How to Get a Job with a Felony: A Second Chance

The stigma of having a felony can follow you for years after the fact. Finding employment can seem nearly impossible when employers are wary of giving someone a second chance. But don’t despair! While it may feel like all hope is lost, there are many ways to secure job opportunities, even if you have had previous run-ins with the law. In this blog post, we will explore some strategies you can use to show potential employers that you are still an ideal candidate worthy of an opportunity despite your past mistakes. So let’s jump in and take on the challenge of how to get a job with a felony—it just might open up more options than you thought possible!

The Obstacles

Reentering society after being released from prison can feel like a herculean task, especially for individuals with felony convictions. Unfortunately, finding work with a criminal record can be challenging. The lack of a valid government ID or permanent address and phone number only compounds the difficulty. Reintegrating back into society can take several weeks or even months, making it imperative that formerly incarcerated individuals have access to resources that offer support and enable them to establish roots again in the community.

Finding a job can be daunting, but it’s even more challenging for ex-offenders. Parole requirements and the stigma surrounding hiring make it difficult. Having to report multiple times a week during regular business hours can be a hurdle in any job, let alone a job that’s already hard to get. Employers often view felons as dishonest, lazy, or not worth their investment. It’s a countdown to prison, so why hire someone who won’t stick around? How do you navigate these barriers if you’re an ex-offender searching for a job?

Tips for Finding a Job with a Felony

Discovering the perfect job can be stressful, but here are some helpful tips to guide you through the process.

Use Connections

If you have connections to people who can help you land a job, taking advantage of them is important. Working with a mentor or friend who can introduce you to potential employers is an invaluable way to get your foot in the door and start your job search on the right path.

Don’t Be Choosy

When you’re just starting out in the job market, it’s best not to be too picky. As long as a potential employer is willing to give you a chance, taking any opportunity that comes your way is essential. It can be difficult to accept low-paying jobs or jobs below your qualifications. Still, it’s important to remember that this is only a temporary measure. If you do well, you can eventually move up the career ladder.

Look into Industries Needing Workers

Some industries, such as construction or manufacturing, are more likely to hire ex-offenders. This type of work is often in high demand and can offer opportunities for those with few other options. Additionally, there is a great need for healthcare professionals with criminal records and transportation and logistics workers.

Remain Proactive

It’s important to remain proactive in your job search. Keeping a positive attitude and reaching out to potential employers, even if you don’t hear back from them immediately, can make all the difference in your success as an ex-offender looking for work. Additionally, it’s also beneficial to attend job fairs and career expos and take advantage of the available state and local job assistance programs.

Be Honest About Your Record

When you do get the opportunity to speak with potential employers, it’s vital that you’re honest about your criminal record. Don’t try to hide any information from them—if they ask, be prepared to answer their questions with respect and dignity. Focusing on how your experience has shaped you into a more competent and responsible employee is also important.

Seek Out Small Businesses

Small businesses often have fewer resources to run background checks. They may be more willing to take a chance on someone with a criminal record. Additionally, many small businesses are looking for hardworking individuals who are eager and motivated to learn new skills.

Start Your Own Business

Starting your own business can be attractive for those willing to take a chance. Although it may require more upfront investment and hard work, the rewards of owning your own business can be well worth the effort. With the proper guidance and support, you may have the potential to succeed in becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Have Your Felony Record Expunged

In some cases, you might be able to have your felony record expunged from the court system. Many states allow felons to petition for expungement if their crime was non-violent and they’ve been out of trouble for a certain period. This can open up more job opportunities and help improve your chances of landing a job.

11 Companies that Hire Felons

Numerous well-known companies have taken the initiative to give felons a fair chance at employment by signing the Fair Chance Business Pledge. Although confirming which companies are committed to this cause remains difficult, some notable names have stepped up to the plate.

Coca-Cola Co.

The Coca-Cola Corporation is one of the largest employers in the world. It has committed to giving felons a second chance. It works with nonprofits focusing on job placement for those who have served their time.


PepsiCo is another large company committed to giving felons a fair chance. It offers job opportunities in its warehouses and distribution centers and internships for potential employees with criminal records.


Starbucks is known for its commitment to diversity and inclusion and has made a point of hiring felons as well. The company has pledged to give felons employment opportunities and actively recruits them for positions in their cafés.

Hershey Co.

The Hershey Co. is a chocolate producer who signed the Fair Chance Business Pledge. It offers positions in various areas, such as retail, warehouse, and customer service, to felons seeking an opportunity.


Facebook has pledged to hire felons, and its Reentry Program provides job opportunities for those with criminal records. The company also offers an internship program for ex-offenders looking to get a foot in the door of the tech industry.


