So You Have A Record

So You Have A Record

by Sheena Williams

There are times in our lives where we have made some bad choices, or some bad choices were made around us, and we find ourselves unable to find work due to the fact that we have a rap sheet. It can be difficult to find employment because the hiring process is all about trust. The employer trusts that you will do your job competently. The employer trusts that when they leave you alone, their profit- making materials will be safe with you. When you have a rap sheet, it’s like a red flag to them which could be a deciding factor in whether they hire you or not. Your job, while doing your job to find a job, is to let employers know that they can trust you.

Find Out Exactly What Your Record Is Showing. Do yourself a favor and see what the employer would see on your background check sheet. Don’t let there be any surprises for your or the employer. You may be revealing to the person interviewing you some things that were never even on your background check. You may be allowing guilt or anger to paint a picture of you that no one is trying to see. By being upfront, it definitely shows that you can be trusted. It is all about the conversation you have with the employer.

Support Group. There are going to be some really low days while you are looking for work. There are going to be times when you feel as if no one is listening to you, that no one believes you, and that you just can’t move any further. That is a wrong perception to have when you are looking for a job. There are support groups all over the place to help you talk out all your frustrations. Talk to your family or seek counseling. Just stay away from negative influences and hold on to your positive thoughts. Things will get better and you will find an employer who is willing to take a chance on you.


Probation Officer Assistance. Inform your probation officer about any trouble you may be having with your job search endeavors. They may be able to direct you to your local workforce center or they may know of some employers who are less likely to have any bias regarding workers with records. They may also be aware of programs that could help you get back on your feet.

How To Tell Your Story. There are certain ways to tell your story when it comes to explaining your background. Keep your story short and simple. Do not elaborate. State your facts clear and concise. As you will see from the chart on the following page, use one minute to tell your story – one minute! Use the first 30 seconds to talk about your work history, education, etc. Take the next 15 seconds to tell about your negative factors and then use the last 15 seconds to close our your introduction.

If you have the capability to print the following page, please print it and fill it out. Practice your statements so that you provide only information that is needed. Time yourself so that you stay within the allowed timeframes. Prepare a strong closing statement by providing the interviewer with what you can do for them and as the chart says, be very specific and positive.



Start Off Small. Perhaps, prior to your troubles, you were in a position where you were in charge or handled the day-to-day operations of a company or organization or perhaps an office. However, your background makes it difficult to find a job that is willing to allow you the same job responsibilities that you previously held. There is nothing wrong with taking an entry level position to work your way back up. Once again, the hiring process is all about trust. When you can prove to your employers that they can trust you, you are a step ahead of the process. Plus taking a less responsible position could buy you time to look for the job that you truly want, or perhaps allows you time to think about starting up your own business.

Don’t Give Up. There are going to be days when you just want to throw in the towel and do something rash. Don’t do it! You may be facing times when you are so frustrated that you could end up making the wrong choices. Stop that! There is nothing wrong with feeling how you feel, but always take a deep breath and know that things will get better. You have your freedom and you are now working on getting yourself back on track to a new and better life. Relax, know that you will find what you are looking for eventually. You just have to stay positive and keep moving ahead! Δ