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Free At Last: How To Find a Job After a Criminal Conviction

Posted on January 8, 2014 by Mintzer Law

People can feel the effects of a criminal conviction long after they have completed the sentence imposed by a judge. A criminal record can make it difficult to find employment. Depending on the law in the state in which a person resides, a felony conviction might disqualify a person from obtaining professional or occupational licenses including the following professions:

  • Lawyers
  • Accountants
  • Real estate brokers and sales agents
  • Pharmacists

Jobs not requiring government licensing can also be difficult to obtain with a criminal record. Many employers might show a preference for a job applicant without a criminal record over one with a misdemeanor or felony conviction.

Know the Law Concerning Criminal Records

Federal law allows employers to inquire about an applicant’s criminal convictions, but the law also prohibits them from refusing to hire someone with a criminal record. The exception is if the employer can demonstrate just cause. Just cause usually means that the crime for which a person was convicted is related to the type of work the applicant would be asked to do. For example, a person convicted of a theft crime could be denied a job as a cashier. Laws on the use of criminal convictions to deny someone employment vary from state to state.

Do Not Try to Hide a Conviction

Lying about a criminal conviction might get someone hired, but it certainly will get a person fired when the employer discovers the truth. Most employers today run some form of background check on new employees, so the chances of getting away with concealing a conviction are pretty slim.

A job applicant should be honest if asked about criminal convictions. Telling an employer the truth while stressing how the conviction offered an opportunity to change the person’s life is a way to turn a negative situation into a positive one.

Stress Strengths Instead of Weaknesses

A criminal conviction is something that usually does not go away although some states allow for the expunging of criminal records after a specified length of time has elapsed. When talking to a prospective employer, a job applicant should stress skills or specialized training that could make the individual stand out from other applicants.

Resources Available to Job Applicants

Most states offer programs to assist people with criminal convictions in their search for work. Some programs combine training with job placement or assistance in finding work once the training is successfully completed. Some programs combine education in the form of assistance in completing requirements for a high school diploma or its equivalent with job placement assistance.

Consider the Alternatives

A person with a criminal conviction who cannot find employment after trying state programs, placement services and personal contacts might find success by starting a business. Service businesses such as landscaping, handyman or house cleaning do not require a lot of money to start.

Have you been arrested for committing a crime? Call Rand Mintzer today at 713-862-8880 so you can avoid the whole going to jail thing…because it’s not that great.