Searching for a job today is stressful enough, even for those without a criminal record. And if you’ve been convicted before or had the slightest scrape with the law, most employers may be hesitant to hire you. That’s because such a misdemeanor often blots your copybook and damages your reputation. Although you can’t possibly control what your potential employer does, you control how you conduct your job search and present yourself.

Landing a decent job with a criminal record is similar to finding another job after being laid off. You’ll have low self-esteem and might probably feel you’re being ignored at every turn. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get a job despite your criminal record. One is working alongside employment lawyers such as Forum Law to help you approach this delicate matter in a more professional manner.  Here are a few tips for conducting an effective job search with a criminal record:

1. Know your rights

Sometimes you don’t have to reveal your history to a potential employer. This may include cases such as an arrest that doesn’t result in a conviction, when an arrest is no longer pending trial, if you’re in a pretrial adjudication for some minor offense that’s not criminal by statute, or if several years have passed since you were convicted.

Additionally, you may have erased the offense by obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation, or you’re an adult once convicted by a juvenile court whose records have since been expunged or sealed. Make sure you familiarize yourself with local or state legislation that considers it illegal for a potential employer to reject your job application due to your criminal record. You must also understand when you’re mandated to explain your criminal record.

2. Look for employers willing to hire people with criminal records

Look for postings with a “second chance” or “fair chance” tag. You can find such jobs by including “fair chance” in your search on job platforms such as Indeed. There are also several major organizations committed to recruiting people with a conviction history. This is their way of saying they would like to trust you with some responsibility and that everyone deserves a second chance. Seeking out such employers can make your job search less stressful since they have no prejudice concerning your criminal record.

 3. Apply to Jobs Unrelated to Your Conviction

There will always be roles you won’t be able to apply for, especially those related to your crime. For instance, if you’ve ever been convicted of fraud, it can be nearly impossible to get a role that involves dealing with large sums of money. It can also be difficult to get a delivery job if you’ve been charged with reckless driving in the past. Consider applying for roles where background checks are not mandatory; rather, it’s your ability to do the job effectively that counts. Such industries include hospitality, manufacturing, and construction.


We all learn from our mistakes. Proving that you’ve turned your life around after a brush with the law can go a long way to show how determined and resilient you are as a person. Such traits are truly sought after and valued in the workplace. You can further boost your chances of landing a job by taking relevant courses, volunteering, and showing you’re honestly willing to start afresh from the bottom if needed.