How to Get a Job with a Theft Charge: Proven Steps

Stealing the spotlight isn’t ideal when it’s a theft charge we’re talking about. Navigating the job market with a blemish on your criminal record can feel like trying to open doors with the wrong set of keys—a challenge that can test your patience and resolve.

This blog post is geared towards lighting the path to employment, promising you actionable steps and insider advice to turn that ‘no’ into a potential ‘yes’ on your job search.

Should You Mention it In an Interview?

First, you should know that the theft charge will most probably not appear as you’re interviewing, but only in a background check. Sometimes, not even then. However, the most sensible decision about this would be not to mention anything until the background check, or if the interviewer asks you.

When it comes to discussing your charge, timing and honesty are key. It’s best to keep quiet about it until the employer brings up a background check. Then, and only then, should you open up. And when you do, make sure you’re 100% honest. Fudging the details about your charge could do more harm than good. Remember, every case is unique, and some employers may be more understanding than you think.

Here’s a tip: Background checks are typically state-specific. Applying in a different state from where the charge occurred could mean your past won’t automatically pop up.

Can You Explain Your Record in a Positive Light?

When a theft charge appears on your record, it might feel like a heavy shadow looming over your job prospects.

However, there’s power in owning your story. If the truth is out in the open, be ready to discuss the charge with openness and honesty. It’s critical to frame this chapter of your life in a light that showcases personal development and accountability.

Here’s the deal: employers will respect your courage to acknowledge past missteps. When you get the chance to explain, focus on rehabilitation and growth. Talk about the experience as a learning curve, highlighting the positive changes you’ve made and how you’re now equipped to navigate complex situations.

For instance, you might illustrate your commitment to making amends or how you’ve volunteered to speak to others about the value of making good choices.

Key advice to remember: never make light of the charge or attempt to shift blame. Stand tall in your truth, and let the changes in your life speak volumes about your character. After all, everyone loves a comeback story that rings with sincerity and resilience.

How Should You Adjust Your Job Search Strategy?

Alright, let’s talk strategy. Not all industries and roles have the same level of flexibility when it comes to hiring individuals with a criminal record. Your goal is to zoom in on those areas that have more inclusive hiring practices.

Here’s how you can adjust your sails:

  • Research is your best friend. Dive into company cultures and seek out those that are known for giving second chances. Some companies might even publicize their stance on hiring individuals with criminal records.
  • Look for ‘Ban the Box’ employers. These are employers who’ve opted to remove the checkbox asking if applicants have a criminal history from their job application forms.
  • Don’t limit your potential. Expand your horizons by looking into sectors like construction, culinary arts, or others known to be more forgiving of past transgressions.

At the end of the day, approach your job search with an optimistic but realistic outlook. It may take a bit of extra legwork, but your efforts can pay off in securing a position that’s right for you.

Is There a Way to Make Your Resume Stand Out?

Of course, there is! Your resume should be a beacon, shining light on your skills and achievements, even if there are gaps that might raise eyebrows. Here’s how to whip that resume into shape:

  • Put the spotlight on your skills and qualifications. Whether hard skills or soft ones, let them take center stage to show potential employers what you’ll bring to the table.
  • Tout your achievements. Have you led a project, increased sales, or streamlined operations? Make sure these wins are front and center.
  • Cover employment gaps creatively. Maybe during a break, you took a course, worked freelance, or volunteered. This shows initiative and a commitment to personal development.
  • Tailor your resume to each job. Use language that resonates with the job description and highlights your most relevant experiences.

Now, for a unique spin: consider including a personal branding statement. This isn’t just a summary of your experience; it’s a crisp one-liner that encapsulates who you are as a professional, what you stand for, and the unique value you bring to the table. It’s an excellent way to grab attention and express your character and potential – something a theft charge cannot define.

Your journey may not be the straightest path, but it’s rich with lessons and character-building moments. Let that narrative shine through in your resume. It’s your first impression, make it count.

How Important Are References and Support Networks?

When you’re on the hunt for a job with a theft charge in your past, having solid references and a reliable support network is like holding a golden ticket. It’s a tough ride, no bones about it, but people in your corner can make a world of difference. Strong references can speak volumes about who you are beyond your criminal record, shining a light on your character and work ethic.

So, how do you build these relationships? Start by proving your reliability and trustworthiness in everyday interactions—be it volunteer gigs, classes, or casual work. Keep an eye out for individuals who value your contribution and make sure you nurture these connections. Informal mentors, past employers who’ve seen your growth, or community leaders are great allies.

Don’t be shy to ask for a reference—most folks will be chuffed to help you out if you’ve made a positive impact.

And here’s a unique tip: Create a ‘personal board of directors’ – a group of professionals or individuals dedicated to helping you grow, much like a company has a board of directors. Their advice, support, and references could open doors that seemed firmly shut. Think about it.

What Legal Knowledge Should You Have?

Knowing your rights can empower you to move forward with confidence. When it comes to what employers can ask about, laws vary by state, so it’s crucial to get the lowdown on your local legislation. Generally, there are limits on how far back an employer can look into your criminal history.

Understanding your options for sealing or expunging your record could be a game-changer. An expunged record is essentially ‘erased’ in the eyes of the law, while sealing it makes it less accessible. Both options might help you get past the initial barriers to entry. While this process can be complex, it’s worth exploring as it can greatly improve your employment prospects.

Here’s a legal tidbit most people miss: Some states offer ‘Certificates of Rehabilitation’ or a similar document that officially recognizes your rehabilitation after a crime. This certificate can be a powerful asset when job hunting, as it formally acknowledges your efforts to move forward positively.

Are There Programs or Resources to Help?

Absolutely! No need to go it alone. There’s a treasure trove of programs and resources out there designed to give you a leg up in the job market. For starters, organizations like America Works and The National H.I.R.E. Network specialize in helping folks with records find employment.

Job placement programs are another ace up your sleeve. Often provided by local nonprofits, these programs offer tailored assistance, from resume writing to job training. Some may even offer on-the-job training opportunities, which can lead directly to employment.

Here’s a tip that’s not common knowledge: Many trade unions have apprenticeship programs that are open to individuals with criminal records. These programs offer a path to steady, well-paying jobs that often overlook a single mistake in your past.

And let’s not forget about the online universe. With portals like, you can tap into a wealth of job listings that are friendly to people with past charges. These websites also often have forums where you can swap stories and advice with people who’ve walked a mile in your shoes.

Not every day will be easy, but with these programs and resources, plus a dash of determination, you’ll find that opportunities are indeed out there, ready and waiting for someone like you who’s ready to turn over a new leaf. Remember, it’s about taking proactive steps to showcase your worth and build bridges towards your future—one application, one interview, and one reference at a time.

Quick Tips to Keep You Moving Forward

Forge your future with fearless focus. Here’s the essence of embarking on your employment expedition with a theft charge:

  • Embrace your Evolution: Articulate growth and express your journey from setback to self-improvement.
  • Strategize with Sagacity: Research, target ‘Ban the Box’ companies, and aim for industries known for second chances.
  • Champion Character References: Cultivate a council of support that can confirm your commitment and character transformation.
  • Alex Mitch

    Hi, I'm the founder of! Having been in finance and tech for 10+ years, I was surprised at how hard it can be to find answers to common questions in finance, tech and business in general. Because of this, I decided to create this website to help others!