Even after you’ve served your time for a domestic violence conviction, your record can hinder your life for years to come. Despite your previous job experience, you’ll likely have difficulty finding employment. However, you can minimize the negative effects by taking responsibility for the past and persuading employers you’re not a risk.
Target Your Job Search
Research what occupations will exclude you because of your domestic violence conviction. Public service jobs such as law enforcement, government, military or emergency responder positions such as firefighter or paramedic are likely off-limits. This is also true for teaching positions or healthcare jobs such as nursing. If you have a job that requires licensing or bonding, required in fields such as healthcare, education or operating a day care, you’ll likely lose your license, making it impossible to find employment in that field again.
You’re legally required to disclose your conviction on job applications. While you might be tempted to conceal your past, many employers routinely conduct background checks and will uncover your record. Even if they’re open to hiring applicants with a criminal history, most will automatically disqualify you for lying. Own up to your arrest and your time in jail, and answer any questions the employer has. He might be less hesitant about taking a chance on you if you demonstrate a willingness to be forthcoming about your past.
Describe What You Learned
Prove to employers that you’ve learned from your mistakes and changed your life for the better. If substance abuse or mental health issues contributed to your violent past, explain how you’ve gotten these problems under control. For example, tell employers that you spent time in rehab or joined a 12-step program, and that you’ve been clean and sober ever since. Or, discuss therapies such as anger management classes or treatment for psychiatric disorders. If you have children and have visitation rights, stress that the court has enough faith in you to allow you to regularly see your kids.
Focus on the Future
Once you’ve addressed your history, steer the conversation toward your goals and qualifications. For example, say “I wish I could change the past, but I can only concentrate on creating a better future. I just completed my degree and have been steadily employed since my release. My previous supervisor will verify that I was a model employee.” Discuss why you’re interested in the position. For example, say “Now that my life is back on track, I look forward to moving into a position with more responsibility. That’s why I’m excited to learn more about your company and how I can contribute.”
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images