How to Get a Job as a Felon: An Employment Guide For Checkered Pasts

As someone who had to learn how to get a job as a felon from the time he was nineteen years old, I know what it is like looking at that box they ask you to check for have you ever been convicted of a felony? The world wants to judge you for your past when it is something you have moved on from; you wish they would too.

This guide on getting a job with a felony helps navigate through the struggles of searching for a job, gives you resources for companies who only hire felons, and helps you understand your rights while using your past experiences constructively in your career. This guide will help you turn your past setbacks into a fresh start pointing you into your new career.

Key Takeaways for How To Get a Job as a Felon

  • Gain thorough knowledge of your rights and restrictions as a felon in the workforce, use tools like the Restoration Rights Project, and tap into fresh start programs and federal resources such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
  • Craft a functional resume that emphasizes skills and achievements, strategically addresses employment gaps, and leverages references and training to demonstrate your ongoing commitment to professional development.
  • Approach job interviews with the confidence to discuss your past honestly, share examples of change and growth, and follow up professionally to leave a positive lasting impression while identifying felon-friendly employers and enhancing qualifications.
  • How to change your mindset from your past holding you back to your experiences in life being your greatest asset to move you ahead within your career.

Understanding Your Rights and Restrictions as a Person With a Record

how to get a job as a felon

When you begin your search for employment, knowing your rights will help you navigate challenges because challenges will arise when you have a felony conviction on your record. Prior to starting your pursuit of a job, it’s important you study and get yourself acquainted with the legal rights and potential limitations you might face. Equipping yourself with this information can open doors to prospects that might otherwise seem out of reach due to your felony history.

Answers For Legal Boundaries in Your State with a Felony Conviction

Being branded with a “felony conviction” carries certain consequences, especially when it comes to employment prospects. It is important to review and understand the legal limitations associated with being a convicted felon, as these restrictions differ across states and sectors. Such constraints can be severe and often restrict access to professions in areas like law, healthcare, and education. Good thing there are careers for felons with income ceilings as high or higher than these.

Resources like the Restoration Rights Project exist to navigate this complex environment. They offer guidance for individuals trying to move past their felony convictions and seek out job opportunities despite their criminal records.

Fresh Start Legislation For Employees

In the face of adversity, fresh start programs offer a beacon of hope. Programs such as ‘Ban the Box’ and the Fair Chance Business Pledge work to equalize opportunities for those with criminal records seeking employment. Federal support is available through initiatives like the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to assist individuals in taking essential initial steps toward securing meaningful jobs.

Navigating Background Checks to be Hired In Organizations

Navigating background checks may seem intimidating during the application process, but adopting the correct strategy can help you manage them with assurance. It’s crucial to recognize which details you must disclose and which you don’t—state legislation could be beneficial here since it often limits employers from inquiring about arrest records that didn’t result in a guilty verdict.

Maintaining honesty from the first time you meet with a company is the most effective approach. A thorough background check will uncover the facts regardless, so confirming that your criminal record is correctly detailed ahead of time is essential before any potential disclosure takes place.

Remember that your past is not your identity and walking into an interview after being trained to answer questions effectively, in being kind, courteous and respectful, and how to pass a test for drugs and alcohol by actually being clean and sober, your confidence will be apparent and they like confident people serving their customers!

Crafting an Effective Resume That Gets You Hired

Resume For Felon To Get Hired

A carefully crafted resume acts as your sales agent, delivering the message of your skills and ambitions to potential employers. It is much more than a mere document, it has the power to lessen the negative perception associated with having a felony by emphasizing your abilities and suitability for the job you seek.

As someone who now hires people myself, I can tell you good resumes with the right cover letter that mentions my company they are applying to, get to the absolute top of the list because they are rarer than you think. This is your first introduction to your future employer and crafting it correctly could even stop the conversation about your history before it even begins.

Highlighting Your Skills Over Your History To Get Hired

For those of us with a, let’s say, a complex job history, crafting a functional resume can be transformative. This approach accentuates your abilities and the contributions you’re equipped to offer while downplaying any discordant aspects of your work past. Beginning each bullet point with dynamic action verbs will help to underscore your proficiency, making them pop for those tasked with hiring. Here’s a list of such potent verbs that could serve this purpose.

