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Tips for starting your career with a criminal record

Nowadays, many companies require mandatory background checks for every new job applicant. If you have a criminal record, this could create obstacles for you in getting hired – regardless of whether you were convicted. It’s a system that makes it difficult for many good people to get a fresh start.

Still, your prospects of getting a job – and even starting a career – may not be as bad as you might think. It can be frustrating and demoralizing to submit application after application without even getting an interview. But it’s possible you’re looking for work in the wrong places.

Some jobs have strict rules against hiring felons. Most government agencies and financial institutions, for example, will not hire felons. In other industries, however, you can find a lot more possibilities. Here are some tips to boost your chances of landing a job.

Seek out small companies

In many larger companies, having a criminal record means that your resume will automatically be weeded out by human resources or a resume-filtering system from the start. It’s good to apply for jobs at small businesses, so that you have the opportunity to meet with the hiring manager in person and impress them face to face. Landscaping companies, for instance, are often small enough to help you get noticed. They also tend to require little to no training or previous experience.

Look for opportunities to learn and grow

Most employers in the construction industry do not require background checks. This industry also has opportunities for frequent pay raises. In addition, it has many niche areas of work – from roofing to plumbing to carpentry. Learning a useful trade like these can set you up to start your own business one day.

Apply to franchises

We’ve already discussed the value of applying to small companies. But that doesn’t mean that large corporations are off the table. Many international restaurant corporation – such as McDonald’s – are actually franchises. So, while the corporation may have policies against hiring people with a criminal record, the franchise may not.

Be a freelancer

You can always market your skills to customers directly. You can put up flyers in your neighborhood advertising your services as a lawn mower or house cleaner. You can also search for contractor jobs online. Many companies’ policies for hiring employees and for hiring contractors are different. This means that you could get a contractor job at a company where their policy would’ve prevented them from hiring you as an employee.

A criminal record can create a setback in your job search. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good career you deserve. Knowing how to put the odds in your favor is the first step toward landing a great job.

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