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How to Get a Job With a Felony Drug Conviction

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One of the worst things that you can have on your record when trying to get a job is a felony drug conviction, but will this completely disqualify you from ever getting a job ever again?

Truth be told, if you ever have to check “Yes” to the dreaded, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” question on an application it’s going to hurt your chances of working at the company, but a drug conviction is even worse because it is considered a more serious felony than other charges.

At this point we don’t need to preach to you about the mistake you have made.  Getting involved with illegal substances, of any sort, is going to be detrimental to your personal and professional life.  But the good news is that you’re reading this article, so you’re obviously trying to change some things in your life and that’s excellent.

Believe it or not, it is still possible to get a job with a felony drug conviction, but there is a lot of hard work involved and it may not be a traditional path.

The following blog post will cover:

  • Why it’s hard to get a job with a felony drug conviction
  • Where someone with a drug conviction can find work
  • How job training can get you work fast
  • Where to find work once you have the training


Why it’s hard to get a job with a felony drug conviction

Sometimes those who have served time for a drug conviction get frustrated because they don’t understand why a business owner won’t hire them for a job.  Usually, this is at a point in an ex-offenders life when they have control of their substance abuse issues and have sobered up and understand how detrimental a felony conviction can be while looking for employment.

But why are employers so hesitant to hire you?

Whether you had a substance abuse problem yourself, sold drugs to make extra money, or were just caught up holding on to something you shouldn’t have, the unfortunate truth is that a drug conviction infers that you have a drug problem to most outsiders.

Even if you have gone to rehab, or never even had a drug problem to begin with, when an employer sees that you have a felony drug conviction on your record it makes them especially nervous for one reason.

If an applicant has a drug problem, there’s no telling if/when they’ll relapse and what they’ll do to get their next high.

Even if you are confident that you are fully rehabilitated, the employer doesn’t know you personally and would rather find someone to work for them that doesn’t have these same issues.

You cannot take this personal.

It isn’t an attack on your work ethic, job skills, or personal demeanor, it’s strictly because you have a felony drug conviction on your record and that scares the employer too much and they aren’t willing to give you a chance because of it.

But the good news is, there are still plenty of places where those with drug convictions can find work, it just isn’t going to be as traditional as a 9-5 job.

Where someone with a drug conviction can find work

Believe it or not, there are still plenty of ways for you to find work even if you have a felony drug conviction on your record.  The thing about the work you’re going to find is that it isn’t going to be an office job.  Instead, it’s usually going to be specific jobs that require certain traits or skills.

Below is a list of some places that you can check out to see if there is work:

Craigslist: One of the best places to find work is Craigslist. The reason is that this is flooded with people who need individuals for specific jobs that are short-term, or the listings are from small businesses that probably don’t have a bunch of money to do background checks.

Specific companies: We’ve compiled a list of different companies that have been said to hire felons. This list is constantly being added to and adjusted based on what our users tell us, but if you are looking for companies that hire felons, then this is a good place to start. While we don’t know if the companies will hire those with drug convictions, we do know that they have open minds with felons so it may be a good start.

Friends: This is probably a given, but talking to friends that are entrepreneurs or work at small businesses is also encouraged. While they may not be able to help you, they may know of someone else who can.

Family: The only thing probably closer to you then your friends, is your family. Just like your friends, your family (immediate and extended) likely have contacts that you don’t have and can possibly hook you up with someone who needs some work done.

The biggest thing to do when you are looking for work is to tell people that you are. Even if you aren’t the most skilled person at specific tasks, such as cleaning, handy work, or other general labor tasks, friends and family will likely be willing to hire you because they know you will get the job done and also know that you could use the money.

A huge part of trying to find work with family and friends is that it needs to be known that you no longer have a drug dependency issue.

Realize that one of the most common misconceptions with your situation is that a lot of people that you talk to about work are going to assume that you are getting the money to buy more drugs. To overcome this, explain to people that you are looking for work and want to start over with a clean slate and really find a way to make a living. Truth be told, most people will feel guilty if they don’t give you that additional chance.

At the end of the day, it’s painful to admit, but you need to realize that finding a job as a convicted drug offender is extremely difficult, if not completely impossible depending where you are.

While this is a sad realization, there is still another way where you can find work and not have to rely on the company at all. It involves going through online training and then finding clients for your newly acquired skill. Think of things like internet marketing, website design, copywriting, graphic design, sales, accounting, branding, music editing, or a plethora of many other job skills that are highly in demand.

How job training can get you work fast

When I say job training, most people roll their eyes and think of old-school training which involves paying hundreds of dollars and sitting in a classroom for eight hours a day for an entire week.

At the end of training, you’ll have learned a few things, but you probably won’t be as great as you hoped at the specific skill that you studying.

Instead of that type of training, realize that what we’re talking about here is online training where you get access to a platform and can learn at your pace whenever you’d like from the comfort of your own home. The platform that I’m talking about is called Lynda.com and they give you a free 10 day trial to try it out. Even after a 10 day trial, the cost is $25/month, but I promise you that this will be the best $25 you’ll spend each month as long as you take your training seriously.

The courses in this platform are exceptional and extremely detailed. They are taught by industry experts who truly have a passion for what they’re doing and are incredibly knowledgeable about the topics.

After you’ve done a few courses on a specific subject that you’re passionate about, you are going to have acquired the skills needed to go out and find work as a consultant or “freelancer”.

Most people think that this is something is too difficult and they would never be able to do this, but we know of a great platform that lets you connect with people looking for skilled labor and can attest not only to its credibility, but of its ability to attract more potential work for your newly acquired skill.

Where to find work once you have the training

Believe it or not, your previous drug conviction might actually be an asset when you’re trying to find work. We know this sounds strange, but hear us out.

Usually those that sell or use drugs have some type of skill associated with their habit. This usually comes in the form of sales skills for users and entrepreneurial skills for dealers. Not that we’re saying it’s a good idea to become a drug dealer to get entrepreneurial experience, but if you’ve already gone down that route, just realize you need to do something similar, but with the product or service that is legal.

Once you’ve gotten the skills you need and acquired a new skill that is useful to businesses, it’s time to find work. Many people think that this is near impossible and usually don’t have the contacts to get work right away.

That’s okay, you don’t need it when you have a website like Upwork.com. This website allows you to become a provider for free and bid on jobs for the skills that you have. One thing to realize about this website is that you are often going against people from other countries that are willing to work for a very minimal hourly rate.

Although this may seem like it’s going to be an obstacle for you, the reality is that many people want to only hire people within the United States and if you have the skills necessary at an affordable rate, employers will be happy to give you a shot.

The key to this website is to start off by working at a low hourly rate and build up a profile of successful jobs with happy clients so that you can begin to raise her hourly rate. Over time, as long as you consistently deliver quality results, you’ll be able to increase your hourly rate and make a living just from your training and the jobs you find on this website. And guess what?

Once you have a strong Upwork profile, you’ll be able to start to network with people in the U.S. directly and showcase your quality results to them. It will take a lot of hard work, and is it going to happen overnight, but if you’re patient and really try to make this happen, you can. 

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