How To Overcome A Criminal History In Your Job Search

Ban the Box policies in 19 states have given people with a past criminal history a fighting chance at finding a job without being turned away by a check mark. However, of those 19, there’s still the matter of explaining qualifications, rationalizing job gaps and convincing hiring managers via cover letters. Then there are the other 31 states that haven’t come on board, which can make a job applicant work that much harder to be hired.

How To Overcome A Criminal History In Your Job Search

Here are three ways for people with a criminal history to get an edge on the competition.

Volunteer While Looking

For job candidates who have limited means of traveling or restrictions on where they can go—due to parole or probation policies—it is still imperative to try to maximize this time. Looking for nearby volunteer work is a useful way to both fill in potential gaps while on the job search and to possibly show how an applicant has turned his or her life around.

For example, say an applicant has a criminal history due to a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction. After that applicant has completed the mandatory 24-hour to one year in jail and paid all fines, then it’s job time. That same applicant could complete volunteer work by speaking at local colleges about the dangers of drinking.

Cleaning up community streets or charitable causes for families of loved ones who dealt with drunk driving could also show hiring managers that the job applicant has learned a lesson, shown growth and confronted the punishment head on.

Also consider your options for minimizing your legal repercussions if you have recently been charged of a crime, such as by enrolling the assistance of a criminal defense law firm early in the legal process. Using an attorney increases your chances or a favorable outcome.

Inquire About Jobs with Family Members

From maintenance work to customer service, ask any entrepreneurial family members or those with potential job connections about open positions. Companies tend to pay more attention to in-house recommendations versus hoping unknown applicants will work out.

If a family member is willing to put his or her own reputation on the line, make sure to represent them well. Be punctual and prepared for the job interview. Greet everyone from the receptionist to the CEO. But do not repeatedly mention the family member unless prompted during the interview. The hiring manager knows why the applicant initially got there. Sell the qualifications now.

Take Online, Free Library Courses

Libraries and colleges are notorious for inviting locals in for free training programs. Everything from learning how to use software programs to financing courses could be useful to people with a clean record so they definitely come in handy for those without a record. Make sure to add any relevant courses on a resume if it fits the position.

While networking is always a necessary step in finding job opportunities, those with a criminal history should hit the ground running, trying to find all available opportunities to fill up their resumes. Volunteering, educational courses and speaking events are just a few ways to help with the job search. And while on the hunt, try not to be too discouraged if it takes a little while to get the right job.

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