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Got a Criminal Record? Tips for Finding a Job

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While a job candidate with a criminal past might scare off some employers, many are open to giving second chances, new research shows.

A study from CareerBuilder found that more than half of human resource managers have hired someone with a criminal record. Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, said job seekers who have had a brush with the law must be upfront about their past and show that they have learned from their mistakes if they want to improve their chances of getting hired.

"You also want to stay active," Haefner said. "Taking classes, volunteering and tapping into social networks can be good ways to help overcome obstacles associated with job hunting with a criminal past."

Other steps hiring managers recommend for job candidates with a criminal background to make themselves more marketable include:

  • Be willing to work your way up
  • Stay positive
  • Prepare while you’re in prison (take classes, get a degree or vocational training)
  • Don’t apply to jobs where your record would automatically disqualify you
  • Take freelance or temporary assignments
  • Consider joining the military
  • Start your own business
  • Monitor what is said on social media

The study was based on surveys of more than 2,000 hiring managers nationwide.

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.