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Misdemeanors that Prevent Employment
What You Need to Know

In most cases, you can still get a job after being convicted of a misdemeanor crime; however, some offenses make it more difficult or unfeasable to find a job in certain fields of work.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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How Can a Misdemeanor Affect My Employment?

If you've been convicted of minor charges in the past, you may be wondering how a misdemeanor can affect your chances for employment.

First, you should know you're not alone. According to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), more than 30% of all Americans under the age of 23 have been arrested. Many of these individuals have misdemeanor convictions on their records. These records can be damaging to their prospects for future employment, but they don't have to be.

Though misdemeanors aren't nearly as serious as felonies, a misdemeanor on your record can limit your chances of landing certain jobs. This is why you need to learn how to handle the situation should it come up in an interview.

Related Article: 8 Effective Strategies to Get Out of a Misdemeanor

Best Job Options for People With a Criminal History

If you have a criminal record, you still have options for your career. Here are some examples of jobs you can find to get a second chance:

  • Delivery jobs
  • Foodservice
  • Technology
  • Construction
  • Administrative work
  • Work from home/self-employment

Also Read: How to Deal With a Misdemeanor During the Job Application Process?

Explaining a Criminal History to a Potential Employer

Dealing with potential employers during a job interview is never easy for people with a criminal record. Applicants who lie on an application may get hired but then fired if their criminal past is exposed. Those who are honest may feel like they'll never have a chance; however, the following pointers may be helpful to people with criminal histories during a job interview:

Be Honest

On your job application, write ”will discuss in an interview” when asked about criminal history rather than explaining your crimes. During the interview, keep explanations brief, and stress what you have learned, how you have changed, and your skills or assets.

Gaps in Employment

If you went to jail for your crime and had a job, list it on your application. Under salary, write “minimum wage.” Be positive and stress that you acquired valuable experience and skills while incarcerated.

Reason for Leaving

Avoid using phrases like “went to jail” or “paroled.” Use “relocated” or “Contract ended” instead. Both qualify as true.


Be comfortable discussing your past during the interview. Practice ahead of time and maintain eye contact. Keep explanations short and concentrate on what you have to offer the employer. Believe in yourself and you will exude confidence.

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