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From a DUI charge to petty theft, successful job searching with a criminal record is definitely an uphill battle. Many convicted felons strive to obtain a job as it provides financial security and the greater possibility of restoring your record. Luckily, more and more industries are opening up and hiring citizens with records.

Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks are pretty universal among businesses, which means employers will most likely review your background. According to a study from the Society for Human Resource Management, managers are willing to hire employees with records if they have solid references, outstanding job performance, and a certificate of rehabilitation. Businesses don’t merely run background checks to fulfill some idle curiosity about your past—if an employer didn’t go over an individual’s background and that person commits a violent or illegal act on their premises, the company may be held liable.

Accessing Documentation

The Public Access to Court Electronic Records system makes federal court documents available online, enabling employers to see whether you’ve been involved in criminal court cases. However, most states put limits on what an employer can check. They can enact restrictions that only allow businesses to see felonies and not misdemeanors as well as only making records from the last five available. For those put under arrest but not convicted, employers can still access arrests via the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

Though the outlook for job employment with a criminal record is looking more promising, there are a few industries which will not hire those with a record. Former criminals will likely not receive jobs working in education and working among children, especially those with offenses that involve minors. Individuals with a criminal record will also find it difficult to get work within the government, hold public office, or join the police force. If your arrest or conviction relates to the job you are seeking, it will probably negatively affect your chances of getting the job. For example, a car theft conviction will probably not look good if you’re applying to be a car mechanic.

Although people with a criminal record have some constraints when it comes to finding employment, many individuals are working to make a positive change. The Fair Chance Business Pledge initiative, which Facebook, Starbucks, American Airlines, and a few American universities signed, is fighting to provide job opportunities for convicted felons when they re-enter society—learn more about the pledge and how you can join.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.