Look into the company’s policies.
Research whether your criminal record must be
addressed, based on the company’s policies.
Many employers conduct background checks,
so be sure you know what to expect.
Spotlight your transferable skills.
When listing your skills at the beginning
of your resume, focus on any skills that
can apply or be transferred to the position
you want. Employers want to know that
you’re flexible and willing to learn.
Explain your circumstances.
Depending on your circumstances, you may
want to address your conviction in a cover
letter or an accompanying letter.
Provide examples of
If you can provide examples on your resume
of times when you demonstrated your
value, do so. Giving concrete examples
of past accomplishments can carry more
weight than simply listing skills.
Create a skills-based resume.
Start your resume with a list of qualifications
relevant to the position you’re seeking.
Detail any experience or accomplishments
related to those qualifications.
Emphasize the positive.
Highlight any new skills or experience gained
during your incarceration that may be relevant
to the job you’re seeking. Any education you
received while in prison can be listed on your
resume the same as traditional education.
Move work history farther
down your resume.
Your resume should emphasize your
qualifications, not your work history.
However, be sure to list your work history
after your skills and experience. If you had
a job while in prison, list the state as your
employer in your work history.
Know your rights.
Depending on where you are, there may be
laws that prohibit employers from asking
certain questions about your criminal record.
Know your rights regarding what employers
can and cannot ask on the application
and during the interview.
Don’t try to hide or lie
about your record.
Although some employers may be wary
of hiring someone with a criminal record,
they’re sure to turn down anyone who
lies about his or her past.
Answer questions honestly,
but don’t over-explain.
If employers ask questions about your
criminal record, be forthcoming and honest.
However, don’t dwell on it — you may
come across as if you’re trying to make
excuses for your past behavior.
A criminal record can seriously hinder a job search, but a strong resume can help you
overcome it. Here are some tips for writing a good resume even with a criminal record.
Resume Writing Tips
For Job Seekers With Criminal Records