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Criminal Record in Your Past? How to Find a Job and Still Get Hired September 5, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in Jobhunting Pinoy Style.
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A criminal record is often the kiss of death for your jobhunting hopes.  Often, it will be very difficult for you to land a job because most employers are wary about you and your future performance.  However, that doesn’t automatically mean you won’t be able to get a job.  You still can but be warned – the road to good employment will be hard.  Use these tips so you can get back on your feet again:

Consider personal contacts.
There’s a high likelihood you can get rejected by companies with whom you do not have personal relationships or contacts.  Why?  The trust factor has not been established.  Try tapping your family, friends and acquaintances for job leads instead.  They will be more likely to take the chance to hire you than those who don’t know you.

Look for jobs in small or medium-sized companies.
Large corporations tend to have very stringent requirements regarding applicants, so your best bet would be small businesses and independent or private employers. 

Be professional.
Do not be apologetic about your past.  It’s done and over with and nobody, not even you, can change it.  Avoid being arrogant about it either.  Your employers may think that you’re the type who won’t own up to his mistakes.  That’s the kind of image you don’t want people to associate with you.

Instead, show them you are sincere about starting over and that you are quite capable of doing a good job.  You already regret doing whatever wrong thing you’ve done but it’s time for you to move on.

Be able to offer a skill.
If you have a criminal record and are trying to get employed, it often pays to have extra skills.  That way, you have something to fall back on.  Often, you’ll find that the jobs you can get are those that require strong skills. 

Having extra skills also makes you a ‘safer’ hire for most companies.  Let’s say you were convicted of estafa.  Do you really think you could still work again as an accountant?  Of course not.  Since you won’t be able to use your professional skills, best learn other skills which you can use to earn a living.

Should you put your criminal record in your resume?
Absolutely not.  If you have a criminal record, there’s no need to plaster it on your resume for everyone to see.  When you’re applying for the job, simply include all your work experience, training and skills on your resume.  Save the coming out later, when you’re being interviewed.

Very often, you’ll also find company questionnaires or application documents that ask if you have ever been convicted.  Answer this truthfully.  This will bring the issue out in the most convenient way for you.  Don’t wait for your employer to discover your arrest or incarceration or hear it from someone else.  Remember that companies like to perform background checks.  If you’ve been jailed or convicted of any criminal offense before, your employer will find out.

See the bright side but don’t expect too much.
It pays to be optimistic but don’t keep your expectations too high.  If you have a criminal record, employers will be hesitant to hire you and that’s a fact.  So expect to be challenged. 

However, don’t give up.  Instead of wallowing in your mistakes, focus on what you can do as a person – your skills, training, characteristics and all the qualifications that make you a desirable and valuable hire.  Be confident about who you are and professional about your dealings.

If all else fails…
Start your own business.  If you can’t imagine yourself doing odd jobs or jumping from one contractual job to the next because you can’t be hired as a fulltime employee, you could use a trade skill as a basis for your business.  You’re your own boss and don’t have to go through a screening process at all. 

You will need to find a way around certain licenses and permits because you might be questioned.  However, once you’re over that, you should be on your way.  Who knows?  You could even help out other jobhunters who have a problem that’s similar to yours.  As for your criminal record, it will still be there but no one will probably ask you about it.

What’s your story?

Do you have a criminal record?  Did you find it difficult to jobhunt?  If you were successful in landing a job, tell us how you did here and help others learn from your tips and tactics.

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