Even if you have done everything you can to turn your life around after being convicted of a crime – even a relatively minor offense – it can be very difficult to get a job, because whether it is fair or not that criminal record will often hold you back.
In ‘the old days’ it was a common practice for job applicants with a criminal record to ‘take a chance’ and lie on their application form, as they were fairly secure in the knowledge that they would not be found out. Times, however, have changed, and with approximately 80% of employers now conducting formal background checks before making a hire such tactics are no longer an option. And it was never a good idea anyway because were the applicant found to have lied after they were hired, then that lie was certainly grounds for dismissal.
So what is the answer? Anyone with a criminal record has likely experienced rejection because of their criminal record, no matter how much they have changed or how qualified they are for the position they apply. While there is no guarantee it will work every time is one effective way to address the situation is with a well-prepared statement of facts, or SOF as it is often called.
What is a Statement of Facts?
No doubt whenever you apply for a job you include a cover letter along with your resume. It’s standard practice to do so and even in the age of email and Internet-based applications that’s still the case.
In that cover letter, you no doubt highlight all the things that make you especially suited for the job, and offer a short and concise ‘argument’ for hiring you versus other candidates. A Statement of Facts does a similar thing and is used in a similar way.
The difference between a standard cover letter and an SOF is that it offers an honest and accurate accounting of the crime that the prospective employer is inevitably going to discover as a part of a background check. That background check will only reveal the record, not the story behind it or your behavior since. A Statement of Facts gives you the chance to do that, giving you a voice in the hiring process that you really never had before.
What Makes for an Effective Statement of Facts?
When explaining your criminal past it is easy to get a little carried away and sound resentful and angry, which you very well may be. Losing a chance to secure a great job just because of something that happened twenty years ago is not fair, but it’s also often the reality of the situation.
To be effective, an SOF needs to be concise and well-written, presenting the facts in a positive light while also highlighting the reasons why you would make the best hire. This, for many people, will call for the services of a professional, someone who is experienced in creating these kinds of statements. It’s an extra expense sure, but one that is well worth making, and will certainly be more effective in helping you get the job you want than a fancy colored resume, an expensive new interview outfit or one of the many other ‘tricks’ job applicants are often advised to use today.