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3 important tips before you start your job search with a criminal record

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If yes, you probably know that finding a job with a criminal record can be a stressful process that sometimes feels impossible. The discouragement you feel when being turned down for a job solely based on your background check is valid. Even though more and more employers are offering fair-chance job opportunities, having a criminal record is still a significant disadvantage when searching for a job.


Finding a felony-friendly job isn't easy. But Honest Jobs has years of experience in connecting people with second-chance jobs, and we know that finding a job with a criminal background is far from impossible. We are here are to help.

First of all, most of the people with criminal records come from troubled homes and lifestyles that essentially shape their way of thinking. To work for a brighter future and build something that lasts, it is extremely important to have a strong foundation.

1. Change “victim mindset” to “determined mindset!”

Having a victim mentality will stop you from moving on with your life. There are certain things that you cannot change, you have to accept the facts and move on. Do not blame others and do not let your criminal record determine your ability to succeed.


Once you abandon the “victim mindset”, the best way of thinking to pursue is the “determined mindset”. You are in control of your own destiny and you decide how you want to live your life. The best way to have a determined mindset is to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound). You can read more about SMART goals and how to create your own here. Write down a list of small steps that will help you succeed and check them off as you accomplish them. Make sure that you have it in a visible place so you can always reflect on it for motivation that keeps you going. It is important to note, that building something great takes time, but it can be done with determination.


2. Building the right habits

We tend to think that only big actions have great results. However, the little things that you do daily can create habits that will be extremely beneficial for your life. Just as eating healthy and exercising daily will lead to weight loss, you can develop daily habits that hiring managers are looking for. Take responsibility for your actions and turn them into productive habits.

3. Spend your time wisely

Time is one of the most valuable resources we have, and we should use it efficiently. After being released from incarceration, it is important to start working as soon as possible. This first job is meant to keep you busy and bring you some income while looking for a better opportunity. It can also give you more experience to talk about when preparing for your next interview. Moreover, depending on the specification of your sentencing, you may have community service you must complete until a certain deadline. Do not procrastinate getting started!


If you are determined to get a certain job, do things that will be beneficial for you as an employee in the role. There are plenty of materials in libraries or online that you can use to improve your skills. However, not everyone knows what they want to pursue. It is a great time to learn about yourself and find out what you see yourself doing in the future. Doing some free “Career Quizzes” online can help point you in the right direction.

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