To lead a happy and fulfilling life, many of us need to obtain full-time employment. This ensures we have the funds available to meet our needs. If you’re job hunting, you will know how stressful the experience is already, but for those who have a criminal background, gaining employment may be harder than you first anticipated.

Whether you’ve had a minor brush with the law, or you have been in jail, many employers may be reluctant to take your application any further. With 1 in 4 Americans having a conviction or arrest record, it’s important that you know what to do to help you find the right job. To get started, here are some tips on how to present yourself to maximize the chances of gaining employment.

Understand Your Rights

When applying for a job, there may be instances where you don’t have to disclose your criminal history. If your arrest is not currently pending, or it has been several years since the conviction took place, you may not have to tell potential employers. First and foremost, it’s important that you understand your rights so you can be confident with your application and ensure you’re doing everything above board.

Know Your Offenses

Before applying for any position, it’s a good idea to know what offenses are on your record. The crimes you committed will have a major impact on your job prospects, so you can visit Public Records Reviews to check your Conviction Records. This tool will help you understand your offenses better and know what your potential employer will see. You can also use Public Records Reviews to look for arrest history, felonies, and lawsuits. There are certain convictions where you will be immediately disqualified by an employer, such as if you want to work in banking and hold a financial conviction.

Speak to Friends and Family

If you have a criminal history and are finding it difficult to obtain employment, it may be worth speaking to your friends and family about potential job opportunities. There may be someone in your close circle who runs their own business and is looking for employees. It’s only natural that your loved ones will want to help in any way they can, and as they know you personally, they will see through your conviction and may give you a chance.

Know How to Network

The internet is your best friend when it comes to finding employment, so while you may have a conviction behind you, understanding how to network and making personal connections online can be a great way to strengthen your chances of finding a job. There are websites like LinkedIn that you can use to connect with employers and get to know others. In many situations, having a personal connection can boost the chances of getting a position that you may otherwise have not been considered for. Regardless of the industry, you want to work in, you should never underestimate the value of networking.

Start at the Bottom

To show employers that you’re willing to work hard and do everything it takes to gain employment, you may have to start at the bottom of the career ladder. Even if you were in a high paying role before your conviction, getting back into the field may be tricky. Starting at the bottom and working your way up will show that you’re dedicated to your craft and have learned from your mistakes. To succeed, you will need to have a great level of patience and determination, so staying committed and showing that you’re a hard worker is key.

Be Honest About Your Past

Employers respect honesty, so if you’ve managed to get past the first hurdle and received a job interview invitation, they may ask you questions about your conviction. Rather than burying your head in the sand, make sure that you are honest and open about your past. Building trust with an employer will increase the chances of securing employment, so while it may be difficult to get off your chest, they will value and appreciate your honesty and be more willing to take your application further.

Read Applications Carefully

When applying for any job role, it’s important that you read through the application carefully. With some applications requiring you to do tests and examinations beforehand, the last thing you want is to pass with flying colors only to find that your application won’t be taken any further because of your criminal history. Some applications may require you to go into extra detail about your conviction, whereas you may not need to put anything for another.

If you have a criminal background, finding the right job can be a tough experience. To help you obtain the role of your dreams, all the guidance above will help in how you conduct yourself. While there is nothing you can do to change your past, how you act going forward will increase the chances of you finding employment.