Criminal records, incarceration, resumes, and now! 9/27/2023

Sep 27, 2023 | building a resume, career, criminal record, felon, interview, jobs, re-entry, resume advice | 0 comments

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2 million Americans are currently incarcerated, that’s equivalent to the whole state of Nebraska and the entire country of Latvia!  Over 1/3 of all Americans have some type of record, that’s about 70 million people on the conservative side, it is also equivalent to the entire country of France.  Statistics aside, here is some resume advice for those with a record.,from%20any%20negligent%20hiring%20claim.

First, do not lie on the job application. Lots of employers are fine with hiring felons but if you lie on the application, you will be automatically disqualified.

Get a CQE (Certification of Qualification for Employment). The CQE will allow persons living in the community who have a previous felony or misdemeanor conviction to apply to the court to lift the collateral sanctions that bars them from being considered for employment in a particular field. Fair warning this is a lengthy process.

Make a story for yourself. One of the simplest and best stories I ever heard was from a client.  “I went to college and started experimenting with drugs, those experiments led to a addiction and that addiction led me to crime.  With that being said, I have been sober for two years and trying to find my meaningful role in society”

Do not share your felony up front. Wait till the question is posed to you, then follow through with your story. It may be frustrating and easier to tell them up front and get it over with, but it will not work to your advantage.

Get help from your local government funded employment agencies, for example, Ohio has Ohio Means Jobs, Michigan has Michigan Works. Just Google it! Every state has some sort of government funded agency to assist with employment.

Criminal records, incarceration and resumes

Criminal records, incarceration and resumes


Stay patient and positive, having a felony does not mean you will not get a job. It will just be harder.

Getting a job with a criminal record can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Many people with criminal records have successfully found employment by following these steps:

  1. Self-Assessment and Skill Building:Resume Writing Services

    • Begin by assessing your skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Identify areas where you excel and areas where you need improvement. Consider taking courses or gaining certifications in areas related to your skills and interests.
    • Update your resume and cover letter to highlight your skills and accomplishments, focusing on positive experiences and skills that are relevant to the job you’re seeking.
  2. Know Your Rights:

  3. Expunge or Seal Your Record:

    • If possible, investigate the possibility of expunging or sealing your criminal record. This process varies by jurisdiction and the nature of the offense, but it can greatly improve your chances of finding employment.
  4. Be Honest and Prepare an Explanation:
    • It’s important to be upfront and honest about your criminal record during the application and interview process. Lying about it can result in immediate dismissal if discovered.
    • Prepare an explanation for your criminal record that emphasizes personal growth, rehabilitation, and the steps you’ve taken to become a responsible and law-abiding citizen.
  5. Networking:
    • Leverage your personal and professional network. Sometimes, personal connections can help you bypass initial screening processes and vouch for your character and abilities.
  6. Job Search Strategies:
    • Look for job opportunities that are more likely to hire individuals with criminal records, such as positions in industries with a shortage of workers, smaller businesses, or companies known for their second-chance hiring policies.
    • Use online job boards, government employment services, and nonprofit organizations that specialize in helping individuals with criminal records find employment.
  7. Resume Gaps:
    • If there are gaps in your employment history due to incarceration, consider using a functional resume format that focuses on skills and accomplishments rather than a chronological work history.
  8. Interview Preparation:
    • Practice your interview skills, including discussing your criminal record. Focus on your personal growth, rehabilitation efforts, and how you’ve changed since your conviction. Be prepared to discuss your skills, qualifications, and what you can bring to the role.
  9. References:
    • Secure references who can vouch for your character and work ethic. These references can include former employers, probation officers, mentors, or anyone who can speak positively about your abilities and rehabilitation.
  10. Stay Persistent:
    • The job search process can be discouraging, especially with a criminal record. Stay persistent and keep applying. Rejections may happen, but don’t lose hope.

Remember that finding a job with a criminal record may take time and patience, but it’s possible. Focus on your personal and professional growth, be honest about your past, and continue to work towards a better future.