We’ve all made mistakes in our past. It’s just that some people may be culpable of misdeeds that go beyond a simple apology, the type of misdeeds that landed them with a criminal record. While anyone is capable of recognizing the travails of their past and actively trying to turn over a new leaf, the mud that comes with a criminal conviction tends to stick, not least when it comes to seeking employment, as interviewers will naturally have reservations about hiring a candidate who has spent time in prison.

This infographic from Hansen & Company outlines what you should do and say if you are applying for a job and you have had a criminal record in the past. This may be less of an obstacle than it initially seems, as the prospective employer might make no mention of the existence of a criminal record in the job advert. If you are required to disclose details of a previous conviction, be honest about it and emphasize that, while you erred in the past, you have taken tangible steps towards putting things right. This could be through attending rehabilitation programs, volunteering your time for the benefit of others or starting a family that is peaceful and tight-knit.

Many employers will look past a minor conviction, especially if it pertains to a time that has long since passed. This is only likely to present a problem if the conviction is directly linked to the job. For example, a motoring offence will almost certainly disqualify you from any delivery driver vacancies, while a more serious offence involving the compromising of young people’s safety will inevitably hold you back if you wish to become a teacher.

If you are called for an interview and you have had a criminal record against you name, it’s up to you to convince your employer that you’ve changed your ways and you can demonstrate how you’ve tried to correct past mistakes. The worst thing you could do is gloss it over and run the risk of it coming to light at a later stage. If you own up to it at the interview phase, the employer will most likely see someone who is aware of their past, is honest enough to take responsibility for misdemeanors and has had the determination to learn from their mistakes.

Employers cannot automatically reject a candidate purely because of the existence of a criminal record, so if you have had one to your name, don’t let it deter you from seeking work.

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