It's difficult to look for a job even without a criminal record, but the situation can be even more complicated if you've been in prison or had trouble with the law. The prison population in Brazil exceeds 600 thousand; that is, many people may have problems getting a job because of a past mistake. You can't control the decisions of a potential employer, but you can control how you behave and conduct your job search. Know your rights!
Method 1 of 3: Applying for Jobs
Step 1. Know your rights
In some cases, you don't need to tell the potential employer about your history. You don't need to talk about it if:
- Has been arrested but has not been convicted.
- You are undergoing pre-trial for a non-criminal offense.
- Has committed a minor offense related to drug use.
- Deleted criminal history on account of a rehabilitation certificate.
- Has been convicted during his youth.
Step 2. Know the offenses on your record
The nature of the crimes is very important, as some convictions will disqualify you from certain jobs. For example, if you have been convicted of a financial crime, you should not work in banks and insurance companies. Think carefully about the crime you have committed and which types of jobs are not affected by it. Ideally, the conviction has nothing to do with the job you are looking for.
- Do some research before assuming things. Don't assume that your registration will disqualify you for a particular job. Think carefully about the relationship of the conviction to the position sought before making rash decisions and giving up on a candidacy.
- Cut the positions for which you will be disqualified immediately. Your registration may prevent you from performing certain roles, such as working with children or taking positions with financial responsibility.
Step 3. Know your rights
It is illegal to disqualify a candidate simply because he or she has a criminal history. There is a great stigma from the past that affects our society until today, where many people from poor backgrounds, who are highly criminalized by society, end up suffering disproportionately with a policy such as discarding potential candidates because of their criminal history.
- You must show that the conviction will impair your ability to do the job or damage the employer's trust in you.
- It is necessary to take into account the time elapsed since the conviction or the end of the sentence. The employer will have a harder time denying a hire based on an old conviction.
- You need to consider the type of job you are applying for. For example, if you've been convicted of assault, you're unlikely to get a job where you'll have to interact with the public.
Step 4. Chat with your contacts
If a friend or relative is hiring or you know someone hiring, ask for help. You will be more likely to get a job when you are referred by someone close to you.
Ask your lawyer to write a letter of recommendation for the future employer if they know each other. The lawyer can vouch for your character, talk about how long you've known you, and confirm what kind of person you are. It can also talk a little bit about how you've changed since the conviction, or how the conviction came about because of a past mistake that won't happen again
Step 5. Network
Connections can help you get a job you wouldn't even be considered for. Create a professional LinkedIn profile, find an industry association you want to work for, and become a member. Whenever possible, participate in lectures in the area and meet people.
Step 6. Look for vacancies that allow you to work "behind the scenes"
You have a good chance of getting maintenance jobs, restocking, etc. It can be difficult to get jobs where you will be responsible for others' money or interact with the public.
Restaurants and bars often provide many opportunities for people with criminal records
Step 7. Go little by little
Understand that when faced with your criminal record, your prospective employer may be reluctant to hire you for a position with many responsibilities, but may be willing to give you a chance in positions with fewer responsibilities and lower salaries. Take the chance to demonstrate that you are a trustworthy employee!
- Hire a temp agency. You will need to inform them of your history, but they may not need to pass that data on to potential employers. So you get the chance to prove your ability.
- Do whatever it takes to get started. You may need to start with positions below your training. Take the opportunity to rebuild your resume.
- If you've spent time in prison, the hole in your employment history can be as big an obstacle as a conviction. You may need to build a new employment history with small positions before you can get back into your career.
Step 8. Always be honest
As much as you want to lie when asked if you have a criminal record, it's important to be honest with potential employers. Many of them perform background checks from the outside; if they find out you lied, your chances go down the drain. If you are hired and the truth comes out later, you will likely be fired.
- Criminal history checks may not find old convictions. Still, if the company finds out later that you lied, you'll likely lose your job.
- Know your rights. The employer will likely need your authorization to do a criminal history check. If you are not hired, request a copy of the history issued in order to correct any inaccurate information or information that is unduly harming you. Also, you will have a chance to defend yourself.
- According to Law No. 9,029/95, the contracting party cannot require you to present a record with your criminal record. He can, on the other hand, make an appointment, with your authorization, provided he explains the reasons for the request. Your registration cannot, by itself, prevent you from being hired, as long as the conviction is not related to the desired position.
