I have a criminal record. What are my job prospects?

Nine To Five: Special to The Globe and Mail, Published Sunday, February 7, 2016

THE QUESTION

I have extensive education, experience and, unfortunately, a criminal record. Although I have a successful small business, I would like to add a 9-to-5 job in a sales capacity. Is this possible?

THE ANSWER

Absolutely possible. About 75 to 80 per cent of all jobs are found through networking. If you have your own business you must know a wide range of people in different capacities of employment in your community that you can network with. Tell – do not sell – everyone you know what you are looking for. Many ears make light work. Competing with the world on an Internet job search could be problematic and demoralizing. Keep in mind that having a sales background with proven sales results will be crucial, with or without a record.

When you network your way into a meeting/interview through a mutual contact, that person is your reference, and the trust factor is already being built with the interviewer. You may, more than likely, still need a well crafted résumé, results of past sales successes or, minimally, transferable work experience that is quantitative and benefits-driven as proof that you are a viable candidate for the position.

Ensure that you are able to explain your past and your rehabilitation. And, depending on what the crime was, that it is in no way related to the product or customers the potential employer represents, just in case you are asked or need to disclose.

Stay focused on what you can do for the company. Closing a deal is all about benefit selling. Use positive, upbeat examples of your past business successes and stick to the benefits/results you will bring to the position.

Colleen Clarke
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer

Author of Networking How To Build Relationships That Count and How To Get a Job and Keep It