A felony charge does leave a mark on your record, and it can affect your ability to secure the job you want. It’s true that getting a felony can negatively affect your ability to get a job in several ways, but it also may depend on your industry. Some industries have more lax rules regarding felonies, and some employers may treat one type of charge less harshly than others. Before you begin your job search, it’s a good idea to consult with a Sacramento criminal lawyer. There may be legal options you’re not aware of. When it comes to your income potential, the cost of visiting a lawyer may end up paying for itself.
The Hidden Job Market
If you know the industry you want to work in, it’s important to start networking as soon as possible. This could mean going to conventions, talking with people in your church or local community center, and letting your contacts on social networks know you are looking for employment. The hidden job market does exist, and it consists of the many jobs that never make it to a job board or website. These jobs are filled by candidates the employer already knows. Start by working low-wage positions doing favors for a local business, painting houses, or working for a small, family-owned business. As you gain credibility, you may find the people you are working for are willing to hire you full-time or refer you to someone that needs full-time work.
Be an Attractive Candidate
If you start off your job search by telling every employer that you have a felony, it probably won’t work out too well for you, even though you are trying to be up front and honest. Let the employer ask the question and get to know you a little first. Try to wait until the employer is considering you for the position, otherwise you may end up sabotaging yourself before you get a chance to present your case. If the employer has a strict rule about not hiring convicted felons, you’re not going to get the job. However, most employers are somewhat lenient and if you can present yourself well in an interview, the felony may not be as important to the employer. Make sure your resume is free of errors, and if you lack the skills necessary for a particular industry, volunteer to get the experience required.
Sealing Your Records
In some cases, if you have fulfilled a waiting period, usually 10 years, you can hire a lawyer to help seal your records. Sealing your records effectively removes the felony from your past. Additionally, many states allow you to state that you have no record when asked if you were ever convicted of a felony. This can make applying for jobs, getting student loans, and qualifying for other incentives easier. The waiting time to seal your record typically begins when you are released from prison or when the case ended in court. It’s not typically the final day of your probation.
Don’t Give Up
Felony charges can make it hard to find a job, but there are employers that will hire convicted felons. If you’re a good writer, know how to paint, or have another marketable skill, consider working part-time or even starting your own business. You are going to hear a lot of rejections from employers, but you will eventually find employment as long as you keep applying for jobs and keep trying to present yourself in the best way possible. Make sure you’re registered with the local unemployment office, and consider enlisting the help of a professional job search agency.
Some employers are going to judge you harshly because you have a felony. The important thing to remember is there are other jobs out there. Broaden your scope and apply to companies within a large area. Use the Internet to search for job openings, and don’t be afraid to walk in to a local business and ask if they are hiring. Do some research, put in the effort, and with a little time you will find a job.
This article is from Brooke Chaplan, a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.