Growth Trends for Related Jobs

How to Get a Job After You've Been Arrested

careertrend article image
handcuffs image by William Berry from

Having a criminal record can raise a red flag when applying for a job and call into question your integrity, honesty and character. If the employer does not specifically ask you about your criminal history, do not volunteer the information. If you are required to submit to a background check or are asked if you have been arrested or convicted of a crime, do not lie about your history, attempt to cover up your record or make excuses for your behavior. Instead, show maturity and integrity, characteristics that an employer will value.

Have your arrest record expunged. If your arrest was for a juvenile or misdemeanor offense, petition the court to have your arrest record sealed or expunged. According to legal experts at FindLaw, the process for expunging a criminal record varies by state and may involve preparing a motion and arguing your case in front of a judge. Once the court has expunged your record, it will no longer show up in background checks.

Emphasize your skills and work habits. Before applying for a managerial job or sensitive position in the company, begin by working as a contractor or volunteer to show that you are reliable and have a strong work ethic, suggests the Washington Post.

Take responsibility for your actions. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse advises that you own up to your arrest record if it comes up during a job interview or on an application. "A criminal matter honestly explained during an interview may have much less negative impact than hiding it and having an employer discover it later," the group explains.

Locate a reintegration program through your local justice system. If you were formerly incarcerated, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse suggests that you enlist the help of an organization that works with former offenders. These groups can help you prepare a resume and put you in contact with employers who are willing to hire persons with arrest records.


Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.