What Kinds of Jobs Can I Get with a Criminal Record?

Jobs with a Criminal Record

Job searches are challenging for everyone. From completing applications, submitting resumes, the constant interviewing and having potential employers perform background checks, the job hunt is no easy task. Having a criminal record brings on an entirely unique set of barriers that can prevent anyone from gaining employment.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that from 1990 to 2006, the number of Americans with felony convictions increased by a shocking 37%. But research suggests that former prisoners who secure employment after being released are more likely to be successful as they integrate back into society.

If you’re wondering what kinds of jobs you can get with a criminal record, the career specialists at Empire Resume have gathered some information to help guide you along. 

Ban the Box Laws

Thirty six states, the District of Columbia, and over 150 cities and counties have taken an active approach to adopting the “Ban the Box” or fair-chance hiring laws, which places limits on an employer’s inquiries into a candidate’s criminal record. Currently, federal “Ban the Box” laws do not exist.

We’ve listed the states with the “Ban the Box” laws below:

Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.  

Jobs Available for Those with a Criminal Record

Jobs with a Criminal Record

We’ve scoured the internet to find jobs available for people with a criminal record. If you’re in this situation, we hope seeing these job opportunities give you a sense of relief that you, too, can be gainfully employed. Keep in mind, some jobs may require an associate or even bachelor’s degree, and many will be entry-level, but they are attainable.

The jobs available, depending on the criminal history, include:

  • Truck driver
  • Wind turbine technician
  • Mobile app developer
  • Customer support specialists
  • Marketing specialists
  • Plumbers
  • Writers
  • Dog trainer
  • Barber
  • Chef
  • Carpenters
  • Telemarketers
  • Thrift store employee, like Goodwill

If you’re self-employed or become a part of the gig economy, the possibility of having to complete a background check is slim to none.

What Major Companies Hire Felons?

According to the Hire Felons website, the following industries and companies have a history of hiring people with felony convictions:

  • Grocery: Trader Joe’s Costco, Publix, Kroger, Safeway, Wegman’s, Whole Foods, H.E.B, Ralphs
  • Hospitality: Marriot Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Wyndham Hotels, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and Radisson Hotel Group
  • Cellular/Cable: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Comcast
  • Restaurants: McDonald’s, Taco Bell, KFC, Boston Market, Chili’s, Outback Steakhouse, Cici’s Pizza, IHOP, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Buffalo Wild Wings, Red Robin Burgers, The Cheesecake Factory, Dairy Queen, and Wendy’s

Jobs Available for Those with a Criminal Record

  • Food and Beverage Processing and Packaging: Tyson Foods, General Mills, Smithfield Foods, Kraft, Coca Cola, Pepsi Co., US Foods, Aramark, Del Monte Foods, Campbell’s Soup Co
  • Airlines: Delta, British Airways, American Airlines, United Airlines, Jet Blue
  • Delivery: UPS, FedEx, DoorDash, Allied Van Lines
  • Manufacturing: Ford, Chevron, General Motors, Boeing, Apple, Tesla

Honest Jobs: A Prime Resource for Job Seekers with a Criminal Record

Meet Harley Blakeman, a 2017 graduate of the Ohio State University. When he graduated with a business degree, he began the job hunt. But his felony record from 2010, for trafficking prescription drugs, shoplifting and theft, was a barrier to potential employers.

After 36 interviews, he successfully gained one offer of employment despite his background. The hiring manager was very understanding and gave him a second chance. After some time, he was promoted.

While he enjoyed his work, he wanted to help other people with criminal records find work as well. Blakeman left his job and created Honest Jobs, a free website that posts job openings from “felon-friendly employers” who consider hiring candidates with a criminal past.

For more information on Blakely and his journey to launching Honest Jobs, visit the ABA Journal article, How to help people with criminal records break barriers to employment.

Job Search for Felons

Jobs Available for Those with a Criminal Record

To ensure you’re taking every approach to make the job search easier for yourself, be sure to do the following:

  • Request a copy of your criminal record

Check with your local and state agencies to request a copy of your record for accuracy. Review your criminal record so you are familiar with what it contains. The element of surprise should not be a factor during your job search.

  • Know your rights

We mentioned the Ban the Box laws above. It’s important for you to be aware of the laws that ensure you are fairly considered for jobs because some employers are not following the rules that are put in place.

  • Work with an attorney to clear your criminal record

The possibility of walking into an interview and saying, “I do not have a conviction” can happen with a record expungement. An expungement is a request to destroy or seal a criminal record from data storage.

Put Your Job Search in the Best Hands with Empire Resume

Empire Resume has helped thousands of people get the job they deserve. If you’re a job seeker with a criminal record, we can create a rock-star resume, a personalized cover letter, and a noticeable LinkedIn profile.

Don’t take our word for it. See what our clients say by checking out our Google reviews. Become our client and receive a How to Get Your Resume Seen and How to Master an Interview guide. Contact Empire Resume for professional resume writing services today. We deliver results, guaranteed!

Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.

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9 thoughts on “What Kinds of Jobs Can I Get with a Criminal Record?

  1. Samantha maxwell says:

    This is a lie. I have a misdemeanor of conspiracy of fraud from 11 years ago in pa. I had a job lined up and quit my previous job and was let go before I even started. I have applied to numerous jobs and get the job and get stopped every time. Walmart wouldn’t even hire me in the bakery department. Little Caesars wouldn’t hire me. My previous job was horrible and I would never go back. I have over 12 years experience in shipping, receiving, and office experience with a degree in business administration and none of that matters. Second chances are not given they don’t see the person just the past.

    • Ted Anderson says:

      I’ve found the same thing. I have a misdemeanor for contempt of court and applied for every and any job I could find. I have a college degree from a top public university and yet am dismissed at the end of the process every time due to the criminal record. My mistake was not violent, and no one was hurt, and yet now I can’t get a job to support myself or my family.

    • Im sorry for your experience Samantha, have you ever though of doing freelance or becoming a virtual assistant? I feel these are the best options, its worked for me and i have a felony.

  2. its something else the way they weed people out of living a good life. if you go to jail for anything you might as well consider a life change. Dismissed charges even show up. You have one hope as to pay them to take it off your records. Which you to wait in the mud some years to even be considered. Our kids are the ones who suffer a man comes back and is faced with hard choices without the support of good work.

    • Empire Resume says:

      Yes, it’s too bad that a criminal record (regardless of what it’s for) has such a sever impact on getting a job and a person’s overall quality of life.

  3. It is very very sad especially considering the “claim” of doing the TIME for your crime when in REALITY your never going to be considered as being done with what the so-called punishment ! It is a LIFETIME of punishment as far as the public is concerned and allowed to continue to punish you for!

    • It’s very unfortunate how people are labeled once they are in the system for any reason. Some employers are more lenient than others, but it’s never an easy process to find a job with a criminal record.

  4. It is very disappointing to see the effect that a record has on your future. Life is a journey and this has derailed the comeback for me. I was pulled over for a headlight and was arrested for possession because i had a couple pain pills i was using for a bulging disc. Obviously a mistake but my charge was 15 years ago. I spent the last 15 years with the same company i was with during the arrest. I was blessed enough to retain my job at the time. In june of last year my employer sold the business and i was not retained. Over the last year i have applied to a number of places and I have been unable to secure a job. It’s truly discouraging

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