The plain and simple fact is that having a misdemeanor on your record can and will prevent you from getting a professional job. No matter how petty or stupid the crime was. Be aware that many professional jobs will go back 10 years to look at your record. No matter how frivolous the misdemeanor is, no company in this day and age will disregard it. This is the plain and simple truth and you’re going to have to learn to deal with that. The only thing you can possibly do to combat this is to work your way around it. Following these tips will increase your odds of getting a job with a misdemeanor. Good luck!
Tip 1: Be honest. When they ask you to write down whether or not you have anything on your record it is important to be up front and honest. Put down everything that you have on your record so they know you are not a liar and that your past is your past. Telling a lie will only make it look worse if and when they figure out what your history is like.
Tip 2: If you get an interview, since you have written down your record on the application as tip 1 suggests, do not bring it up during the interview unless you are asked about your history. Be point blank about it but try to use terms that soften the verbal impact of the crimes you have committed. Instead of “Theft of Services” say “Dine and Dash” if that is the crime you committed. Instead of DUI say “I had a couple of drinks before I drove home and got a ticket.” Simply altering the way you talk about the crime can make it seem less important.
Tip 3: If you are asked about the crime during the interview, be short and brief when you’re explaining it. Do not make it the center of the discussion. Remember, this crime was in your past and it is not who you are today, so talk about it as though it were irrelevant to your current goals in life. An interview is about your skills as a professional, not something you did 5 years ago. Make that clear and stay on topic of your skills and your ability to outshine anyone else who has applied for the job.
Tip 4: Do not give up! If you don’t get this job because of your past that is no reason to quit your job search. Do not surrender to the whims of your past. This is America! You need to move forward!
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