Charles Strachey column: Finding jobs can be challenging with a criminal record

Dear Working Wise: I lost my sales job a year ago due to theft. I’ve learned my lesson and will never do it again, but I haven’t been able to find a good job since. How can I get a good job and move on with my life? Signed, Frustrated

Dear Frustrated:

A criminal record can handcuff your job search in a lot of ways. It can create gaps on your resumé and limit the types of jobs that you are eligible for.

You can apply for a Record Suspension (Pardon), but not for between five and 10 years—depending on the offence. Don’t lose hope though — the following tips can help you overcome these challenges and get back to work.

If you have a significant gap in your employment history, you may want to organize your resumé by skills. Check out the Resumé Types tip sheet at alis.alberta.ca to see examples of functional and combination style resumes, which emphasize your skills and experience instead of your work history.

To tell or not to tell — You do not have to disclose your record if you are not asked and you will likely clear a criminal record check if you were: charged, but not convicted; pardoned; or referred to alternative measures.

If a job application asks about a criminal record, you can:

1. Fill in your name and contact information and attach your resumé;

2. Complete the application, but leave the criminal-record question blank and talk about it in the interview; or

3. Answer “yes” and add, “Let’s talk about it in the interview”.

Remember, your goal in filling out the application is to get an interview. The best time to talk about your record is face-to-face with the employer.

Many career consultants suggest not disclosing your record up front with employers until they have had a chance to get to know you first. But, if you are asked, you should tell the truth. If you lie and your employer finds out, it will damage your credibility further.

Job fairs are a great way to talk with employers face-to-face and make a good impression before they even see your resumé.

When asked about your record, focus on what you have learned since, steps that you have taken to change, and why it will never happen again. Some employers may look at the nature of your offence and how long ago it happened and decide that your record isn’t an issue.

Credibility is the key to searching for a job with a criminal record. This includes working hard, building trust, and developing good relationships with all your past employers. A good reference might help make the difference.

For more tips, read these ALIS tip sheets, which are available at alis.alberta.ca:

l Finding Work With a Criminal Record

l Re-entering the Workforce with a Criminal Record

For help with your job search:

l Call the Career Information Hotline at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266

l Visit your local Alberta Works Centre: humanservices.alberta.ca/offices

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.

Just Posted

Cruel and sadistic: Central Alberta dog rescuers believe there are dog fighting rings in province

With the increased number of stolen dogs, some central Alberta rescuers are… Continue reading

Red Deer hospital expansion recognized in throne speech

Society for Hospital Expansion in Central Alberta calls for more details

UPDATED: “I want to be your premier again”: Rachel Notley

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Mixed Nuts revue presented Saturday to kick off first Carole Forhan Theatrical Scholarship

Broadway songs, comedy skits are part of the Red Deer Players production

Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’

During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game, NHL great Brian… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs

Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize… Continue reading

UN: Gene editing for human reproduction is ‘irresponsible’

GENEVA — A panel convened by the World Health Organization said it… Continue reading

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Andreescu rockets to No. 24 in WTA Tour rankings after Indian Wells title

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu has rocketed to No. 24 in the WTA Tour… Continue reading

Canadian figure skaters looking to reach new heights at world championships

Nam Nguyen, Alaine Chartrand and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro all have… Continue reading

Man linked to largest art heist in history freed from prison

HARTFORD, Conn. — A reputed Connecticut mobster who federal authorities believe is… Continue reading

Most Read