If you have a blemish on your record—legal, financial or other—it can be difficult to obtain employment or even get housing. While it may be difficult to change a part of your record, you can take steps to avoid a future employer or landlord from looking at said record.
Determine the reason for avoiding a background check. A check on your history will not necessarily bar you from employment or housing. However, there are certain infractions that companies are looking to avoid. For example, if you're applying for a driving position and you have a DUI on your record, you'd be best not to apply and instead look for another opportunity. If the infraction directly affects the employment you are seeking, employers will be unwilling to bring you on board.
Be directly in contact with an employer or landlord. Ask if a background will be conducted. In some cases, you may be able to convince a potential checker not to proceed with the check. This usually can be accomplished through strong references, job history and other credentials. Never hide the truth, however. If an employer is adamant about conducting a screening, you can at least get out of the process early enough and not waste time.
Apply to jobs that do not traditionally conduct searches. Some places that will surely conduct searches are: government agencies, schools, military, healthcare facilities and banking institutions. Places that typically do not conduct searches are: small, privately run businesses, food service and editorial work.
Research working abroad. With the proper visas and arrangements, you can work overseas without an employer conducting a search. While permanent residence is not likely without citizenship, countries in western Europe especially are very open to visa renewal and long-term stays. Additionally, building up an international resume will help to overcome shortcomings in your history when you return to the States.
Always try to clear up blemishes on your own. Sometimes, time alone will cure an infraction on your record. Look into expungement or record-sealing so that you can move past your mistakes.