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A reader of mine sent me an email stating they have been looking for employment for over a year and  have yet to get any luck. This person stated that they have been upfront and honest about there felony conviction on every application and it has only gotten them a handful of interviews with no call backs. This person asked me if it would be worth the risk to lie on job applications about their felony convictions.

When filling out  job applications it is best to be honest and upfront. It demonstrates your honesty and integrity. How about submitting a neat and well-worded letter in addition to and with the application that explains your situation? State what you were convicted of, state if you spent time in incarceration or not, share any counseling you may have gotten, how you feel and think about the crime you committed. I have never seen it stated on an application where you could not submit an additional letter. But, I have seen it on an application where you are actually encouraged to submit additional documentation.  

Try submitting your cover letter and resume without filling out the application first. Many places will allow you to do this. That is how I do it most of the time. Especially for those jobs that are most desirable. You may eventually have to fill out an application just because that is how a lot of places might process things. However, at least they got to see what you have to say about why you are the best candidate for the position that they are offering.

When you do get an interview, and I do mean when, you need to be honest and upfront. However, not at the beginning of the interview. After your GREAT interview, you mention it at the end, starting with something like: ‘There’s something that I want to be honest and upfront with you about…’

Be ever diligent and determined in your job search. I know that searching for a job can be a full-time job in itself.Maybe you have some other skills that you could use or develop to be self-employed?

Also please remember that in most states employers can only go back as far as seven years when conducting background checks. So I do encourage you  not state you have a conviction if it is more than seven years old. Some applications will ask, have you been convicted of a felony in the past seven years? Some will ask, have you been convicted of a felony in the past ten years? And some will ask have you been convicted of a felony? Remember if your felon conviction is older than seven years in most states you do not have to add it on a application. 

I also encourage you to check your states policies on getting your criminal record expunged or pardoned.

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