What to Include in a Job Application When You Have a Criminal Record

By Joel Hancock

After facing the consequences of a criminal conviction, you likely just want to move forward with your life. Unfortunately, your conviction often follows you. When you’re searching and applying for jobs, you may feel the desire to hide your past mistakes in fear that your conviction will prevent you from obtaining employment. However, it’s extremely important that you are very honest during the application process. Here’s what to know about what you should include on a job application when you have a criminal record.

1. Be Honest

It may seem to be beneficial to leave your conviction off of your job application, but most employers conduct background checks. This means that even if an employer really likes you, when they run the background check and see a discrepancy, they may no longer be interested in hiring you for your dishonesty alone. Lying or withholding this information can seriously hurt your credibility.

2. Lead with Your Qualifications

While it’s important not to lie on your job application, it’s even more important to draw attention to positive attributes, such as your skills, experience, and qualifications as they relate to the job in question. Focus on how your experience and abilities align with job requirements and highlight how this can bring value to the business.

3. Proactively Address Your Past

The way in which you address your criminal record on your job application is key. Rather than going into great detail on your application, be proactive and put together a thoughtful statement owning up to your past and framing it in a manner that expresses how much you have grown since then. You also want to drive home that the mistakes that you have made in your life do not define who you are or what you are capable of.

4. Prepare Your Answers

North Carolina has “ban-the-box” laws, which prohibit employers from asking potential employees about their criminal history on initial job applications. It’s important to understand that you do not have to disclose any expunged criminal history on a pre-employment screening questionnaire. Instead, you have the ability to demonstrate your character, your intelligence, and your value before you disclose your record. However, once you reach the interview phase, it’s possible that you may be asked about your criminal record. You should become familiar with how you will answer any related questions, including how you have moved forward.

5. Share Character References

In order to help prove who you truly are, it can be extremely beneficial to collect character references who can attest to who you are, your values, and how you aren’t your mistakes. This can greatly offset concerns about your convictions.

While it can be very stressful having to admit to your past wrongs, it’s important to remain honest throughout the job application process. Your honesty can go a long way.

Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

If you have been charged with a crime, you may have options. You have the right to defend yourself. Your best bet of doing so successfully is with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney who understands criminal law and what you are up against and will fight on your behalf.

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, our criminal defense lawyers fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you to fight this charge. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

About the Author
Joel Hancock is a native of Carteret County, NC. He devotes 100% of his practice to defending those accused of traffic infractions, DWI, misdemeanors, and felonies in Carteret County, NC.