Unfortunately, job hunting is even harder for folks with a criminal conviction. It is extremely important that you are at the top of your game when looking for employment when you have a "skeleton in the closet." There are some proactive things that you can do to increase for chances for success.
Obtain a copy of your criminal record
Seeing what the employers see (when they do a background check) will help you prepare in advance for those explanations that are going to be required.
Individuals can obtain a copy of their national criminal history from the FBI. You will need to sign a written request with a brief explanation for the request. Make sure you provide A complete return mailing address. Each request must contain:
- Two completed applicant fingerprint cards with your name, date of birth, place of birth, etc.
- A current set of 10 rolled finger prints and 8 flat impressions taken by a law enforcement agency
- A fee of $18 (certified check made out to United States Treasury).
Mail the required documents to:
FBI CJIS Division
ATTEN: SCU, MOD.D2
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, W.Va. 26303
Call the FBI at 304-625-3878 for additional information
Learn about having your rights restored and the Federal bonding program:
- www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/ JudicialSystem/Clemency/restoration.cfm
- www.bonds4jobs.com or Google "expungement" for additional information
The Web has lots of information for ex-convicts and people with a criminal background. Do your research so that you are thoroughly prepared. Some sites to investigate:
Seek advice & be open-minded
Ask people who you know and respect what they think are your greatest attributes. Get advice on the latest resume and cover letter techniques from experts at your local Workforce Center. Address your weaknesses and start taking steps to improve in those areas.
Prepare to sell yourself!
Congratulations! You have a new career...you are now a salesman! Get yourself a business card. Include your current contact information and your skill set printed on the card. Get a professional "Interview Outfit" you wear when filling out applications and at interviews. Know your product...you! Be prepared to sell your skills as they relate to the job you are applying for. Know how to answer tough interview questions by practicing in advance. If you are asked about your criminal record, answer truthfully and be sure to focus on what you have learned from your mistakes. Direct discussion on the present and future rather then the past. Try to highlight what your experience can bring to the particular position for which you are applying for.
I will not kid you, you do have a steep hill to climb, but you can do it if you take the right steps to market yourself. If you would like to discuss how to market yourself, please do not hesitate to call and make an appointment to discuss your particular situation.
Weekly Re-Employment Workshops Jan. 10-14:
- Tuesday Jan. 11 @ 8:30 a.m.: Networking Job Club
- Tuesday Jan. 11 @ 9:30 a.m.: Finding the Hidden Job Market
- Thursday Jan. 13 @ 4 p.m.: Computer Basics for Beginners
Kind regards -