How do I get employers to see past my convictions and give me a chance?

By being honest. Every employer we spoke to says 100% honesty is the very first hurdle.

A covering letter with your application is the perfect chance to introduce yourself and your attitude towards work. Simon, who had been in prison for violent offences, talked about how he used to hang around with the wrong types of people, but prison had provided him with useful training, and he now felt like a different person.

Look for opportunities even before you apply for work. Remember, like Patric, volunteering is a fantastic route into work. Turn your interests, whether it’s football or helping the local community into a tool, giving something back and building up your experience, showing you have the commitment to begin work, as Alfred did.

In interviews remember how important first impressions are. Be confident, make eye contact, and talk positively about your skills and experiences. Listen, and be enthusiastic about the opportunities being presented to you. Remember even the smallest steps can be the beginning of new skills and a new career.

Remember that circumstance is everything. Like Simon, Matt was honest in his interview, and talked about how being in debt had led him to make a stupid decision. He talked about that period in his life being a one off and how prison had made him realise he wanted a career and the chance to develop new skills. Rashel was clear about how much he had changed, and said that he wanted the satisfaction of working for his money, and to leave his life of crime behind him.

What’s next?

Read Rashel’s story here

Watch it on Vimeo

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This page was last updated on February 14th, 2014

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