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Looking for Work When You Have a Criminal Record

A criminal record doesn’t have to be the end of your career and it doesn’t mean looking for a job is hopeless. Stop for a few minutes and think about your skills, your personality and your life experience. What have you got to offer an employer? There will be something. Even if you served a custodial sentence, you may have picked up a skill there or studied a new subject.

How to start your search

  • Look through local and national newspapers;
  • register on LinkedIn and other social media websites;
  • let friends and family know you’re job-hunting – not all jobs are advertised and you could get something by word-of-mouth;
  • approach recruitment agencies as they often offer temporary work, which could lead to a permanent position;
  • ask your local JobCentre Plus for help, as well as your probation officer.

Make sure you apply only for jobs that you’re able to do – for example, if you are under a driving ban, don’t apply for delivery jobs. Many people get help from drinkdrivesolicitor.com with driving offences, so if you’re worried, there is help available.


Will employers see past my criminal record?

Not all of them, no, but some will and so you should be up front about any convictions or cautions so you know who’s likely to be sympathetic. If you can demonstrate you can be honest, reliable and trustworthy, you’ll improve your chances.

If you’re out of work for a while, make sure you do some volunteering or some studying so you can show evidence of bettering yourself, and so you have something good to talk about during interviews.

Don’t fire out loads of applications for each and every job – pick out the ones that you’re really interested in and take your time over them. Make sure you follow all the instructions on the application form and get a friend to proofread it before you submit it.

How can I show that I’ve changed?


You will need to reassure employers that you’re a changed character and that you’re trustworthy. Any change in circumstances will help to show this – you may have a new family, or you may have moved away from a “bad crowd”, or have completed a degree or vocational training course. Anything that shows you feel you now have too much to lose will help.

In addition, you might mention the following factors:

  • Your record is now very old;
  • you were young at the time of the offence and your circumstances have changed;
  • your conviction isn’t relevant to the job;
  • you pleaded guilty at the first opportunity;
  • you were under great emotional, mental or financial pressure at the time of the offence but everything has been resolved, and
  • there were mitigating circumstances.

Don’t make excuses – you need to show that you accept responsibility for your actions and show that you’ve learned from them and moved on. Make your potential employer see you for your positive attributes, not just for your past.

Good luck in your job search!

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