Finding a job is a difficult process for anyone, but when you have a criminal record, it can be discouraging. It’s important to stay positive during your search. The good news is the average number of years a criminal background check covers is 7 years for many employers. If you are still worried about finding a job, we have some advice.

Stay connected

Networking is very important for anyone seeking a job. Don’t let your background stop you from reaching out and meeting new people who can help you find a new path. Create a LinkedIn profile, and emphasize your skills and work history. Attend business events and job fairs; making a great first impression can really make a difference.

You can also reach out to your social media connections for help.  They are more likely to be familiar with your situation and your skillset and can be on the look-out for jobs that fit your need.  By calling on your social media’s friends list you can multiply the eyes and ears you having looking for a job tenfold.

There are several community action groups that can help you in your search. Groups like National H.I.R.E. Network, America Works, and National Transitional Jobs Network can help restored citizens find both jobs and resources for job training. These groups, and others, have several programs that can help get you ready to work.

Where to apply

Discovering where to find work is overwhelming. A great place to start is a staffing agency. Staffing agencies hire for several types of companies in their area. The agency’s job is to help you find a good fit, as well as a good fit for the company. This will help you apply for several different jobs at once. Also, most staffing agencies work with people of all backgrounds.

Onin Staffing is especially welcoming of any candidate, despite their history.  We welcome applicants to come as they are and we will work with them to find an opportunity that not only fits the fact that they have a record but also their special skills and career goals.

A quick online job search will give you several companies hiring in your area. There are several industries that hire people with criminal records. Glassdoor.com lists several fields that have been successful for restored citizens: production, manufacturing, marketing, food service, sales, graphic design, logistics, trucking, construction, landscaping, and other technical fields. If you have skills in any of these areas, they offer a great career.

The best policy

Discussing your past with a future employer can be hard. Employers need to know about your history, but only if it is related to the job. Be sure you know what is on your record before you go for an interview. Honesty is the best policy, and being upfront about your past will show that you take accountability for your actions. However, be wise about how much you share, so you don’t talk yourself out of a job.

If your crime happened many years ago you may want to let employers know of this fact.  Many times we can attribute our mishaps to being “young and dumb” which most people (even those without an official rap sheet) can relate to.  If your situation is fairly recent then be honest with employers about this but that you are ready to begin life anew and do better this time.

During the interview process, really focus on what you learned from the experience and how it changed you. Everyone makes mistakes in life; what is important is learning the lesson. Demonstrate how you have changed. Explain any mitigating factors, and how your life has been affected. Everyone deserves another chance.

Focus on skills

You have a lot to offer a company, so talk about that. Keep the interview focused on your skill sets and how you are an asset to the company. Know that you have value. You bring experience to a position that few have. Sell yourself in the interview, but be honest.

Working the job

Once you have the job, make a good impression. Attendance and attitude are very important. You have the chance to show your boss what you’re worth. Start from where you are and work your way up to better positions. You have a chance to make some great changes in your life.

Job hunting is always intimidating, but stay positive. You’ve learned a lot in your life and you have a lot to offer an employer. Never forget that you have value. Now go get that job.