Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting Hired with a Criminal Record

A criminal record is a burden that can follow you for years to come. No matter what the extent of your crime is, and what you’ve done to change since then, getting back out there into the workforce can be easier said than done. Though you may have good skills and the company may have a need for a great employee, a criminal record can sometimes taint opinions and block financial opportunities. Though the road to employment won’t be an easy one, here are some solutions to increase your chances of being hired with a criminal record:

Get Your Record Expunged

The first thing everyone with a criminal background should consider is getting their record expunged. This process can take some time but would ultimately erase their criminal past from the records. A clean record would obviously give you an easier chance at getting hired. Each state is different so you’ll need to reach out to find out if you’re eligible. If you’re qualified, you may even have the option to restore gun rights.

Learn a Trade

Trade schools will accept students with a criminal record. There are various trades that you could consider. With programs available to those with criminal backgrounds and the unemployed you can likely enter a trade program for free. Through learning a trade, you add more value to what you could be as an employee.


It may be necessary for you to volunteer for a while to put yourself back in the running for gainful employment. Find a cause you’re passionate about and volunteer for a while. Volunteer work always looks great on a resume and shows employers another side of you that your criminal background check won’t.

Apply in Person

Though applying for jobs online might seem like the better option to cover the most ground, it is an impersonal approach to getting a job. By going in person to apply and leave your resume, you’re giving employers a chance to see you, interact with you, and see your personality prior to completing any checks. Sometimes that personal touch can go a long way in landing you that job.


Internships are another ideal solution for getting your foot in the door of a company you’re interested in working for. As you gain more experience and connect with other employees, it’s a very real possibility that you could get hired. If nothing else, the companies you’ve interned for can serve as references which can help to outshine your past mistakes.

Try Side Gigs

Most side gigs won’t require a criminal background check, but they do give you the opportunity to earn money and experience as you’re searching for a job. Tutor students, cut grass for your neighbors, do some handy work, work on a construction site for the day, or perhaps do some bartending for a bar a few days out of the week.

At the end of the day, you made a mistake, one in which will take some time to bounce back from. The idea when looking for gainful employment is to try and present yourself in a light that is better than your past. By engaging in opportunities like trade schools, volunteering, internships, and side gigs you give yourself the opportunity to develop more real-world skills which can be added to your resume. Each of these options also generates a wealth of references that you can use to vouch for your good character and changed behavior. While it might take some time to land that job you’ve been looking for, you’ll be doing yourself a great justice by improving how valuable you can be to your next employer.

One thought on “Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting Hired with a Criminal Record

  1. It’s interesting to read about some of the ways that you can improve your career opportunities, even with a criminal record. My brother is having some issues getting a new job because of his past and I think it’d be good to take some of these things to heart. It makes sense that expunging your record can be very helpful, especially coupled with regular volunteering and showing that you’re a participating member of society. Thanks for the post!

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