Pursuing Change - 3 Job Hunting Tips for the Convicted
The stigma surrounding criminal records has always been around, making it a difficult time for many of those incarcerated to build a new life. You may have served your time and reformed for the better, but employers are mostly guided by discriminatory principles regarding the convicted.
As you look for a new job, you’re likely overwhelmed with worry, fear, and utter dread. Explaining your criminal history during a job search sounds almost unthinkable, adding to unprecedented stress.
How can you find a job in industries that continue to carry stigmas? The journey will remain tumultuous, but we’ve gathered these helpful tips for you to consider:
Tip #1: Remain as honest as possible
There’s no other way to place it—a criminal record is a tricky road to navigate, and one that cannot be avoided. Your best option is to remain as honest as possible, especially since your employers will find out about your records anyway. It’s the protocol to conduct background checks after offers of employment, as it’s essential to the screening process.
Being honest is also one of the most valuable soft skills, as it builds not only trust but credibility. Candidates who choose to hide their histories are immediately eliminated from the opportunity, as the action is deemed as dishonesty.
Tip #2: Address your history at the early stages of the interview
As previously mentioned, you’ll want to build trust right from the start. However, your honesty should remain at a safe border, just enough to build an image of trustworthiness. Too much can actually hurt your chances, so make sure to address your criminal record during the interview process. It’s best to not mention anything on paper, as you’ll want to be able to explain your history clearly and on your terms.
You’ll also be allowed to talk more about it during their interview questions, especially when asked to talk about yourself. Remember never to lead with the criminal record, as you do not want it to define you. Remember to walk the interview through your relevant skills and experiences, and always talk in a positive light,
Tip #3: Practice makes perfect
Talking about your criminal record can be terrifying, so preparation is always key. Your explanations need to remain brief and concise, with the right amount of natural to ease any tensions. You wouldn’t want to sound stiff or scripted, so make sure to only give the minimum details.
Excusing your behavior or pinning the blame on others is never a good idea, but make sure they know that you’re taking accountability and are now moving forward to better yourself. You need to always highlight the lessons of your incarceration, such as a resolve to make changes and impact the lives of others.
The Bottom Line
Having a criminal record may seem like a slippery road bound for failure, but it shouldn’t be. Even with a conviction in tow, everyone deserves a chance to start again. You’re more than capable of making a change now, especially since you’ve seen the dark parts of the world not everyone has had access to. There is wisdom in your experiences and the right employer will see value in what you have to offer.
If you’re having trouble finding employment, however, allow Fallen Valor to help. We are a business directory for ex-felons, designed to help you make the most of your new life. Find the right employer with us—browse through our lists today.