have been accused of a crime and need to speak to an attorney, contact Gary Tabakman at (713) 331-9457.