I work with many people with criminal records, who for whatever reason committed a crime in their past and are now ready to make a new start by making a new career.
The problem is that when employers hear “criminal record” they will often stereotype this person without even meeting them.
This article will help you overcome that small problem by helping you write the perfect covering letter explaining your convictions. Imagine your heard that someone had a criminal record for indecent exposure what would you think about this applicant? Most people would not even bother to interview person, but the truth is you can have a record for indecent exposure for being caught having a wee up a tree after a drunken night out. Now I’m not saying that weeing up a tree while you drunk isn’t a criminal offence or that taking a leak outside is OK but there is a difference between this crime and say, a flasher. And this is why you need to explain the circumstances of the situation, even we offer offensives as I have met people who have been forced to commit a crime, it may seem easy to say “no” while reading this article but with a threat of having your arms broken can persuade the best of us to commit a crime.
1. First start by recording “Dear Mr X” and record what position you are applying for as you do with all cover letters. this shows that you are professional and that you have made a really effort with your application.
2. Highlight your key skills, experiences and qualifications – sell, sell sell. In most cases you will write a small statement highlighting your key career or educational achievements or bullet point your career success.
3. Add a second paragraph highlighting more selling points – like any covering letter you need to highlight what “value” you can bring to the organisation. By this point the employer will be keen to meet you as you meet and exceed to essential criteria of the job position
4. At this point the employer likes what they have read as you have matched your selling point to their criteria, so you can now add a section explaining due to past circumstances you committed a crime and that these convictions are now spent. And the hardships that original encouraged you to commit a crime no longer apply and you have learnt from your past. At this point keep the paragraph short and talk more about how you have changed or learnt from these past experiences to become a better person and employee.
5. Add a section describing why you want to work for that particular organisation and again when appropriate add more selling points about yourself. this is a must and most job hunters don’t do this as it takes too much time – more fool them, because if you spend time on your application you will secure more job interviews.
6. Finally finish with a line confirming that you are available for an interview at a time convenient to the employer and finish with “Yours faithfully..”
So, like all cover letters highlight your strengths, when you have hooked the employer discuss briefly your convictions describing how it was past circumstances that led you to crime and how you have learnt from this experience.
A final note you will be amazed by the amount of employer who also have a spent record which means they will understand where you are coming and hopefully offer you a job interview remember the key to winning job offers is confidence selling skills
With many employers depending on your career choice if you have a “spent” conviction you do not need to disclose this information. Generally when working with vulnerable people you have to declare spent and current convictions.