How to Find Jobs for People With Arrest Records


Finding employment when you have a criminal record can prove very challenging. Even in the best of economic times, employers are reluctant to put themselves at risk by employing felons or those with extensive criminal backgrounds. The opportunities for offenders are not necessarily high-paying or enjoyable, but jobs are occasionally available.

  • Be humble. If your criminal background is extensive, you are not likely to find a job where you are paid well or are able to make your own decisions while at work. Social services agencies often run welfare-to-work programs or vocational rehabilitation programs for those who need assistance entering the workforce. In some cases, agencies specialize in hiring felons, while other agencies specialize in hiring mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged employees as well as those with criminal backgrounds.

  • Consider the Army. If you have stayed away from a life of crime for a while and can point to signs that you have rehabilitated yourself, you might qualify to join the Army. Talk to an Army recruiter to learn about waivers the Army can grant when potential recruits have a criminal history.

  • Apply for jobs in restaurants and the service industry. Many employers are not concerned with their kitchen employees' criminal background. Jobs as line cooks, dishwashers, fast food team members and other low-skill positions are sometimes available to felons and ex-offenders. In other cases, offenders can get employment as janitors, housekeepers and in other positions that require labor-intensive cleaning. You may also want to inquire as to whether local day labor placement agencies will give offenders work.

  • Join community groups or support groups. Substance recovery groups and other 12-steps groups can be great places to network and find about job opportunities. Some community group are organized specifically to help those released from prison to re-enter the community. If convict-"friendly" employees can be found in your area, chances are someone in one of these groups knows about it. If you attend church or are otherwise actively religious, the clergy may be willing to assist you.

  • Familiarize yourself with the law. In most fields, employers do not have to bar felons from employment. Moreover, depending on the nature of your crime and the state your live in, you may be able to get your record cleared of certain offenses. If your job requires an extensive background check, this prior offense may show up, but not every job requires such a background check.

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