- Lying in some candidacies is a crime, such as when enlisting in the military, for example. Be sincere!
- If asked about a past conviction, explain yourself. The interview allows you to explain the circumstances behind what happened. Many employers are interested in people willing to erase past mistakes.
Step 9. Read the job posting text carefully
Be honest when filling out the application, but don't feel obligated to provide more information than the request.
- For example, if you are specifically asked whether you have already been convicted of a crime, there is no need to cite minor convictions.
- Sometimes the application text may ask you about convictions related to specific crimes, such as those associated with drug use or sexual abuse. If the question is very specific, don't feel obligated to cite cases that are unrelated to what was asked.
Step 10. Contact NGOs and agencies that specialize in helping individuals with a criminal record find employment
There are several organizations with this purpose, just do some research to find one in your region.
- The Second Chance project, for example, receives résumés and appoints former inmates for various jobs. The NGO also monitors the performance of those hired and holds professional orientation meetings to prepare candidates for the job market.
- There are several programs within prisons to help inmates prepare for their future in freedom.
Step 11. Try cleaning your registry
According to Article 202 of the Criminal Execution Law, after the sentence is extinguished, no information should appear in your criminal record. The above penalties will only be found if you are arrested for another crime. Contact an attorney to find out more information on how to proceed.
Method 2 of 3: Trying Other Options
Step 1. Work as a self-employed person.
If you are willing to put in the effort and have good skills to employ, create your own opportunities. The advantage of self-employment is the lack of criminal background checks.
- Become a service provider. Plumber, barber, electrician, etc. are good options. Some professions require the taking of a professional license and, in many cases, the process of obtaining a license requires a criminal history check. Rest assured that a conviction should not disqualify you, especially if it occurred a long time ago and was an isolated case.
- Professionals responsible for issuing licenses must be aware of which convictions should prevent you from exercising which professions. For example, someone who wants to work in the cosmetics business will likely have difficulty obtaining a license if they have a conviction involving child abuse, sexual misconduct, or physical assault, as they must deal directly with the public.
- Think about what you are good at. Start a business that makes good use of your skills. People who hire maintenance professionals, for example, tend to judge the work performed, not the criminal history. If you've worked in a maintenance business in the past, you might be able to move on with your career.
- You will probably need another job to support yourself as you get started with your own company.
Step 2. Volunteer
Even if you don't get a paid position to start, volunteering will help you in the future. For many professions, volunteering can count on your resume, which will help you get back into the workforce. Find a non-profit organization in the area to work with.
Volunteering allows you to demonstrate that you are responsible and trustworthy. Also, being a good professional will allow your superiors to help you in the future when you are looking for a job
Method 3 of 3: Preparing for the job market after being arrested
Step 1. Think about options for the future while you're still stuck
Educational opportunities are available at most correctional institutions. Take advantage of your incarcerated period to complete basic studies or take technical and higher education courses. Good preparation is important, especially for those who will be imprisoned for a long time. If you don't have a lot of professional or educational experience, you will leave prison without many job options. In some cases, even with experience, it will not be possible to resume an existing career.
For example, if you worked at a bank and were convicted of theft, you probably won't be able to work in finance anymore
Step 2. Contact support groups for people fresh out of prison
They can help you apply for positions that don't require extremely clean records. Do an internet search to find such a support group.
The Second Chance Project can help you get back into the job market. To get in touch with him, click here
Step 3. Enjoy training and education programs after being released from prison
Several government agencies and NGOs present opportunities for those who wish to complete their studies and enter the labor market.
- Discover programs such as Employability, Bem Querer, Coopereso, Respect Module and Tem Quem Querira by clicking here. You will certainly find the help you need.
- There are several private and governmental initiatives to include ex-prisoners in the job market again, with training and workshops to teach useful skills in the most diverse fields.
- The experiences gained and the skills developed in such initiatives can make a huge difference in the success of your job search. Many of the companies will also help you look for a vacancy after the training is over. Talk to the most diverse agencies to find out what they have to offer.
- If you have been unfairly discriminated against because of your conviction, consult with an attorney and file a formal complaint against the company.
- The lawyer you hired for your defense can certainly help you out of jail. He probably has contacts of people who can help him get a job.