Applying for Jobs with a Criminal Record: What to Do

While you’re hunting for a new job, you may see a few familiar patterns popping up—all employers want cover letters, they all want references, and they all want to perform background checks. All of these are relatively routine, but if you have a criminal record, that last point may present a problem.

If you’ve ever been arrested, charged, or convicted, it will show up on your criminal record. While this is enough to make anybody nervous, there are some steps that you can take to protect yourself while you’re applying for jobs.

What You Need to Know

When you’re applying for jobs and you have a criminal record, it’s important to remember a few things. In this situation—as in all situations—you are entitled to certain legal rights. It could prove critically important for you to be aware of them.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Don’t panic. The most important thing to remember is that a criminal record does not make you unemployable. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you have a record, you will never be able to find any job anywhere.
  2. Be honest. If an employer asks you personally about your criminal history, this is your chance to be honest. Take that chance. If the employer then conducts a background check that reveals information that you failed to mention (or blatantly lied about), you could be putting yourself in a much worse situation.
  3. You don’t have to divulge the details. Remember that if an employer or application asks about past convictions, you need only to speak to the past crimes that you have been convicted of. If other charges have been brought against you but have not resulted in convictions, you don’t need to include them. Familiarize yourself with the laws regarding which information you must divulge.
  4. Check the report. If an employer performs a background check on you, the reporting company is required to give you a copy of the report. Sometimes these reports are inaccurate. If this is the case, you can and should contact the company that performed the report and sort everything out. Usually, the company will fix their errors and will send a corrected version of the report to your employer.

Clean Up Your Rap Sheet

The best thing you can do to ensure that you are not refused a job on the basis of your criminal record is to get your record sealed. Sealing your record ensures that virtually no one—including potential employers—will be able to see it.

Not all crimes are eligible to be sealed, but some can. Crimes that are eligible to be sealed include dismissals or deferred judgments and petty offense convictions such as petty drug offenses.

In order to get your record sealed, you must:

  • Complete the required paperwork, including a petition letter
  • File all necessary documents with the court
  • After receiving an order and notice of hearing from the court, mail that order to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the District Attorney, and the law enforcement agency that handled your case

If none of the involved parties object, you will be able to seal your record and virtually no one will be able to access it. If any of the involved parties object, however, your case will have to be reviewed in court. A knowledgeable attorney will help you ensure that things go smoothly.

If you would like to take the steps to seal your record and ensure that your past mistakes do not affect your future plans, an experienced local attorney will be able to help. Contact our law offices today for more information.


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