It was more than five years ago that your life completely changed. You might have been going through a difficult time, dealing with relationship problems, struggling to make ends meet, or just rebelling against the “system” or your parents or someone else. Whatever happened, you committed a crime, were charged with a felony, were found guilty and served time.
Now you are trying to get on with your life, rebuild it, and have a great career that you can enjoy. However, since you’ve been released from prison, you’ve noticed it’s extremely difficult to find adequate employment (Time Magazine). You’ve been looking around and understand that you will have to start from the ground floor and work your way up, but you can’t seem to get any potential employer to even call you back, let alone bring you in for an interview so you can explain your situation, what happened all those years ago, and how you’ve changed.
That’s because when you fill out your application, most employers have a section that asks whether or not you have been convicted of a felony in the past. Given enough time, you may be tempted to begin lying about this, hoping that your potential future employer doesn’t check your permanent record.
Your public record can be accessed by anyone whom you give permission to look at it. When you fill out an application, you sign the document at the end agreeing to give permission to the potential employer to run a background check and maybe even a credit check before you are hired.
There are some employers who will never even look at those who are considered ex-convicts, who have a felony conviction on their record. It doesn’t matter what type of crime was committed, how minor it may have seemed, or that it is the lowest classification of felony, just one step above a misdemeanor. Those employers simply have a hard and fast rule against hiring anybody who has a felony conviction on their record.
While it may seem to be a monumental task to build a quality and lucrative career, it’s not impossible. There are plenty of good career options for felons. It just make may take more time to get into the right company and work your way up to the position you would like to see yourself working for the rest of your life.
Here are five ways you can go about finding the best career for felons, for yourself or somebody you care about.
- Consider career advancement potential.
You may have an easier time getting employment at a fast food restaurant than at a Fortune 500 company at first, but unless you have the desire to become a restaurant manager or possibly even own a franchise in the future, there is only limited potential for a career in these fields.
At the same token, getting into any employment can help you begin establishing that you are reliable, honest, and completely reformed from your previous behavior. That could be essential when you begin searching for work with a different employer in the future.
- Don’t discount any job at the moment.
As just mentioned, taking on any type of job you can get at first, even if it pays minimum wage, could help you show a future employer that you are a worthy investment, even if you have a felony conviction on your record.
- Consider construction jobs for felons.
If you’re handy with tools, you could find work at a construction company, either working on building homes, buildings, highways, or more. Even if you don’t have prior experience with some of these type of jobs, some construction employers will take on strong, young, healthy men and women who have a true passion for this type of work.
- Think about becoming an apprentice.
You could potentially look at becoming a plumber or electrician in the future, and if so, you may need to begin as an apprentice. You want to make sure, though, that your state will permit you to get a license in that field when the time comes. Some states restrict licensure for those who have been convicted of a felony in the past.
- Carefully consider all of your options.
While you may feel like your life is passing you by, especially if you served a number of years in prison, avoid the temptation to rush into any process when focusing on a career for your future. Even if you are in your 30s, 40s, or 50s and are starting over, it’s never too late to have an enjoyable, profitable, and exceptional career as a felon.
It is certainly going to be a greater challenge to build a quality career for felons than for those who have never been charged or convicted of a crime, and some careers will not be possible, there are still many things convicted felons can still do for work and enjoy what they do.