  • Achieved
  • Created
  • Implemented
  • Managed
  • Resolved
  • Developed
  • Led
  • Organized
  • Improved
  • Analyzed

When these action verbs are employed effectively, they serve as powerful conveyors of achievements and showcase one’s potential value to prospective employers. You don’t have to live a life constantly believing you are a lower class citizen in America. I have been there. It is worth it to do the work and get yourself feeling better about your life with a job you feel called to.

It is essential not to forget that when disclosing experiences accrued during periods of incarceration, it should be done professionally. Doing this successfully can powerfully reflect personal development and growth in character.

The Answer To Addressing Employment Gaps

Gaps in employment may raise concerns for employers, yet this need not be the case if they are addressed properly. Crafting your bio and CV to highlight how periods of unemployment have contributed to your resilience and growth can transform perceived shortcomings into stories of personal progress. Prepare a framework that demonstrates you’re fully prepared to elaborate with confidence when questioned about the matter.

Leveraging Friends and Family

Your application must serve as a historical record of your career and also predict your future capabilities. By featuring any certifications, references, and training you have received, it showcases your dedication to ongoing professional development. These components create a link that connects who you were in the past with who you aim to become professionally.

When you put down the name and phone number of people who can answer questions about you to the one reviewing your application, you are much more likely to get hired if they answer the call and give these answers strongly. So, pick the right people and let them know you are putting them down and to answer the call for you.

Mastering The Interview

Mastering job interview for felons

The interview proceeding serves as your platform – a place where first impressions are established, character is assessed, and futures are determined. A few seconds in the beginning of the interview is all some employers need to know if they will hire you or not. Remember the three D’s for interviewing and a few seconds is all you will need to give them the answers they seek.

Dress To Impress

Dress correctly for an interview and walk with your chest up and a straight poster like you are supposed to be there and in a few seconds the whole office will notice you coming in. It does not take a lot of money to dress in a way that show you legitimately want the job.

Discussing Your Past with Confidence

Your criminal history should not be an anchor, but rather a stepping stone to craft a fresh story. In conversations with prospective employers, be concise and truthful while emphasizing the personal growth you’ve experienced thereafter. Seize this opportunity to reshape how you’re perceived by your potential employer, demonstrating that previous errors are no longer significant.

Demonstrating Change and Growth

Employers are looking beyond mere skill sets when they hire. They’re placing their investment in an individual. Demonstrate that you are a candidate with depth, who has not merely acknowledged past errors but has transformed those experiences into both personal and professional advancement.

Present concrete examples of your improvement and outline the career objectives you have established for yourself.

The Follow-Up: Leaving a Positive Impression

Even after the interview concludes, you still have work to do. Sending a prompt follow-up email will not only show your enthusiasm for the role, but also serve to highlight your qualifications to the employer once again. It’s important to stay professional and patient as you await their decision, and should the response be negative, respond with grace and maturity—this approach may pave the way for opportunities down the line.

Identifying Felon-Friendly Employers

Felon friendly employers

As a convicted felon, the quest for employment can feel like seeking friendship in an inhospitable setting. It is essential to pinpoint employers willing to offer you an equitable opportunity on this path.

Research and Networking

During the search for a job, it’s crucial to remember that your personal connections can be just as important as your expertise and skills. Utilize the wealth of contacts within your own network and take advantage of resources like to unearth potential employment opportunities. Keep in mind, each connection could potentially open the door to a new career path.

Targeted Job Platforms

In the modern digital era, job seekers with criminal records have an advantage thanks to dedicated employment platforms. Websites such as Second Chance Jobs for Felons and cater specifically to your requirements by providing job listings and tools that can assist in forging a route toward gainful employment.

Direct Outreach Strategies

At times, opting for a straightforward strategy is most effective when job hunting. Attend career fairs, participate in interviews to gather information and deliver your succinct self-introduction with assurance. These personal engagements have the potential to leave an enduring mark and might just be the spark that ignites your forthcoming job prospect.

Enhancing Qualifications and Skills

In a competitive job market, setting yourself apart largely depends on your competencies and credentials. For an individual with a felony record, it’s not merely beneficial to keep improving your skills—it’s crucial.

Educational Programs for a New Start

Programs such as STRIVE’s Fresh Start can serve as a potent tool for leveling the playing field by helping people like you acquire necessary abilities and backing to rejoin the workforce. Keep in mind that federal student aid is accessible to most individuals with felony convictions, thus providing access to an abundance of educational possibilities.

