12 Best Jobs if You Have a Felony

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Our list of the best jobs if you have a felony will help you get that second chance and get back on your feet.

Before we start, we need to get few things out of the way. Getting a job with a felony conviction is hard and often an uphill battle. People will look at you funny, stereotype you, and generally, judge you based on your conviction. Try to not let that discourage you, which is of course much easier said than done. In order to ease that for you, we have a few tips that will help you find some of the best jobs if you have a felony. There are plenty of advice on how to pursue a career with a felony background, like the ones found on JobUnlocker and we have distilled them for you here, but by far the best advice we have found is on Reddit, given by an ex-con who managed to turn his life around. Be sure to check it out, as it offers some true words of wisdom. Here are our tips on how to find a job as a convicted felon.

12 Best Jobs if You Have a Felony


Research your options. See which employers require a background check and which don’t. Avoid wasting your time on applying for jobs that include money handling, children, or security, as these are usually the most thoroughly checked and getting them as a felon is almost impossible.

Be mindful about your appearances. If you look like a professional, people will treat you like one. If you look like a convict…well, you get the picture. You don’t have to be rich to dress nice and sharp and taking care of personal hygiene is a must. If you have any tattoos, try to hide them as best as you can or consider having them removed. You don’t want to give people reasons to see you as a stereotype and place a label on you.

If there’s an even slight chance that you will be questioned about your past, get ready to talk about it in short and concise way. There is no need to grovel, but also don’t blame everybody else for your troubles. Hiring managers may or may not take a risk and give an honest ex-convict a chance, but nobody will hire a person unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.

Don’t lie. Be honest and admit that you have made a mistake, but that you are ready to continue with your life now. We are all human and can relate to making an error in judgment one time or another.

Get help is possible. There are a lot of organizations dedicated to helping people with felonies get a second chance. These people know the local employers and will gladly point you in the right direction. Not only will you know where to look for a job, but with their recommendation, it will be much easier to get one.

If you can afford to wait, volunteering for a while is an option worth considering. It will allow you to get some experience and it will look nice on your resume. And if you are in a position, self-employment can be a very lucrative option, but that isn’t for everyone and not everyone has skills or an opportunity for being their own boss and starting their own business. Finally, if you can manage it, going back to school is a viable option. Hire Felons has a nice overview of college degrees for felons you may pursue.

The best tip we can give you about finding a job as a felon is to be patient and stay positive. Don’t lose your cool if people put you down. They will hold their prejudices against you but try not to take it personally, rare are ex-convicts who haven’t face them after doing the time. Keep your head above water and keep paddling, sooner or later something will come up. It is all about networking, so use every chance you get to meet new people.

In order to create the list of best jobs if you have a felony, we have consulted several online resources that deal with the matter. Trade Schools site has a nice selection and Jobs for Felons hub has one as well. If you are not in your youth anymore, take a look at our list of the Best Jobs if You Are Above 50, and maybe combine it with this one and see if there is something that may suit you. Here are our recommendations, ranked according to median hourly wage, supplied by PayScale.

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