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Criminal Record Ruining My Job Search

by MJ
(Huntsville, Alabama)

I have a difficult situation. I have a slew of arrests from nine years ago on two occasions, months apart. Truthfully, my husband was heavily into drugs, and although I have never been an angel, I was not involved. I thought I could help him, but it took me ruining my life to realize I could not.

Every time they arrested him they got me too (because I was with him). All the charges were dropped except a felony possession controlled substance, and a misdemeanor marijuana possession. That was actually found in the vehicle the second arrest.

Each time my background is run ALL of it shows up. Trafficking, Manufacturing, Theft (ALL DROPPED). I am not your usual felon. I owned my own business, large home, involved in the school and community. I would have never hired anyone with my record.

What do you say and do to have someone give you a real shot? (until I can get that off my record)

I have a good resume and work history. I recently had great interest from a major national department store, until I filled out the application and checked that felon box. I know they have a fidelity blanket bond for dishonest employees, etc.. so I tried to look up to see if I qualified under those rules, but searched four hours on the internet with no luck. I would like to know the answer to that.

I am a nice looking woman, always in nice makeup, hair and expensive outfits. I have an Associates Degree and am working on my Bachelors with a well known state university. I have excellent credit, references, etc...I have moved to a larger town for more prospects. I have children to support.


It was the only blemish in 20 years. Never in trouble before and never afterward until a year ago when my ex had me arrested falsely for domestic violence and harassment, which he dropped. But that shows up too! Email back in case I miss your blog.

Mike Petras comments:

Hello MJ-

Thanks for your email. So sorry to hear of your job search struggles. It's good this unsettling chapter of your life is closed and you're so focused on your future.

I'm optimistic for you.

Half the battle of overcoming any trial is a good attitude and sheer determination.

Best place for you to start is 2 good resources I found that have really helped job seekers with criminal records. After you read the rest of my message, go to Convicted Felon Chances of Landing a Good Job.

You have 2 hurdles to get over right now...a long term problem and a short term problem. Short term, you need a job to get some income rolling in so you can live. Long term, you need to make sure that your past is removed from the legal system or at least corrected to minimize the damage.

Here is the best way to solve each of these problems.

Short Term: Network with people who know and trust you who may be able to open a door for you. They don't have to be hiring managers or people in authority. Eventually you will talk to someone who will intercede for you with someone with the authority to hire you. Managers have the power to bend company rules and policies.

I knew someone who had a Class D felony and was constantly getting doors slammed in his face in his quest to find a decent paying job. One day he contacted a friend of his who just happened to know the president of a $1 billion local manufacturer with a strict "no felons policy". His friend called the president asking if he would relax their policy for his friend. The president agreed and called his HR department. This job seeker was immediately hired despite his criminal record.

So short term, your best approach is to constantly be networking and connecting with people. You will eventually find a loving soul who will give you a second chance.

Pearl of Wisdom: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs”. ~ Spencer W. Kimball

Long Term: You need to make sure the legal system isn't setting you up to fail. If charges have been dropped or a felony reduced to a misdemeanor, the public records need to accurately reflect your record.

You probably are going to have to hire an attorney to get this done, and this can take months to straighten out. But you need to slowly start chipping away at it to avoid future headaches and hassles.

I realize right now the timing is bad for you with no income, and you might not be able to get started today. But in the link to the resources I mentioned at the beginning of this message is a book written by an attorney about how to go about erasing your criminal record.

It probably would be worth your while to purchase the book and do whatever you can to clean up the public records. Then once you get back on your feet financially you can hire an attorney to fix the rest of it. It shouldn't cost you very much money (guess: $500-1500).

Update: I published a book to help the long term unemployed find a job, Why Don't They Call Me?-Job Search Wisdom to Get you Unstuck. Included in my book are scripts for networking, truths and myths about job search methods, and an extensive chapter on how social networking (LinkedIN, Facebook, Twitter) can help you find a job. I also share with my readers numerous true life stories to validate the principles and concepts mentioned in my book.

Let me know if any of this was helpful to you. Also if you come across some good information to help others in the same boat, let me know so I can share it with my visitors.

All the best to you.

Mike Petras

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