Vocational Training and Apprenticeships

Practical experience is indispensable. Programs for apprenticeships offer a route to acquire a trade skill and obtain the job experience that employers regard highly.

These opportunities should not be ignored as they might steer you towards a satisfying and secure life career.

Volunteering as a Stepping Stone

Participating in volunteer work can bridge any discontinuities on your resume, illustrating your dedication to self-improvement and civic engagement.

Groups such as Hope for Ex-Offenders INC provide an opportunity for you to develop your abilities. While making a constructive impact within the community.

Navigating the Digital Job Search

To improve your chances of securing employment in the evolving job search environment, it’s essential to be adept at exploring online platforms and refining your digital presence. Managing job listings is made more straightforward with the use of an effective browser. For optimal usage, make sure that you employ a suitable browser to view this website correctly.

Optimizing Online Profiles

In the digital realm, your virtual profile frequently acts as an initial point of contact. To capture attention from prospective employers and present a powerful professional persona, craft an engaging LinkedIn profile complete with a robust summary and substantial endorsements.

Digital Networking Tips

Embrace the modern habitat of networking that has established itself on the internet. Platforms such as LinkedIn serve as tools to investigate and engage with professionals within your field. Consider embracing informational interviews. They offer a valuable opportunity for both learning and expanding your network at once.

Staying Safe and Private Online

As you engage in your job search, it’s crucial to keep your personal details secure. Employ strong passwords and make use of VPNs, but don’t forget the importance of regularly updating your browser by ensuring its date update is current, these measures will be key allies in protecting your security as you browse and apply for positions.

Managing Finances While Job Searching

Searching for a job encompasses not only the pursuit of new employment, but also the prudent handling of your assets throughout this period. By managing your finances effectively, you can alleviate some of the pressures associated with job hunting and concentrate on securing an appropriate position.

Budgeting Basics for Job Seekers

During your job search, establishing a practical budget is essential to maintaining financial stability. Monitor your expenditures closely, arrange your necessities by importance, and seek opportunities for additional income where feasible.

Seeking Financial Assistance

Don’t discount the potential for monetary support. For those who are eligible, unemployment benefits can serve as a short-term safety net, affording you the space to seek out an appropriate job. Within mere seconds, you have the ability to initiate your exploration of available avenues and begin the journey to stabilize your future.

Preparing for Employment-Related Expenses

Upon securing employment, prepare yourself for fresh financial obligations. Allocate funds for costs associated with your job, like enrolling in benefits and purchasing professional clothing, and remember to either establish or refill your emergency savings.


To sum up, bear in mind that obtaining a job offer is not the final destination of your journey. It’s a continuous progression involving development, education, and acclimatization. Consider this guide as your navigation tool for confidently traversing the terrain of employment, aware that every advance you make paves the way to a more promising tomorrow. Feel free to reach out to us here at Recovered On Purpose and never be afraid of a good day of work.

Free Resources For Addicts and Alcoholics

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it so hard for a felon to get a job?

Felons often face difficulties securing employment as companies might worry about legal liabilities and the potential financial repercussions they could incur if held accountable for a felon’s conduct after hiring them.

What can felons not do in Florida?

In Florida, state law imposes specific restrictions on convicted felons, which affect several of their civil rights. These individuals are prohibited from participating in voting, being a jury member, assuming any public office position, as well as acquiring or renewing particular professional licenses such as those for real estate and insurance sectors.

What is the best degree for a convicted felon?

Consider obtaining an education in fields such as construction management, counseling, computer science, culinary arts, or graphic design. These areas provide pathways for individuals with a criminal background to attain employment and establish a thriving career.

Keep in mind that your previous actions do not dictate the potential of your future endeavors.

What’s the best career for a felon?

A career that matches a felon’s inherent skills and achievable ambitions is optimal, including fields like culinary arts, computer science, programming or engineering. Exploring avenues such as self-employment, freelancing, and beginning on a modest scale can lead to prosperous outcomes for individuals in these circumstances.

Opting for a profession that resonates with one’s abilities and passions can pave the way to creating a rewarding occupational life.

What should I focus on most when crafting my resume?

Concentrate on showcasing your qualifications and abilities using a functional resume structure, which will enhance your position as a job candidate. This approach is beneficial in covering any gaps in employment while taking advantage of both training programs and references you may have.

Employing this strategy can render your resume more attractive to prospective employers by highlighting the strengths that are most relevant to them.

As seen on

Relapse Prevention Worksheet