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The Path to Obtaining Employment

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on 27 March 2015

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Transcript of The Path to Obtaining Employment

Job Searching with a Criminal Record
When and how do I disclose my criminal record?
Who will hire me?
Why won't employers hire ex-offenders?
Match your skills to the job
Make sure goals are realistic
Research local employers that have hired ex-offenders
Many occupations prohibit, by law, the hire of someone with certain convictions
For most jobs it is at the employer's discretion on whether the conviction is related to the job
Employers are only to consider felony and misdemeanor convictions
Employer database
Make sure you know what is on your record
Focus on the positive and practice answering questions about your conviction
Know what types of jobs you can/can't apply to due to your record
What is on my record?
How do I find out what is on my record?
Employer, again, states only felony convictions should be listed

Notice that employer only requires information on felonies

Pennsylvania State Police
PATCH website
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The Unified Judicial System of PA Web Portal
Magisterial District Courts
Court of Common Pleas
PA Child Abuse Clearance - https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home
Don't discuss your convictions unless employer asks or is going to complete a background check
If employer does ask- be honest, take responsibility, and focus on your skills and accomplishments
Be prepared to address gaps in employment
Before You Begin Your Job Search
Documents you need
SS card, photo ID, transcripts
Child Care
Any probation or parole restrictions/conditions- distance, type of works, curfews, etc.
"Yes, I have a drug charge but that was a long time ago."
"Yes, I was convicted of possession of a controlled substance five years ago, but since have stayed away from drugs. I recently obtained my GED and forklift certification and have warehouse experience."
1) Own it
2) Focus on the positive
What you have learned and accomplished since the conviction
Don't offer any information except what is needed
3) Discuss goals
Federal Bonding
Second Chance Ministries International, Inc.
National H.I.R.E. Network
Legal Services
PA CareerLink®
Make sure to list any jobs held or education completed while incarcerated on your application
Convincing an Employer to Look Past Your Record
Type of conviction(s)
Number of convictions
Length of time since last conviction
References/Letters of recommendation
Employment history
Volunteer work
The biggest barrier to employment for an ex-offender is...
is a negative attitude
Knowledge Check
How many Americans have a criminal record?
(a) 65 million
(b) 130 milliion
(c) Too many to count
Answer: 65 million - 1 in 4 adults
More than 45,000 laws and rules impact how people with criminal records vote, access housing and programs, owns guns and obtain professional and business licensing. They can affect a person's immigration status, parental rights, credit rating, ability to get a job and eligibility for benefits.

Source: NY Times
Recruiters only look at your resume for an average of 6 seconds
Reflect on your resume how you can make the employer money - that's their bottom line
The best outcome is when an applicant looks so professional, the employer never asks about the criminal record
Top Skills Employers Want
Problem Solving Skills
Team Player
Able to get things done
Examples of Work (Results)
Computer literate
Fit with the culture of the company
Conviction Statement
Construct a strong, concise narrative that shifts the focus from the past to the future.

1) State
the conviction occured and if possible, that it was a non-violent and/or non-theft related.
2) Express
over the conviction (s).
3) Tell the employer
you've changed.
4) Tell the employer
you've changed.
Key Resume Writing Tricks

Always have something current
Use Numbers & Names
"The Objective" - make it specific and catching
Chronlogical vs. Functional
Proof, proof, proof, and proof again - ask someone else to proof as well
Less is more

Ban the Box Movement
National political movement that seeks to ensure job applicants with criminal records can show a potential employer their qualifications before revealing their histories.
13 states have adopted his movement, including Nebraksa, Hawaii, California, Washington DC; along iwth over 70 counites and cities.
Walmart and Target have voluntarily removed questions about criminal history from their job applications nationwide.
Pennsylvania - Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Lancaster have adopted this - Harrisburg is moving to do the same.
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