Job Hunting After a Conviction

By Lindsey Novak

March 13, 2014 5 min read

Q: I am looking for guidance and direction for getting back into the workplace after a conviction. Embarrassingly, I was convicted of a misdemeanor and spent six months in a county jail, not prison, and now have a record. I am 49 years old. I saw a workshop advertised in the local paper but nothing online. Any suggestions?

A: Getting a job is tough enough, but as you have discovered, you are dealing with a whole new set of circumstances. Because misdemeanors cover a broad range of crimes, you are going to have to get over your embarrassment, emotionally accept the situation, and find a way to logically explain it without creating excuses for why it happened. That's why a local workshop or agency helping ex-offenders would be your best path to take.

Your situation requires face-to-face counseling and mock interviews, not online instructions, so you can learn to comfortably talk about your offense. You are going to need to show regret, regardless of how minor or serious you think the crime was.

Large- and medium-sized companies are not going to hire you. They won't take on the liability that comes with hiring someone with any kind of criminal record. These companies require online applications that ask if the applicant has any convictions. Lying might get you through that initial screening but will not get you very far after that. You will be dropped from consideration once a conviction is discovered. Most companies have so many applicants for every job, only the ones who closely fit the requirements will be chosen, and sadly, your age could also be a determining factor.

Look for small, privately owned companies advertising for part-time or full-time help. You need to get in front of the hiring manager so you can sell yourself as a good job candidate. Most people have preconceptions of people who have convictions, which is why you should work with a counselor to learn what to say and how to present the subject. No matter what job you want, the first skill you will need to learn is how to sell yourself. It may take a long time, but there are people out there who are forgiving, no matter what your crime was.


Q: I work as a certified nursing assistant at a nursing home. I have two problems: The shift before us does next to nothing. When we arrive, there is so much to be done that it is obvious to all of us the previous shift had sat back and relaxed. I'm upset not just because of the amount of work, but because they have neglected the patients' needs, which leads to the second problem.

Most of the patients have bedsores, which means they are left in their beds and are not being moved around enough. When I arrive, all the patients have to be cleaned, and their sheets need to be changed. I know they have been lying on them for many hours, which means the workers before us did nothing. The shift before us is made up of employees who have been on the job for at lest 10 to 20 years, and now they are just lazy. If we were to complain, they would harass us or turn the blame on us and get us fired. I don't want to quit or be fired because the money is good. I also care about the residents. Is there anything we can do?

A: You should call your state's licensing agency to report the nursing home for neglect. You can file a complaint anonymously. The agency should be routinely conducting unannounced inspections of nursing homes but is likely not up-to-date. Bedsores on all the patients are a sure sign of neglect, and the shift before you may not be the only ones guilty of it. Don't talk about the neglect to anyone on staff; place your complaints where it counts, with those in positions to do something about it.

Email your questions to workplace expert Lindsey Novak at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @I_truly_care. To find out more about Lindsey Novak and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Website at

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