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Will a Felony Prevent You From Getting a Job

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For those just getting out of prison and remembering what life was like prior to incarceration, they may recall a time when they were employed, working at a career they thought was fulfilling.

Once they return home and begin that new job search, however, they quickly find out the reality of life for them now.

Jobs are quite difficult to find and may seem impossible to get.

This blog post will address the issue of whether a felony will prevent a felon from getting a job.

  • Old Career Path Gone
  • Employment
  • Background Check
  • Criminal Records
  • How Can a Felon Succeed in Getting a Job?
  • Supporting a Felon in Getting a Job


Old Career Path Gone

That old career path has been overgrown with weeds or simply disappeared. Those whom they expected to hire them and be there for them on re-entering society turn their backs on them.

Fruitless employment hunting begins to wear on them more and more.  One rejection after another leads many of them to decide that they are not employable.

Many can become filled with doubt that they maybe were ever a good employee.  Society seems to be telling them that.  It is discouraging and frustrating.

Those doubts can erode their confidence and leave them in deep self-doubt.  This is a crucial time for felons.

Almost 2/3 become so disillusioned they return to a life of crime and are incarcerated again within the first two years after their initial release.


Many employers won’t hire felons, believing they are dishonest and likely to commit a crime on the job.  Or employers fear the public finding out they hire felons, damaging the company’s reputation and losing business.

Felons can lose a professional license or permit required in their previous line of work.  They can’t be denied the opportunity to regain their license simply because they have been convicted of a felony.

That is discrimination.  But they can lose out due to the potential damage or harm or threat they represent for the company to the public.

Additional education or new job training may be necessary.

There are employers who will hire felons, but it will still take persistence in completing a number of applications in order to find that job.

Will a felony prevent a felon from getting a job?

The answer is yes, if they take the attitude that it will.  There is a quote from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.”

That’s the way it works with finding a job.

Background Check

Employers typically conduct a background check on applicants, making it challenging to find a job.  Felons may think no one will hire them.

In conducting a background check, basic information from applicants includes full name, date of birth, and Social Security Number.

Among the types of information typically included in a background check are:

  • Driving records
  • Credit records, including bankruptcy
  • Criminal records
  • Education records
  • Court records
  • Character references
  • Medical records
  • Military records
  • State licensing records
  • Drug test records
  • Past employers
  • Personal references
  • Incarceration records
  • Sex offender lists
  • Social media profiles

Criminal Records

This portion of the background check involves a search of criminal history files for any criminal activity.

A criminal background check typically reveals the following information:

  • Convictions of felonies, misdemeanors, and sex crimes
  • Current home address and phone number as well as those within the past ten years
  • Arrests and court records (Dockets, orders, decrees, judgments)
  • Warrants
  • Incarceration records
  • Federal and state tax liens
  • Federal and civil judgments
  • Federal and state bankruptcies
  • Age and date of birth
  • Any alias’ and maiden names
  • Marriages and divorces

How Can a Felon Succeed in Getting a Job?

There are several important things to keep in mind when looking for a job.

First, is to find the right employer.  Some jobs may not be available, such as financial, teaching, or law enforcement.  There are many fields that are possible.

Felons need to understand that finding a job will be a struggle.  Sometimes, taking a lower level job is better than not having one at all.

They need to keep a positive attitude.  Felons will be turned down for many of the jobs they apply for.

The important point is to persist and not give up and return to their previous illegal actions.  That will certainly land them back in prison.

Establish a routine much like having a job and get used to getting up early and keeping a schedule throughout each day just as if they already had a job.

Keep a clean appearance.  Felons need to be ready for a job interview when it comes up.

Felons need to not beat themselves up about their past.  Of course, they committed a felony.  But they must not allow their crime to define them.  They are much more than that.

Felons can get the guide to becoming employed.

Supporting a Felon in Getting a Job

Families of felons struggling to find a job need to stand beside them.  Ask them to commit to that honest life they have started again.

Don’t let them become so discouraged they give up.  For the most part they want to succeed.  The alternative to persisting until they become established in a job is to take up that crime-filled life again.

All of you have already seen where that leads, prison.  Make it different this time.

What do you think about this blog post?  Are you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to find a job with a felony?  What was like for them, did their felony prevent them from finding a job, and how did they achieve success?  Please tell us in the comments below.

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