Trying to Find Employment but Have a Criminal Record


Finding work is hard enough, but what happens to job seekers who have a criminal record? What are the work opportunities for someone with a criminal record?

A criminal record is not necessarily a sentence for life without a job, or a decent job. It does mean the job seeker has a harder time than others, and must work to regain trust and confidence. The most important aspect though is to make sure the job seeker believes in himself/herself, and is willing to accept that the job may have to start at the beginning, with re-education.

Criminal Record but Wants to Find Employment

Q. Hello.

My dear twin brother is anxious to get into a career but is not sure were to turn. He has a criminal record, unfortunetely (minor violence, trespassing, drugs), but is trying hard to get back into life and help his

family. He has poor interpersonal skills but is nice; he’s smart, but bokwise, lacking hands on skills. Memorizing great amounts of detailed information can be difficult for him, and his computer knowledge is minimal. Any advice PLEASE

Thank you

A. How commendable about your brother, and he has taken the first step towards being employed again – asking you for help. The most important skill your brother needs is to believe in himself and have the courage to keep at it. This is a major change and will take time.

You don’t mention though how long ago these incidents took place, or how long your brother has been out of jail or probation. I will assume he is off probation, but usually the probation officer tries to ensure there is some sort of job waiting for the released person. And the first person he should talk to is his parole officer.

The reason is simple – there are many programs subsidized by the local government to help those out of jail, and the parole officer will know of these programs. As well, depending on many factors (length of record, how long ago), your brother can apply for a pardon. While this won’t get him a job, it does make it easier on the required background checks.

Upgrade Interpersonal Skills, Learn a Trade through Subsidized Programs

If your brother cannot contact the parole officer, then the next step is to go to the local Employment office. Again, there are many free programs or subsidized courses that will help your brother learn a trade, or get computer skills, or even upgrade his interpersonal skills.

Of course the Employment office, as well as the local YMCA and library, will also have seminars and personal help for your brother to create a resume and cover letter. These places will also help him to learn how to look for appropriate work.

Take a Free Skills Assessment

Your brother should also try out some assessment tests – there are many free ones on the internet. Read the article Career Advice and Assessments for some specific sites. Taking these tests will help him figure out a few areas he may want to work in, as well as what his aptitude is for certain types of work.

Turn an Interest or Hobby into a Job

If your brother has a special interest or hobby, such as photography, or is good with animals, he can turn this to his advantage and either create his own job (ie dog walking or pet watching, or cleaning animals at a vet’s) or take minimal training or volunteer to gain experience. Again, the assessment tests can help here.

Bottom Line

By upgrading his skills in computer, interpersonal, and gaining knowledge in a particular industry or trade through continuing education, yo

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Having retired after teaching Field Biology for many years, I have a wide range of topics to write on. My interests are photographing animals and plants, vacationing with my family, enjoying my grandchildren, dancing, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, gardening, winter activities, leading nature walks, writing notes on nature, and home improvements (we are renovating our retirement home). With all that I am doing now, you may wonder how I ever found the time to work - of course, most of the other things were put on hold all those years.


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