So you are part of 10% in the US population that has a felony. One mistake, poor judgment, a lack of guidance or whatever caused you to become convinced felon. Now you want to change, lead a normal and clean life and let me guess….. YOU CAN’T FIND A JOB!!! The brutal truth is that it that it takes a tremendous amount of work but getting a job with a felony conviction but it is not impossible!
In this article we will give you some tips on getting a job with a felony, making the most of your situation and some other helpful information. Please also visit our main Jobs For Felons Page for job listings and much more.
10 Tips on Getting a Job With a Felony
Tip #1 Know Your Own Background
Not every charge, ticket or infraction will show up on a background check. This is often true if you were convicted outside of the state that you are currently living in. The point is that you should be 100% sure of what your criminal background looks like on paper. This will keep you from disclosing anything that you don’t have to.
Knowing exactly what your interviewer is seeing also gives you a great advantage. You will be able to craft a great answer ahead of time to answer any questions regarding your past. You can easily run a background check on yourself from a number of online sources.
Tip #2 Think small to start
Larger employers are much more likely to have a standardized hiring process, smaller locally owned business may not even go through the expense of doing a background check. Another advantage of applying to a small business is that you may be able to talk to the owner in person and get the job on the spot.
Craigslist is chalked full of small business that need to hire someone ASAP. Check the listings everyday, twice a day if you live in a highly populated area so you are one of the first applicants. Getting a job with a felony at a small company where you can talk to the owner face to face is going to be your best bet. You can also check out our jobs for felons page.
Tip #3 Think Big Later
Almost all large companies will do a background check of some type. When you have exhausted all of your opportunities with smaller business then work on the big ones. Here are the factors that will be taken into account when you apply at a large company with a felony record.
- Type of felony – Violent, nonviolent, theft or whatever
- Time – The more time that passes since your release the better.
- How far their background check is run
You can also check out our jobs for felons page to find felon friendly employers.
Tip #4 Felony Disclosure – To tell or not to tell and how to answer “the” question!
Sometimes it is best to be honest about your felony background and sometimes you should just keep your mouth shut. This is a judgment call that you will have to make on the spot. If you think that they will run a background check then you need to say something. If they are needing someone ASAP and they never mention anything then just let it go.
Always ask the question “how does your hiring process work?” This will give you a lot of insight as to whether they will run a background check on you or not.
Tip #5 Don’t forget about online jobs
Many companies are now hiring people to work remotely/from home since the technology is now readily available and it is much cheaper than owning an office building. A number of these jobs will require you to be an independent contractor, meaning your felony conviction will never come up. We have an entire page of legit online jobs for felons here.
Tip #6 Just do it yourself… self employment
Becoming self employed is no easy task but it can be done if you put your mind to it and arm yourself with the right information. You may be thing that it takes a lot of cash upfront to get things running but that is not always true.
We have a page that will give you some ideas for becoming self employed as a felon, they are low cost start ups ideas that anyone can do. Getting a job with a felony on your record is much easier when you create your own job obviously!
Here are a few low cost start up ideas:
- Landscaping & Lawn Care Business
- Cleaning Services Business
- Freelance writing/creativity Business
- Website Design Business
Tip #7 Education
Just because you are a felon does not mean that you shouldn’t be interested in continuing your education. If you want to go back to school or even learn a trade then go for it. You can find information about student loans and grants for felons here. Just make sure you are not entering a career path that will be hard for you to get a job in.
Technical jobs such as carpentry, electrical, plumbing, roofing and welding are easier to get with a felony record than blue collar jobs.
Tip #8 Your attitude… This is very important!
Someone that has not been through the system or walked in your shoes does not understand the hurdles you face. It is important to not let your situation or other people get you down. Do not make yourself sound like a victim to other people, particularly employers. They do care about what has happened in your life, they care about how well you can perform a task! Be upbeat, look people in the eye but don’t overdo it. Sell yourself on your skills and knowledge, not your past!
Tip #9 Communication
Communication is key to getting a job! Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- You need a resume. Nothing fancy but everything has to be spelled correctly! Keep it simple, clean and to the point.
- Eye contact is important during interviews.
- Ask questions, it shows interest to the interviewer.
- Your cloths and appearance communicate before you even speak. Dress appropriately but don’t over do it.
Make sure to answer questions clearly and to the point but try to add value to the answer. The value added is in bold.
Example: The interviewer asks “Have you ever had to utilize Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets ?” Your answer should be “Yes I have, during my time at _______ (whatever previous employer) I regularly used and designed spreadsheets for numerous reasons including inventory tracking and accounting. In addition to Microsoft Excel I also have experience with Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and outlook.
Tip #10 Reentry Programs
It may be worth your time to look over our directory of reentry programs for felons. Most of these programs help with housing, food, job skills and resumes. Most importantly have local information about employers and getting a job with a felony.