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Job Searching 101: Can Old Crime Haunt Your New Opportunities?

Looking for work is not always easy. It can be challenging to find the perfect job that fits into your schedule and is something that you want to do. There are many things that can make a job search more tedious. This includes the economic climate, your qualifications, and your chosen industry. Despite the average turnover rate being at 18 percent in the U.S., jobs may seem scarce. It can be even more challenging to find work when you have a criminal history. In addition, it can leave a mark on your background check. If you have a criminal past, there are some things you need to consider when looking for your next job.

You Should Understand Your Rights

You should know what is on your history before you begin your job search. Various incidents from arrests with or without convictions may show up on your record. It might be possible for you to have your records expunged or sealed, which means they will not show up on a background check. This depends on the severity of the crime, your age at the time of the crime, and how much time has passed since the crime. If you were a minor when the crime happened, this might be a viable option.

It is not illegal for a potential employer to ask about your arrests or convictions. However, they are not to use that as a sole reason for not hiring you. Depending on the state, there are some laws that protect you from what a potential employer can ask or what you have to report, including DUIs. In 2020, over New Year’s, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported 491 arrests for DUI, which equals about one every four minutes. In addition, employers must inform you when they are doing a background check. This will highlight your credit history, arrest history, and employment record.

Be Realistic About Your Options

Regardless of the protections under the law, there may be some work that you cannot get. An employer may decide not to hire you because they feel you cannot be trusted to do the job. For example, if you were arrested for stealing money, most likely, you would not be able to work in a bank. You may have to start with a lower-paying job to begin to establish a work history, reputation, and trust. You may have to work hard to show people you can be trusted.

Networking Is Crucial

Networking may be the best way to find work when you have a record. Find a group or association for your desired industry and attend meetings. This allows you to make connections with people in the industry, and it may be easier for you to find a job. You could potentially get a job this way when otherwise, the employer may not even give you a second look. When your reputation and character are in question, you can add some personal references to your resume. This gives people a potential employer can contact that can vouch for your trustworthiness. You may want to start with smaller companies with a more family feel. Large companies are well-known for offering lower introductory prices to new customers, not older clients. They tend to ignore the needs and wants of these older clients. They do the same thing to their employees and often focus on younger, newer employees.

When you have a criminal record and are looking for work, you should be honest and forthcoming. You do not want to highlight it on your resume, but you should be prepared to answer any questions honestly. You may need to be a little more patient during the process because it could take a little longer for you.