Looking for a job can be a daunting task, and it can be even more challenging if you have a criminal record. The fear and shame you feel when you ‘tick the box’ for a criminal record check can be overwhelming. However, there are people and organisations who are willing to see your skills and there are ways to increase your chances of landing a job despite having a criminal record. Just don’t give up! In this blog, we will discuss some tips on how to get a job with a criminal record. Our staff have been through this, so we know what it feels like!

If you are asked, be honest and upfront about your criminal record

Although not a legal requirement for most job applications many employers conduct background checks, and if you lie about your criminal record, it can lead to immediate disqualification. Wait until the employer has the opportunity to see your skills and experience on your resume at an initial interview. If you are offered a second interview and a criminal record check is asked for, agree to this. A record check cannot be done without your consent. Usually, your ID is loaded on to link that you are sent for the check to happen. We have found the best person to disclose to is someone within the company that has authority and not a recruiter. Success Works can assist you from this point on in many ways. We recommend at disclosure that you be upfront and explain your situation in your own words. Explain what happened, take responsibility for your actions including rehabilitation, what you learned, and express regret. It’s important to be honest because if an employer discovers your criminal record after you’ve been hired, it could lead to immediate termination.

Focus on your skills and experience

If you have a criminal record, your focus should be on highlighting your skills and experience. Be sure to emphasize your abilities and qualifications that make you the best candidate for the job. For instance, if you have a criminal record for theft but you have experience in inventory management, focus on your experience in inventory management rather than the criminal record. This way, you can demonstrate your value as a potential employee.

Networking and using referrals

Networking and using referrals can be an effective way to get a job if you have a criminal record. Reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances who may be able to help you get a job. Ask them if they know of any job openings or if they can refer you to someone who might be able to help. Referrals can go a long way in getting a job, especially as the employer is more likely to trust someone who was recommended by a known and trusted source. Success Works has a growing number of employer partners and they know we work with women with criminal records, so our network becomes your network.

Look for companies that hire people with a criminal record

Some companies have policies that are more lenient toward hiring people with criminal records. These companies recognize that people with criminal records deserve a second chance and are willing to give them an opportunity. Look for companies that have a reputation for hiring ex-offenders or those that have partnerships with re-entry programs. Along with Success Works, you can also search for organizations that provide assistance to people with criminal records looking for jobs.

Be patient and persistent

Finally, getting a job with a criminal record can take time, so be patient and persistent. It may take longer to find a job, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Keep applying, networking, and working on your skills and experience. The more effort you put into finding a job, the more likely you are to land one. You may find roles that are what we call ‘stepping stones’, a role that places you in a position to get the job you really want. It can be easier to get a job once you have a job!

In conclusion, getting a job with a criminal record can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By being honest, networking, looking for companies that will see your skills and experience and not the record, and being patient and persistent, you can increase your chances of finding a job. Remember that your past does not define you, and with perseverance, support, and hard work, you can achieve your goals.

If you are a job-seeker The Success Works program will help you to develop a pathway to self-reliance and empowerment through transitional support, professional development workshops, professional styling advice, and provision of suitable clothing and mentoring both before and after securing employment. This pathway also includes an introduction to employment opportunities offered through our employer partnership program. If you are recently released or you have been in the community for some time, we would like to hear from you.

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