Google is another tech giant committed to giving ex-offenders a fair chance. Through their Re: Work program, the company offers numerous job opportunities for those with criminal records, as an internship program specifically designed for this purpose.


Uber also has a Reentry Program that offers employment opportunities to felons. The company works closely with organizations devoted to helping ex-offenders reenter the workforce. It even offers a unique pricing plan for those participating in the program.


Xerox, a multinational document management company, also signed the Fair Chance Business Pledge. It offers job opportunities in its service centers and customer service teams to felons seeking employment.

Prudential Financial

Prudential Financial is another major company that has committed to hiring felons. It offers a variety of positions, from customer service representatives and financial advisors to administrative roles and more.

Georgia Pacific

Georgia Pacific is a conglomerate that manufactures products such as paper towels, toilet tissue, and other household items. It has also signed the Fair Chance Business Pledge and offers job opportunities to felons in its warehouses and distribution centers.


Unilever is a British-Dutch consumer goods company that has committed to hiring felons. The company offers job opportunities in its various production, warehouse, and customer service teams.

How to Explain a Felony Condition to an Employer

Being honest and open about your criminal record is essential when applying for a job. Although discussing such a sensitive topic can be difficult, employers appreciate openness and honesty. Focusing on how your experience has shaped you into a more competent and responsible employee is also important. Be sure to emphasize any skills or qualifications that would make you a valuable asset to the company.

It is also essential to do your research before applying for a job. Some specific industries and positions may be less forgiving of felons, so it’s best to avoid those if possible. Additionally, employers often require background checks, so being prepared is important.

Reentry Resources

Besides the companies above, numerous other resources are available to felons seeking employment. Organizations such as the Prison Fellowship, Right Turn USA, and Chrysalis provide comprehensive reentry services that assist felons in finding jobs. These organizations offer job placement programs, offer assistance with creating resumes and cover letters, provide interview coaching and even connect felons to potential employers.

In addition, many states have their own reentry programs that offer job placement assistance to felons. For instance, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has a Reentry Division that provides resources for those looking to enter the workforce after serving time in prison.

How to Find Your States Reentry Programs

To find reentry programs in your state, search for “state + reentry program.” You can also contact your local Department of Corrections or parole board for more information on the available programs and resources. Additionally, numerous websites provide a comprehensive list of resources for ex-offenders looking to return to the workforce.

How to Get Your Felony Record Expunged

In some cases, it may be possible to get your felony record expunged. Expungement is a legal process that removes the charge from your criminal record and gives you a “fresh start” in terms of potential employment opportunities. However, it is important to note that not all states offer this option, and the rules vary from state to state.

For those who are eligible, the first step is to contact your local courthouse and request an expungement petition. From there, you must complete the necessary paperwork and submit it with any other required documents. Depending on the state, additional steps may also be involved in the process. Once the petition is approved, your felony charge will be erased from your criminal record.

Resources for Record Expungement

The Expungement Information Center is an excellent resource for those looking to get their felony record expunged. The website provides comprehensive information on state-specific processes and requirements for successful expungement. Legal Aid and the American Bar Association also offer free or low-cost legal services to help you with the expungement process.

What About Misdemeanors?

Misdemeanors are typically less severe than felonies and can often be expunged or sealed. However, due to the nature of misdemeanors, they may still appear on background checks depending on the type of crime committed. It is important to know that even if a misdemeanor charge is not successfully expunged from your record, it will likely not have as much of an impact on employment opportunities as a felony.

The Bottom Line

Thankfully, there is hope for those with a felony to reenter the workforce and gain meaningful employment. By remaining honest and resilient, you can achieve your dreams just like anyone else. Of course, it won’t be easy; you’ll need to do the hard work of being available for interviews and researching potential jobs. But no matter what, remember that businesses appear every day that offer opportunities.

Don’t get discouraged by a criminal record as you seek employment opportunities, even if it sometimes feels overwhelming. You may think it will be impossible to find a job. But rest assured that businesses are happy to provide second chances in life and believe in progressing instead of standing still in hindsight. As such, don’t give up! Do you have a felony and need a job? You may have a second chance—so take advantage and make something happen today!

Key Takeaways:

  • Reentry programs and resources for felons can be found by searching for “state + reentry program” or contacting your local Department of Corrections or parole board.
  • Expungement is a legal process that removes the charge from your criminal record, though not all states offer this option.
  • The Expungement Information Center provides comprehensive information on the process of expungement.
  • Even if a misdemeanor charge is not successfully expunged from your record, it will likely impact employment opportunities less than a felony.
  • Don’t get discouraged by a criminal record as you seek employment opportunities; businesses are happy to provide second chances in life and believe in progressing instead of standing still in hindsight.


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