Ostriches will attempt to avoid dangerous situations by burying their heads in sand and pretending the threat does not exist. Although this saying comes from a false legend about Ostriches, it is true that you cannot avoid risky situations, such as a criminal history in a job search, by pretending that it does not exist.
A criminal history is one of the most difficult things to overcome when it’s time to find a job. Many employers require criminal background checks, or at least self-disclosure of criminal history on applications, and the thought of losing out on an opportunity due to even minor charges lurking in your background can be nerve-wracking. But, this is no reason to lose hope for future employment or faith in your career. In fact, there are many steps you can take to overcome a negative background check during the interview process and even give off a better impression than you would have otherwise. Read on for some steps and ideas:
1. Address it head-on.
If you already know that you have some criminal history on your record that could potentially affect your employment, then it’s a very good idea to address the issue head on. This is something that you have to balance, though. If the charges are light enough, such as a few parking tickets, then you may not want to bring them up at all. If there are some serious misdemeanors or felonies on your record it is never a good idea to stay silent. Rather than waiting until your interviewer brings it up or (even worse) hoping they don’t notice, take the matter into your own hands and let him or her know in the initial interview stages. You will look much more professional by addressing the issue clearly and honestly than by skirting the possible hesitations of the employer.
2. Tell the truth.
This is probably one of the most important pieces of advice when it comes to dealing with a negative history during a job search. It can be tempting to simply keep this information off your application or make certain charges seem less serious than they really were, but this is almost certain grounds for dismissal if your employer ever learns the truth. If you are honest about your past, many employers will take your honesty into account when they are considering whether to hire you. If you are dishonest, an employer would not be wise to ever consider you for hire. Besides, it is much better to approach a job interview knowing that you are being forthright. Getting through an interview based on lies will only mean that you have to keep up those stories to your boss and everyone else who works there.
3. Discuss what you’ve learned.
If you need to bring up some criminal history during a job interview, try to turn this potential negative into a positive. Depending on the charges and how long ago they occurred, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss your own life with a potential employer and what you’ve learned from past experiences. Everyone has a past, and no one is perfect. If there were issues in your life that caused you to go down the wrong path, own up to them and express why you are a different person now than you were then. Learning from your mistakes does not make you less of an employee, it simply makes you human, and every successful person has gone through trials to get to where they are today.
4. Don’t be picky.
Even though the thought of a future employer uncovering a less-than-stellar background in your past makes you cringe, there is no reason to feel like your life and opportunity for success is over. However, knowing that you have a record that would make many employers look the other way, you have to be prepared for multiple rejections. But, there is always opportunity to re-build and start again. If you have to work in less than desirable positions for a while, then that is what you have to do, but there is always a way to come back from a criminal past, as long as you have a true desire to work hard and continue moving in a positive direction. So keep your head out of the sand!
This guest post was contributed by Jane Smith. Jane is a freelance blogger and writer for http://www.backgroundcheck.org/. She specializes in career issues, managing an online reputation, and making healthy life choices. She welcomes you to email her any questions or comments and can be reached at janesmith161 @gmail.com.
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