Serving a criminal sentence is tough, and unfortunately that adversity can also follow you to the workforce. Many employers do background checks on potential candidates to know whether they have criminal records. On top of that, employers are always choosy when selecting new employees and have a tendency to throw out any candidates with a criminal record right at the start of their search.

It makes it difficult to even get in the door to talk to someone, in some cases. Some of the challenges many people face when looking for a job while having a criminal record include the following:

Blanket bans


Some places will automatically disqualify anyone with a criminal background, irrespective of the steps a person has taken to serve their sentence or to meet other required actions. This generally stems from a company using a background check and simply filtering out candidates with certain details. It’s unfortunate, and it’s something that many people with a criminal record will deal with while looking for a job.

Good moral character clause

Good moral character” is a requirement for holding a license according to licensing regulations. It is interpreted to mean that individuals having criminal records should not receive licenses. Even though licensing authorities analyze what “good moral character” constitutes, it remains challenging for individuals with criminal records to get permits.

Loss of income


Individuals formerly incarcerated have costly occupational licensing requirements, which are compounded. During the incarceration period, your family experiences a loss of income, and once you are released, you lack sufficient income to support your family or yourself. And once you’re able to work again, you may be offered a lower salary than others because of that charge.

Lack of education

When applying to higher education institutes, it is generally required to reveal any criminal convictions you may have. And unfortunately, just like job applications, your criminal background may close some doors in terms of the education you can pursue.

Prohibited professions


Having a criminal record is carrying a long term weight that can be discouraging. You may have your eye on a particular job, only to be disappointed because of your criminal record. Certain professions may exclude you depending on your convicted offense.

Business licenses and permits

A criminal record can hinder your entrepreneurial dreams. You may not be permitted specific business licenses or permits depending on the profession you may be interested in. Many convicted individuals find it frustrating to look for business licenses and permits, making it difficult for them to do any business.

The challenges above are extremely discouraging many convicted individuals from looking for a job. They make them feel like they still have another sentence to serve irrespective of having done their term already. As challenging as it may seem to get a job with a criminal record, there is still a way to get to the end of the tunnel. The following are some of the ways to get around looking for a job with a criminal job:

First and foremost, it is critical not to lie about your criminal record when seeking employment. It shows honesty and can secure your job if you get one. Lying about having a criminal record is a crime in itself, and you wouldn’t want to taint your new sheet if you are starting afresh.


Not all states are strict with convicted individuals looking for a job. Some states will not have many restrictions for you when seeking employment. Either way, when looking for employment with your criminal record, ensure, to be honest with your potential employer. Explain your story and how you have changed and are willing to make a positive impact on the company.

Ask for letters of recommendation from reliable and trustworthy sources. Look for individuals that can speak positively about your character and abilities. It may include prominent members of the society, landlords, and previous employers, depending on the relationship you had.

Seek assistance from supportive employment agencies. Specific state and local agencies are geared to assist convicted individuals in landed jobs after serving their term. Take advantage of such opportunities that can help you to get employment and back on your feet.

As an ex-offender, knowing your legal rights is one weapon that can assist you when seeking employment. Depending on your state, employers may take advantage of your situation and deny you employment even if it is your legal right.

The above tips can make your job-seeking process smooth and reduce the stress and frustrations you may need. When working with your attorney, there are certain things that you can do to make the process easier. The following are a couple of ways that your attorney can come in handy to make your job hunting process easy:

Your lawyer should take you through the federal protections such as EEOC and FCRA. A reasonable attorney should enlighten you on what the federal law offers to protect convicted individuals.


A local criminal defense attorney like Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLC will understand your state’s laws and should advise you accordingly, depending on the specific protections provided by your state. It allows you to know your options and how you can secure employment.

A reasonable attorney can look into how to get your records expunged. Expungement may vary from state to state, but your attorney should know how to go about it. The process of expungement has no guarantees and is complicated for many. For an individual looking for a job with a criminal record, the process is worth a try.

Individuals commit crimes for different reasons. Some regret their actions, while others do not. Either way, when looking for employment with a criminal record, the crime can be a scar that never fades. The process is not easy, and many states have restrictions and regulations limiting convicted individuals. The solutions mentioned above are not a sure way of getting a job with a criminal record, but appropriate guidelines to steer you in the right direction.

Job seeking is challenging for all individuals since most economies struggle with unemployment issues. It means that the probability of a previously convicted individual looking for a job is much lower than a non-convict. Suppose you are looking for employment with a criminal record. In that case, it is critical to prepare yourself mentally that you are working within a competitive environment and should use every tool at your disposal.