5. How do I explain my criminal history to employers and others?

Make sure you are fully aware of what potential employers and other decision-makers will see when they check your criminal background. Get a copy of your official criminal history record and at least one unofficial criminal history report. Be sure you know the number of times you have been arrested and whether charge(s) and conviction(s) were misdemeanors or felonies so you can provide correct information to potential employers.

Always answers questions about your criminal history truthfully, but do not provide more information than is requested. When explaining your criminal history, take responsibility for past actions and emphasize how you have moved forward in a positive way. Share positive experiences with potential employers. Potential employers will not be impressed by hearing negative feelings you have about your case.

You may want to draft a brief letter explaining your criminal history to potential employers. You should draft a letter that fits your experience and situation. Your letter should explain how you moved on with your life after your involvement with the criminal justice system.

Posted in: Criminal Records